Tag Archives: Appreciation

Are you living the life of your dreams?

This post is probably not quite what you might expect it to be. Why? Because often when we are asked that question it is by ‘motivational speakers’ or writers who seek to spur you on to self-improvement. What you will read here will be a different approach to this age-old question.

Are you living the life of your dreams?”

The answers you find may surprise you. I imagine that most people when faced with this question think of it in terms of the ever unmet horizon. ‘Dreams’ after all are those wondrous little fantasies that no one ever really gets to. Or are they?

I also think that many if not most of us fail to notice or to realise when we are living our dreams, because we live them in a real world with real issues and challenges. And so perhaps we fail to see just how wonderful our lives actually are.

To dream is to imagine that which is not quite within our reach.

Take a few minutes and try this with me. Think of your life right now. Take a deep breath in, and let it out slowly. Now, calm and relaxed think of the things in your life that you have that you once only dreamed of having. Not necessarily material things, but just everything you value as being part of your ‘dream life’.

Let me share some things with you.

A few years ago I dreamed of being healthy again. Of not having panic attacks every day or week or nightmares and of not merely just surviving each day.

Has this dream come true? Yes. Now is the time to pause and to notice and appreciate it.

When I was younger I dreamed of someday ‘traveling the world’. As an adult I have now been to a fair few countries, some of which I went to as a solo traveller. I’ve been to Italy, America, France, Germany, India, Oman, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, UK, Guernsey, among possibly a few others. I may not have travelled the world, and there is so much of this wide world that I’m yet to see, and parts of the world that I will never see, yet travel even on the small scale has been part of my life, and I could say I’ve been living my dreams.

I used to dream, as a little girl and as a teenager, of being a writer. Of living in a log cabin in the woods somewhere and writing beautifully. I dreamed of getting my books published and of being a famous author. As I have grown into the adult that I am, the practicalities of living in a log cabin don’t quite suit my sensibilities. That’s not to say that a quiet retreat in nature every now and then doesn’t draw me in…it does, and I have created such spaces for myself. I have had a couple of factual pieces published, but I’m not a famous author. Fame doesn’t draw me as I am writing for The One Who sees and knows me, and that is where all the appreciation and validation comes from. Yet writing is a huge part of my life. Blogging is a wonderful outlet for me and I continue to work slowly and steadily away at my novel and other pieces of fiction in my spare time. I write also to directly encourage other people – friends and family and in my university days I wrote letters as part of a human rights group to help free prisoners and those unfairly detained or treated. So, yes, I am in a sense living my dreams in this regard too. Perhaps in a humble fashion, yet I am still free to express my soul.

Do I appreciate this? If I take the time to.

What about the people in our lives? Perhaps our parents, our siblings, our childhood friends and new friends we’ve made along the way? Did you dream of getting married and now have a spouse and a family of your own? Do you really pause to notice these things, or do you take them for granted because they’re not perfect?

When asked if you are living your dreams aren’t you likely to shrug and say ‘not really?’. If so, could this be because you let the daily annoyances and nuisances of life cloud your vision from seeing all the dreams that have and are actually coming true?

Did you dream of being a grown up and having your own place and going out to dinner with your friends? This is a dream that I am living but one that I probably take for granted with it having become ‘normal’.

You will always have something that feels just that little bit ‘out of reach’ for you. Because our hearts are created for so much more than all this frail world has to offer us. We are created for Pure and Perfect Love and for Eternity, so there will always in this life be that yearning for that ‘something more’. Yet that is not to say that we can’t be content or satisfied. We live in a broken world, and yet dreams can still flourish here if we let them….and if we recognise them.

So take a moment today to pause, to reflect and to truly appreciate all the things about your life: the people, the relationships, the material blessings, the opportunities, the health and abilities you have that are in fact all elements of the ‘life of your dreams’. You are living your dreams in a real world, so don’t fail to wake up and realise and appreciate that as and when you can, even while you pursue those dreams yet to come.  Someday they may come true so prepare yourself to appreciate them by simply appreciating all the blessings and ‘dreams come true’ that you have in your life today.

x

white and pink flowers beside a canister
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Winter Survival Guide (33) ~Appreciate How Far You’ve Come.

I posted earlier about the importance of maintaining a healthy perspective, especially when we might be facing some gloomy wintery days.

Similarly, it’s important to take time every now and then to appreciate just how far we’ve come. Only you know your own personal life journey and how far you have come. The same goes for me. We might share aspects or details of our lives, but no other mere human being can enter into our experience with us. They might comfort us, walk beside us for a while, or encourage us, but no one (except Jesus) can feel exactly what we feel.

