Thursday, 22 July 2010

Order in chaos...

Image courtesy of the internet
Letting go of anything is something that I find really difficult. Whether they are material things (I'm a bit of a bag lady!) or emotional and relational.I am not the kind of person who can easily say goodbye or walk away from anything or anyone, my greatest strength and weakness all wrapped up in a neat bow I call sentiment... Before I can let go, one of two things has to take place, a great deal of soul searching and immense agonising or circumstances beyond my control. These are generally the driving factors for release, usually with the threat of derailment from life's plan if I don't! But never carelessly without deliberate and due consideration. Dramatic I know but that is literally how I feel about letting go / moving on / leaving things or people behind... 

The four hundred million dollar question the has got to be how do you know? How do you figure out what you do and don't want from life? How to you decided what to keep close to your heart and what to let go? The lessons life and faith have taught me in this area are few but most profound and when I heed to these, I never falter...

1. Don't get in over your head
In life we all come to a point where we have been in a situation so long that the word 'change' sounds like a swear word. Whether we have allowed ourselves to get used to living in boxes and general chaos or we are hitting the re-run phase of old dramas in old relationships, we need to keep treading water! It reminds me when I was five and my dad taught us how to swim. we started with the 'doggy paddle' which is effectively doing everything you can to keep your head above water and this is the first lesson, 'don't get in over your head!' You will need your head to resolve the issue or plan your exit strategy so don't lose it, whatever you do! This is not to promote clinical relationships or lifestyles, rather this gives you enough courage to be honest with yourself about your situation and at the very least make a choice about how you want things to play out. When you lose your head, you stop seeing things clearly and this is where you end up in situations that can be cancerous in nature to your own journey in life if left keep your head and wits about you.

2.Don't choke it
This is mainly a relational lesson, when it comes to love, don't choke it! There is a saying or a song I cannot remember, nevertheless its message is so true and still relevant today. It says that if someone truly belongs with you and you have their heart, you should not need to hold them so tight that you begin to choke them for fear that they will fly away...If they to fly off, the measure of your bond is in their returning to you. If they do return you know for sure that the love is real and true and worth it all...And if they do not, then they were never yours in the first place... This has probably been the most powerful of all of life's lessons for me and has saved my heart so much pain and disappointment of hearing empty words with no actions to prove their worth over the years and giving my heart on so little only to be hurt when that one flew away, never really understanding they were never mine. Ladies there is a great safety for us in this lesson, you see it is not what a man says that shows you he loves you and his  heart is yours, it is what he does to prove his words that gives you the evidence you need to let your heart go... So don't choke the one you have and see before you, if he wants to fly let them, after all it is the one who returns that you know is purposed to truly love you. 

3. Don't jinx it
 Sometimes we ruin things and relationships that could have been great, either by starting off on the wrong foot or by throwing ourselves in with no parachute. This is more common in relationships where the parties involved are on completely different pages or want different things from the relationship but they rush in without ever considering or discussing it and often these relationships end in tears. But it can be true of jobs and homes and many other areas in life when we allow ourselves to 'fall for' rather than 'allow' things to natural come to be...There is a scripture that talks of not awakening love before it pleases, that is what comes to mind when I think of this lesson. It simply means that a good or really great thing at the wrong time is wrong and will more often than not fail so it is necessary to allow for 'love to please'...

4. Don't be bound to it
Don't sell / bind your soul to anything! It is so easy to get so very attached to things and people very quickly whether or not they are good for you. Take the time necessary to study the situation, count the cost of what a commitment in that direction will demand of you and then make a conscious decision either way. This is necessary because when the storms of life come and all is going wrong, it will be too late to consider your choices then and as the saying goes, once you have made your bed you have to lie in it...thorns and all...

5. Don't close your eyes
It is so easy for us to get caught up in the moment, whether its shopping for that extra pair of shoes you have no room for, or meeting that person we instantly click with at the wrong time or with opposing desires. As we enter into any situation there are always a set of alarm bells and warning signs going off in and around your head and choosing to ignore these is what I am referring to here. Don't fool yourself in thinking that if you just focus on the fun and excitement and enjoy yourself, the underlying serious issues pertaining to your situation or set of circumstances will go away. The best example of this being debt. If you don't take notice of your bills, eventually you will get a red letter / final warning. If you ignore this, your debt could be sold off to a debt collector or you could end up in court, the result of which could be a larger fine than the original debt or sometimes even imprisonment! If you had taken note of the bills as they came in and addressed each as they came to light, your circumstances at the end would be completely different. The same principle is true in relationships...If you ignore the writing on the wall, the funeral at the end of a long bitter situation will be yours...

With these lessons in mind, no matter how hard I find it to let go and make changes where I need to, I have learnt that a little pain of loss at the beginning of a matter, is far better and kinder to the soul  than the heart wrenching, soul destroying prospects of ripping yourself from something / someone you have be so joined to that it has become a part of your DNA make up. The pain of the latter is my driving force when it comes to making those difficult decisions and learning to let go, maybe not of the things you don't want, but more the things you cant afford to keep for your own sake...

A walk through fields of gold

I went for a walk in Wokefield, the village down the road from mine, with friends and their dog. Apparently it is a famous path and one of the longest as it stretches all the way back to Mortimer where I live a few miles down the road. We saw some scramblers too! (people who walk on paths like this as a hobby). We didn't walk its full length but went a good part of the way and it was breathtaking! here are a couple of pictures so you can see and judge for yourself...

