Learn as if you’re going to teach.
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
Take time today to show someone else that you appreciate their gifts and talents or positive influence in your life.
When someone thanks you, take time to let it change you.
Travelling teaches you to know yourself. Sometimes we take it for granted that we know certain aspects of our character or personality well, however, it may be the case that we have allowed ourselves to be conditioned in a certain way in our day-to-day lives, or we may be drifting along with our ‘likes, dislikes, decisions or opinions’ being influenced or even imposed upon us by those around us. We may simply find ourselves going with the flow, and not really experiencing the opportunities to live in a way that authentically resonates with who we really are.
Travelling, especially when we are able to do so alone, helps us to grow in awareness of our own needs, wants, desires, as well as of our own shortcomings, failures and need to change or develop certain aspects of our character. Living a life of authenticity is so important, however, although travel is a beautiful teacher in this respect, we can also carve out in our daily lives opportunities for such growth and reflection by taking time out, and being purposeful in getting to know ourselves better, and living more authentically as a result.
Travelling teaches you that there is so much more to life to be explored, discovered and experienced than you had ever thought possible, and that there are so many opportunities out there to expand your horizons. It teaches you to think beyond what you are used to, to challenge yourself not to stagnate, and to bring these lessons back into your everyday life. Don’t get stuck in a rut, or think that just because the people around you may not be able to see beyond the confines of their day-to-day routine that you also have to limit your vision. Get out there, see new things, do new things, challenge yourself, and never stop learning or growing ~ travelling is such a great life teacher, so if or when you get the opportunity, with wisdom, go for it. (c) ❤
Travelling teaches you the importance of connection, and of non-verbal communication.
On a basic level, when you’re in a country in which you are unfamiliar with the language, a phrase-book and basic preparation can only take you so far. Many of us take it for granted that someone we meet will speak English, however, even if they do, that doesn’t mean that they will understand your accent, meaning or dialect and vice versa.
Somehow we find a way, and practically speaking, we find other ways of communicating in order to realise our basic needs ~ perhaps one may point, gesture, use facial expressions and / or other non-verbal cues. (As a side note, I am aware, and admit that I speak with a lack of knowledge of how people with sensory impairments manage such challenges, and I apologise for that fact, and welcome any of your insights).
However, communication as a human being goes beyond getting basic needs and wants met. Integral to our humanity is the need for connection with other people, on a deeper level than that of the content of our conversations. And sometimes travelling teaches us this in a way that is unique to any other experience. Travelling teaches us, that as important as language is, we share the ability to connect and communicate as human beings even when words are not spoken or understood. We find a depth and a richness to things that we may have previously taken for granted, such as eye contact, a gentle touch, a gesture of kindness, or even silently enjoying a shared experience (such as watching a beautiful sunset) with a stranger, with whom there is no other means to communicate, other than with the heart.
Travelling teaches you the innate communication of humanity, of shared existence and that we all are Created by the same Hand, and can share the deepest communication by simply being, and ‘speaking’ with the heart. (c).
Travelling teaches you to be curious. To see as if for the first time, and to explore your new surroundings with a childlike openness. It also reminds you that you may have become a bit ‘jaded’ in your everyday life and routine, and have grown weary so that you no longer notice the wonder of what is around you. Sometimes it is nice to overhear tourists in your own town talking about their experiences, and with the world of the Internet, it is so easy to find out what people from other countries and cultures think of your country or the place you live.
Just as you allow yourself to be curious, attentive and aware when you travel to new places, try to see your everyday life with fresh eyes when you return. Think of yourself as a traveller in your own town, village or city, and imagine that you are seeing things once more for the first time. Never stop learning, never stop being curious, and never stop living life with a childlike wonder…. ❤
Travelling Teaches You to challenge your preconceptions. We often go into a situation failing to realise that we are looking at life and viewing our new experiences through the lens of our cultural and societal conditioning. It would be hard not to do so, and it’s not necessarily ‘wrong’. However, travelling is a perfect opportunity to take off those metaphorical glasses and try wearing those of another culture for a change.
Perhaps a specific example might help to illustrate my point. Before I went to Italy a couple of weeks ago (not for the first time), I did a bit of research online. As well as looking at guide books and videos I also watched ‘vlogs’ by real Italians, and read travellers comments and thoughts from sites such as ‘TripAdvisor’ and I gleaned some insights that actually came to mind when I was in Italy. One particular learning point occurred when I was reading comments from someone who had been upset at the seemingly ‘rude’ behaviour of Italian shop owners who ‘refused’ to give this person their change in their hands, but instead left it on the counter top. The person struggled with it and felt like they were being treated rudely. As someone from a visible minority I am aware that such experiences for me might trigger negative feelings and memories of being treated unfairly or in a prejudicial manner. However, as I read on, I saw responses to this person’s comment saying that this was not unusual practice, and might even be considered polite. When I encountered this myself a week later, I could smile to myself remembering the insights that I had gleaned earlier.