How far have you come? Not just this year, but through the bigger challenges of your life? How far have you come in terms of your mental and emotional health? In terms of your confidence socially? In terms of the challenges and hardships and traumas you may have overcome? How far have you come in terms of your education, your learning and in terms of your skills? How far have you come in your character – growing in kindness, patience and love? How far have you come to overcome personal pain and to help other people? How far have you come from simply surviving? How far have you come in health challenges? How far have you come in learning and growing in skills and abilities, talents and in your employment, and how far have you come in passing on some of this learning?

We have all come further than we appreciate or give ourselves the acknowledgement that we often need to keep on going even stronger.

What will you appreciate about how far you have come in your life journey today? x

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Self-Compassion Exercise – fill in the blanks…

Everyone needs compassion. And that includes you, and me. Sometimes we face the cruellest words and unkindest treatment from our own selves. Self compassion can be a hard practice to learn, but it is also worth the time, and can be transformative to your outlook on life, your perception and feelings towards yourself, your mental and emotional health, your physical wellbeing and your relationships with other people as well as your confidence to make a positive difference in the world.

It can be hard to know where to start with being kind to ourselves, so here is a simple exercise, that although simple in concept can be challenging to some of the more ingrained negative thoughts and attitudes we hold towards ourselves. Give it a go….it can’t do any harm, and may in fact do you a lot of good. Be blessed. x

Self-Compassion Exercise – fill in the blanks:

Today I am grateful for_______________________

I recognise that I struggle with __________________________ , yet it took me courage to __________________________, and I am proud of myself for this.

I often compliment other people, and I recognise that as human beings we all are unique yet equal in worth. So, just as I compliment and show kindness to others, I will do so to myself.  This is something I’d like to compliment myself on today________________________.

I realise I can be negative towards myself, especially in my ‘self talk’, whereas I am more encouraging to other people. I might not have done brilliantly at _____________________

but as an encouragement to myself, I’d like to say that _____________________________.

Something I like about myself is ___________________________________.

Something nice that other people say about me is________________________.

I recognise that I have the positive quality of____________________________,

and I’d therefore like to make a positive contribution to the world I live in and the people around me by__________________________________________________.

I am worthy of love, and I appreciate myself. I will be kind to others and myself. One way I will do this today is__________________________________________________.

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Take Your Time…

NB: So sorry that the formatting has gone awry! I don’t know what happened there….at first the content disappeared entirely, so at least, despite the red strike throughs, there is still something (hopefully encouraging) to read! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

🙂

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My dear friends,

Once again I meet you here…lovely to spend some time hanging out, thinking about life, and stuff 😉 And once again I begin another blog post by tentatively acknowledging the fact that it has been a little while since my last post. And that’s ok. And it’s not only ok, but it is an opportunity for us to mutually encourage each other.

Some wonderfully disciplined people, for whom perhaps blogging is an income stream for them (unlike myself, as I do this as a hobby and don’t make any money from it, plus I don’t really know how all of that works yet anyway ~ feel free to enlighten me! 🙂 ) may have regular schedules for creating and uploading content, and that is admirable. However, this blog post is not really about blog posts at all…it is about you….and me.

It is a gentle reminder (just as a bud seldom blossoms overnight)  to Take Your Time….

Take your time and take the pressure off yourself by taking a moment away from your seemingly endless ‘to do’ lists.

Take your time to heal. My heart and mind have required decades to even begin to heal rather than merely cope, and sometimes things feel worse before they get better, so take your time. No one can put a schedule on your healing, on your heart. Don’t block it out, but take your time to gently go through the process you need to as you discover your worth, and find greater awareness of Truth, Love and Peace. 
Take your time to focus on just one thing at a time….your brain will thank you for it! 🙂
Take your time to intentionally be kind to yourself, and to others.
Take your time to acknowledge how far you have already come.
Take your time to ask yourself and explore the deep, searching and difficult questions in your life and seek the Truth that will set you free.
Take your time to grieve, or to comfort those who mourn.
Take your time to pause and really appreciate the good things in your life….someone else may be longing for what you have begun to take for granted.
Take your time to acknowledge that you are not your work. Your work is what you do, but it does not determine or define your worth.
Take your time to take a lunch break. Leave your desk, your computer, and go out in the fresh air for a while.
Take your time to walk in nature, and listen to the natural, more gentle, healing rhythm and pace around you, far from the madding crowds of human existence!
Take your time to be by yourself, and if need be to learn to be comfortable by yourself.
Take your time to evaluate your year so far. Is this the direction you really should be going? Do you need to make a change? Do you need to stay where you are? To grow in contentment of the riches and beauty of your life just now that you only need to open your heart and mind to to more fully discover? When we look for a get-away, are we not really looking for a state of being, rather than in itself a place to be?
Take your time to love, and to accept love.