The Gold

The Path

The Dog

The Ramblers

The View

The looking glass and the seeing eye

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. 
Only through experience of trial and suffering 
can the soul be strengthened, 
ambition inspired, and
 success achieved. 
Helen Keller

It is not what we say that shows our strength of character. Nor is it when we stand tall that we are most visible. It is not when we look into the mirror that we see ourselves. Nor when we shout the loudest that we are heard. It is folly to believe that we can 'cheat death', that is to develop character without the battle scars of suffering or the wounds of experience. 

We cannot purport to have integrity when we fail to rise to the occasion in the tests life brings. Through the difficult choices and the decisions we make, we shape our lives...It is not to arrive at the right answer that gives us credibility, but the courage to choose, and resolve to stand by our decisions in spite of the consequences. 

It is through our consistency in action and stoic demeanor that we can have confidence in the path we choose. We can find a strength in this deportment, not conflicted by emotion or torn by possibilities and eventualities, where weakness and cowardice will fail us. 

As our words and actions are displayed congruously on life's stage, they will testify of our strength of person. Time being the most faithful and transparent adjudicator of life,  we have no need or recourse to present a case in debate or discussion. The principles upon which we live our lives will speak louder than any representation we can bring ourselves.

It is in the midst of the storms of life that inspirations comes to us and we avail much. Only in the throws of daily turbulence do we find our feet. If we are able to overcome, never losing sight of the goal, we can and will emerge victorious.

Living Out Loud!

I have written countless times how much I admire children and see so much of what we should be (as adults) in them. A good example is how we as individuals approach change or the possibility thereof. Children are adventurous by nature, even the introverted ones seek out new experiences want to learn and soak up all of life without discrimination or reservation. Children instinctively know that for them to grow and develop they must continually learn, push their boundaries and leap every now and again. Imagine the process of learning to walk from a child's perspective. It is a new concept, they have never tried it before and there is no guarantee of success, yet they go for it (leap) and they fall...countless times in fact before they get the hang of it and are off!  An adult in the same situation would be conflicted about things like, assurance of success, minimised risk of failure, least personal cost and fear of the unknown. A child sees through the eyes of 'why not' with a sense of curiosity that propels them forwards to their advantage...Adults see through the eyes of 'what if' with a sense of trepidation at what is unknown, at the challenge of a new beginning, at the concept of being evicted from their comfort zone, at the thought of change.

It is no surprise then that while children advance in knowledge, develop faster, learn like sponges, recover from setbacks quicker and are more willing to try, adults are constantly seeking an insurance policy to remove risk from the equation, stunting their advancement in the process...With mounting responsibility, increasing uncertainty in the world and change being thrust upon us daily, how then can we sort 'the wheat from the chaff' of life and find a place where we can live free of inhibitions and fear and embrace change? Perspective -- The way we view life, choices, and the future has a huge impact on how we approach change and the risks and opportunities that come with it. 

'Your thoughts become words.
Your words become actions.
Your actions become habits.
Your habits become character.
Your character shapes your destiny.' -- Unknown

Destiny is often perceived to be a predetermined course of action of any individual life. It can be defined as, an inevitable or necessary fate; one's lot or a predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control. I don't agree with this view because as we can see from the quote above, we become what we think. In our mind is where the battleground is, where we come face to face with our conscience, rationalise our fears, wrestle with the concept of change and the risk attached, struggle with walking into the unknown... It is in our minds  where our lives are changed and destinies shaped. We have control over our choices and decisions and these are fashioned by our thoughts, which once spoken become the catalysts that bring forth actions that change the course of our lives. A process that takes place daily in all of our lives and for the most part goes unnoticed as the changes are often small or negligible.

It is not until we venture beyond our understanding, past experience and preconceptions that we enter the arena of living out loud, where children operate. This is the place, beyond our fears and  caution, beyond our background and failures, beyond the need for guarantees and far beyond our comfort zone. In this space we gain the power to shape our lives and destinies rather than follow what is considered to be the natural course of our lives that bring us to a predictable end. Mankind was designed and created for the adventure that we call life. We were placed as the masters, not only of the world but of our own destinies. We have the ability to re-invent ourselves, re-direct the course of our lives, cause change to take place, make things happen and if we so wish, overcome all our inhibitions and allow ourselves to think, feel and exist outside of the box of mediocrity.

Adulthood should give us the freedom to express ourselves and be the best version of ourselves we can be. Unfortunately the reverse is more often the common place result of 'maturity'. We become driven to fit in, to achieve, to gain status and seek more and more the approval of others. We view ourselves and self-worth based on what we have attained and achieved thus far. Thereby negating all that we have sacrificed for conformities sake and all that we are yet to and are able achieve in the future if we were to break free of the conformist mindset. Our destiny therefore is not something we have no control of, something we have no choice but to go along for the ride with...Destiny is what we will ourselves to and perceive we are able to achieve and having the courage to willing to sacrifice in order to grasp... seize firmly with heart mind and soul...and attain it....Destiny is fashioned of this.

"Courage is the discovery that you may not win, 

and trying when you know you can lose.” -- T. Krause


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