In short, different cultures do things differently. One behaviour might seem ‘rude’ or uncaring to someone whereas it might be the standard of politeness to another. Things are not always as they seem, so be aware of the cultural ‘tint’ in your glasses, and try on another pair for a change on your travels from time to time 🙂
(Do you have any examples from your own travels or experience of times when you have been challenged to think outside of the lens of your cultural conditioning?)
Admittedly, friends, it has been a few weeks since we last ventured together in this ‘home improvement’ series, but that’s because I have been busy with the practicalities of this venture, which I hope will bring some benefit and inspiration to you as I share my progress with you. That being said, come and join me in some musings as we together rethink our space…
Throughout the ages, human beings have both influenced and been influenced by the spaces we inhabit. I have no doubt that countless studies have been conducted into the psychology of wellbeing and mental and emotional health in relation to our external environments. How often ‘clichés’ such as ‘a tidy home and a tidy mind’ have depths of truth to them that are well worth exploring as we seek to enhance our well being and the quality of our lives. We might do well to consider the words of John Denver and similar sentiments of many before and after him, “It’s the little things that make a house a home…”. 😉
I am keenly aware that I myself and anyone reading this (presumably) are blessed with a ridiculous amount of choice with regards to how we live and what we do with our space, in a way that despite our limitations, many others across our little planet find far beyond their grasp to even hope of experiencing.
Presumably (and please forgive me if my presumptions are inaccurate) if you are reading this, and are a blogger yourself, your concerns relating to choice and living conditions have nothing to do with whether you will be able to maintain a place of shelter, how far you have to walk to the nearest well to obtain safe drinking water, and how many people are able to cram into that one room in your ‘house’ that your entire family and perhaps others have to sleep in.
Put that way, we may find ourselves asking whether it is selfish, arrogant, excessive or indulgent to make much of the luxurious spaces (whether we had previously considered ‘our lot’ in that way or not) that we are so fortunate enough to inhabit.
Well, sad to say, it can be all of the above, but equally so, rethinking our space and being faithful ‘stewards’ of what we are fortunate enough to have can have a positive impact on our well being and on the lives of those around us.
Of course, everyone is different, and some people work well amid their ‘organised chaos’ which incorporates ‘systems’ that only they can understand. Having experience of depression, and the resultant feelings of being overwhelmed by untidiness and lack of order, I am aware that our environments and living spaces can influence our mental well being in terms of contributing, whether rightly or wrongly, to our perceptions and feelings that we are ‘unable to cope’. Conversely, establishing systems, knowing that there is ‘a place for everything and everything is in its place’ makes daily living so much more productive, less stressful, and easier to manage. Knowing that there is a place for my keys and knowing exactly where that place is (and so on for each type of item I have) and that it will always be there lessens, even marginally, my anxiety, my stress levels, and impacts my attitude as I step out of my home into a new day at work or being in contact with the outside world in some way, and means that I am better able to focus on doing things well and communicating well and patiently with people, rather than stressfully and hurriedly struggling through.
I have found that breaking through the barriers of overwhelm that my big declutter and spring clean initially brought on while being surrounded in a mountain of chaos, has given way to the establishing of order, calmness, happiness to be in my space, which in turn makes me more available to open my doors to the people I love, to be hospitable, to reach out and not only have a place for me to rest, but for others to enjoy, be built up in, and for us all to go out a little more positively and with some clearer thoughts as we tackle the bigger issues in the world whether that be in our jobs, families, relationships or being more aware of others around us.
Whether we allow our thinking about our space and what we do with it to become a self indulgent occupation, or something more positive has a lot to do with our attitudes, and where we place our hearts and our desires.
I believe that homekeeping is an art, and even though I live alone, it does impact the people in my life, and if I am so blessed to one day have a family of my own, I believe that striving to maintain a peaceful and calming environment that I haven’t always had is important for creating an atmosphere of growth, wellbeing and good communication as well as orderliness, inspiration and functionality.
But it’s all very well to be philosophical about it, but what do we do when we find things so difficult? If you have been with me for a while, you’ll be familiar with some of my earlier blog posts in this series, however if you are new, *Welcome* and I hope you find some inspiring starting points to make progress on your own journey in this regard in my series on Home & Lifestyle which you can find in my main menu.
I will, little by little show you what I have accomplished and learned so far, including some photos along the way. So for now, here is a little glimpse of a space that I have rethought….how does it make you feel to consider what was before, and what has come after? 🙂 Much love. xx
Kitchen – beneath worktop space, before & after (please note that this space has been further updated with the addition of adhesive tiles, & some other decorative and functional pieces…the basket is used as a pantry storage area):