Take your time to be a friend.
Take your time to live and not merely exist.
Take your time to live out the clichés ~ stop and smell the roses! Listen to the birdsong. ❤
Take your time……to Be.

What else do you need to take your time for? Feel free to share your inspiration in the comments.

My Blog is 1 year old Today! Thank you for being part of the journey :) x

I had a feeling that there was something about this day….an anniversary celebrating not only Kylie Minogue’s 50th Birthday (can you believe it?!), but also marking the very first anniversary of my Blog. It has been such a great adventure so far, and I am grateful to each and every one of you for your part in my journey, in this interaction between us that makes the whole process worthwhile and come to life. Thank you for every button pressed showing your appreciation of my posts, for every comment, and for leaving an essence of yourself in my little blogging world. It means so much. I have learnt a great deal on this journey, and I’d love to write a post soon to hopefully encourage, inspire and cause you to reflect on your own blogging process ~ particularly in terms of your core reason for doing it, your authenticity and purpose, and not seeking after appreciation, but blogging out of love, and allowing the returns to come to you in their own way and timing. My blog is completely non monetised, therefore the ‘returns’ I talk of are more to do with that unique connection between reader and writer, and the knowledge that something more has come of your efforts that may have touched someone else’s life. However, all that for another day. I’ll sign off tonight, and once again say a huge *THANK YOU* ~ now let’s Party!! 😉 Much love. ❤ xx

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Are you Liked?

Social media has changed things. For those of us who are young(ish) adults, we may remember a time before the Internet (yes, younglings….there really was such a time! and no, I’m not old 🙂 ), the transition to when the Internet first came to be, and our first intrepid steps into this new world of knowledge at our fingertips. Yes, sometimes that knowledge would be a bit slow to load up on our computer screens, we had dial up modem connections and we also had a bit more patience. These were the days when our first instincts when presented with a school or university paper to write were still to go to the ‘LIBRARY’ (yes, the kind of library with books made of *actual* paper 😉 ) to do our research, and perhaps venture into the strange and novel ‘World Wide Web’ to supplement our findings.

Put in perspective of the length of human history, it is fair to say that the Internet is actually quite a new creation, and hasn’t actually been around for that long. And yet, nowadays, it seems like babies are weaned on the milk of electronic gadgets and gizmos that are rapidly changing and developing, and many school aged children, even very young children, cannot imagine a world, or their lives, without the Internet, and have never experienced such a world.

So although as adults, those of us who were growing up just as the strange language of this mysterious ‘Web’ began to enter our parlance, or who were already ‘fully fledged adults’ as it were, had passed through those fiery adolescent years of wondering if anyone liked us after all, we are still faced with this nervous desire to know whether we are ‘liked’ every time we connect to the web. Or at least, most of us are.

Social media has changed things. In many parts of the world it is absolutely and irreversibly the norm. We no longer see the Internet primarily as a tool to gain knowledge or to supplement education and learning, but as a multifaceted, ubiquitous, all things to all people, source of input, entertainment, news, gossip, stories, celebrities, fact, ‘fake news’, colours, noise, opinions, ideas, creations, inventions, innovations, trends, popularity contests and the seemingly endless list goes on and on and is daily reinvented.

Perhaps those of us who blog seek a quieter and more reflective online space, that the more fast paced social media tools that we may also use such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and there my knowledge of such things ends 😉 ) would grant us.

But nonetheless, even the more reflective world of blogging shares the common feature of the ‘like’ facility.

How many of us log in to our Word Press accounts and immediately look at that little bell at the top right of the screen to see whether it has a little red or orange marker to indicate that someone has ‘liked’ or appreciated our content? You can be honest with yourself here.

It is a fascinating little ‘button’ that often makes me smile when I click on it, mainly because it makes me feel more connected to you. I realise that on the other side of this computer screen are real people, with fascinating stories, unique lives and thoughts, who have taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate mine. That is really something special, I think. And truly, the Internet can be a wonderful place, with some truly special people in it.

However, sometimes I wonder whether there is something about that ‘like button’ that triggers an instinct in ourselves to evaluate who we are, our value, and the value of what we have to say by how many ‘likes’ we receive. If we pour our heart and soul into writing something meaningful to us, and it is not noticeably acknowledged, does this in turn impact our self-esteem, even on a subconscious level?

Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘likes’ are wonderful. I genuinely like ‘likes’, and feel more connected with other people online because of them. However, if we find that our attention is unduly drawn towards whether something we have shared on our blogs has been liked or not, if we feel our heart sink if it hasn’t, and if we feel a glimmer of old feelings from childhood and teenage years when our likeability by our peers seemed to be a direct evaluation of our perceived worth, then perhaps it is time to take a step back.

I know that sinking feeling. And I know it has deeper roots than anything Internet related. As a child I was badly bullied for a few years, and I was worthless. I didn’t just feel worthless, but my existence was consumed by this rejection, the not measuring up, not being liked or being actively disliked, of being undesirable, outcast, rejected, neglected, unworthy, broken, hurting, isolated, ignored, overlooked, despised and alone. My broken heart and wounded mind is still being repaired and undergoing a process of transformation. No child, or adult for that matter, deserves to feel that way. And the more I think about it, the more I realise I feel passionately about encouraging other people, as well as myself, to know that although it is lovely, and a natural human desire, to be appreciated, our worth as individuals, as members of this community, and the worth of what we have to say and to share cannot be diminished by the lack of a ‘like’.

You *are* a star irrespective of whether anyone has pressed that star to like your post. You are unique, incredible and fascinating, with stories that no one but you can tell, and a world within a world of thoughts, imagination, hopes, dreams, fears and love. You can change things in everyday small quiet ways and even that in its own way is revolutionary. You are important because you are you. This is our humanity. And sometimes, as wonderful as the Internet is, the online world can rob us of that assurance. We are faced with numbers, targets, statistics, comparisons, and we are encouraged, especially by advertisers to never feel quite good enough – the next achievement, or makeover or purchase will add value to our damaged, inadequate selves.

And yet, despite our brokenness, our mistakes, our evaluations of self and others, we are infinite. And we are important. And even if we are not ‘liked’, we are created for a reason, and we are LOVED.

 

Simple Step-by-Step Self-Care Series… Simple Self Care Challenge – #1

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Self-care is such an important practice to incorporate into our lives on a regular basis. But what even is it, and where do we start? I will blog in more detail on why this is important in a separate longer post, however, I want to keep these simple challenges ‘short and sweet’ and as accessible as possible so that if you so wish, you can follow along and incorporate some of these suggestions into your life.

Each of us is unique, and therefore what is important in terms of looking after ourselves, may vary significantly from person to person. However, we all do share similar basic needs in terms of health & wellbeing both emotionally/mentally and physically, so hopefully you will find something of value to enrich your life and relationship with yourself through this simple series.

So here goes, and keeping it quite simple for the first challenge:

~ Invest in a notebook that is just for you. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive as there are plenty of places nowadays that you can buy a very inexpensive yet beautiful notebook. Just something that you are happy to look at and write in.

~Make it your aim to use this notebook ONLY for your self care challenges, i.e. not for shopping lists, or writing down friends’ birthdays or daily ‘to-do’s’ – this is your special personal space, just for you.

~And once you have your notebook, here’s a task for you. Think about someone you admire for their qualities and characteristics. This can be someone you know, someone from history or someone you’ve heard about through the media or through friends. Now think about what you admire about them, not physically, but in terms of character traits, such as kindness, gentleness, passion, commitment and so forth. Don’t write it down, just think about it.

~Next, gently and compassionately think about yourself. It may be hard to think positively about your own character traits, but just as you are able to do so for other people, now is your chance to do so for yourself. The difference this time is that I would like you to write down three to five character qualities about yourself that you admire, and think about at least one way for each of these qualities that you have displayed them.

Take your time over this, this is your time. Think about and appreciate what is special about yourself and write it down, with pen and paper preferably as I find you are more connected, but if you prefer to blog it, and link to this series, you are most welcome to do so, I would love it if we can go on this journey together and share insights as friends.

To help you out, I’ll give it a go myself.

Qualities about myself that I feel positively about:

1. Kindness ~ I have a genuine care and concern for other people and seek to do what I can to be helpful, kind and caring to them. In the past I have done special things for others such as making personalised gifts, giving food to homeless people and helping someone in a fatal accident before they died.

2. Loyalty ~ I am a good friend to people, and I love my friends and family. I seek to build and maintain good relationships with the people in my life and have long-lasting relationships with close friends and family as a result.

3. Creativity ~ I find inspiration almost everywhere, and long to share this inspiration with other people. Creative things that I do include photography, writing, blogging, ‘doodling’ and the occasional collaborative project with creative friends.

Ok, so now it’s your turn! Pretty simple, but important, and a good first step. I’d be delighted if you want to share with me, but there is absolutely no pressure to share your self care with anyone but yourself! So go for it…be kind to yourself today, and I’ll see you soon for Self-Care Challenge # 2. 🙂 xx