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Daily Post ~ Dash

Daily Post ~ ‘Dash’

That one short phrase left me paralysed. I saw him emerge from the trees, at quite a distance, before (I hope) he had the chance to see me. I knew him. His stature, his gait, the way he was so absorbed in his music as he jogged through the park alongside the river, catching the breeze. It was freedom to him. His solitary pursuit, and he felt free. I could see it. I knew it. I knew him.

My face burned red as the gap between us gradually began to close. I worried that if or when he saw me he would think that I was a cliché, or a character of my own making, rather than me. My camera hung around my neck, and I fumbled with the pen and notebook in my hand. I had come here to slow down, to walk at the river’s gentle pace, to capture moments too inspiring to miss, that most of us sadly, in too much of a hurry through life, did miss. I was here to think, to ponder, but most of all, to write. This was my freedom. Did that ever really matter to him? Did he ever know me the way I knew him?

He was in his zone. I wanted to be invisible just to give me time enough to compose myself, to figure out what to do or what to say. I took a deep breath. Invisible or not, I would never be ready for this.

He spotted me. He raised his arm slightly in a friendly wave, and I could see him begin to slow his pace, turn his music down, and switch gears. He was always so much better at doing that than me. He could hide the way he felt so much more easily, and that frustrated me. Not that he could appear calm and composed, but that I could not, no matter how hard I tried. Surely he would be able to see right through me, my feigned calm, cool demeanour, to see that inside I was terribly flustered….and afraid. Part of me wanted to be an unfathomable mystery to him, composed, stoic, in complete control. Another part of me wanted him to see me just how I was, and in that to see how much he, how much all of this really meant to me, and in turn to care as much as I did. I wondered if he could.

The distance between us grew shorter and shorter, and then in a breath, he was there before me, hunched over, his hands resting on his knees, his dark hair flopping over his face, as he paused to regain his breath. As he straightened up, his smile disarmed me. He gestured that he would have hugged me but then pointed to himself and his shirt damp with sweat, as if to save me from the discomfort. I smiled, nervously. He was charming as ever, gentle, kind in the questions he asked. He did seem to focus on me, to show a genuine interest in what I was doing. The familiarity seemed to comfort us both. I could see what I couldn’t see in him before, or what I was too hurt to see, what perhaps he was trying to hide. He did care. He did see me.

For some precious moments it seemed as if time had stopped, and if nothing at all had changed between us. As we reconnected, I gently began to ask him about how he was, what was going on in his life, how he was doing. I had never seen him flustered before like this. He wiped his brow, laughed nervously, trying to hide his hurt, trying to protect himself in a way that I sensed he still wanted me to protect him from himself. Somehow, unwittingly, I had disarmed him.

He laughed again, that charming, genuine laugh, and shook it off. And then he said it. ‘It’s been so great to see you, but you know’, he paused gesturing to his sports watch, ‘I’ve really got to dash’.

I froze. I just couldn’t engage myself to speak or act. ‘Got to dash’. Was he in such a hurry to get away from me? Were we still journeying through our lives at such a different pace that even now he could not pause to take this in. Would he miss it yet again? Would I?

He paused just longer than he had intended to and I could see the hurt in his eyes. He really didn’t want to dash, but that was his way of coping, the way he thought he could be free.

And as he turned away, I let him go. Life was too important to me to live at that pace, and he knew that that held true for him too. Perhaps, in time, at a gentler pace our paths would cross once more. But in the meantime, we both had our own journeys to make.

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Life as it happens to be…some reflections & plans….& future blog topics…

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Passing the yearly mid-point

Hi friends. 2nd July 2017. Can you believe we’re now more than half way through this year? I don’t know how that makes you feel, but I have a good feeling about it, which is quite a change from the anxious feelings I’ve had in previous years. This year I have been more mindful of making the most of my moments and not feeling so ‘dictated to’ by the clock or the calendar or the idea of ‘milestones’ that ought to have been reached by now. I do sometimes like to consider time in ‘manageable portions’ (don’t we all?), to take time to reflect, especially around the new year, and to plan ahead for the year to come. Perhaps you are similar, or maybe you prefer to just ‘go with the flow’ and see what happens. I think to some extent we all like a bit of both, to varying degrees. We need both stability and spontaneity in our lives. There is something about a ‘half way point’ that is a natural demarcation that can call us to reflect, or ‘pause and ponder’ and think about our life’s direction, our achievements, goals and plans for the future.

Perspectives

Sometimes passing a ‘half way point’ can make people feel nervous, unsettled, fearful, anxious or as if they have failed if they haven’t been able to achieve or get to where they had hoped or planned. I understand that. However, if you are in that place, I would encourage you to take a step back from the lens that you have been looking through and enjoy that wide expansive horizon before you.

Life is made up of different seasons, and unlike the predictability of the movement of nature’s seasons year after year from Spring to Summer to Autumn/Fall onto Winter, our lives are not like that. At twenty we cannot look across to the lives of twenty five year olds and find a uniformity in their circumstances that we can look to as a guarantee for the shape of our future. Nor can we do so at any age or stage of life. Yes, there may be certain things that hold a degree of certainty such as infancy, school years, college / university, graduation, employment, and so on. However, even then, we all have different starting points and obstacles and opportunities whether they be in the form of our health, family background, upbringing, socio economic status, limitations, abilities, temperament or whatever else they may be. We may be encouraged or hindered by the families we are born into, or by the company we keep or are compelled into by life’s circumstances. We may suffer abuse, neglect, trauma, unfair treatment, disadvantage or we may find ourselves blessed with favourable circumstances and a mostly happy or even carefree life. Perhaps the seemingly ‘predictable’ patterns of earlier years become more tangled, complex and uncertain as the years go by. Which is a good reason to refrain from harsh judgement of ourselves or others, and to avoid the ‘comparison trap’. Everyone has a story, and a ‘cross to bear’ as it were, and most times we are not really aware of what others around us are really going through however their lives may seem on the surface.

Finding Peace

Perhaps a simple prayer to ponder when life feels uncertain is the ‘Serenity Prayer’, which is simple yet full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

I personally love this prayer. It draws me away from being overly concerned with what is going on around me or from comparing my life to anyone else’s. It reminds me that like you, I have a Creator Who has made me who I am for a reason, and that if I want certainty and hope in my life I need only to look to Him for He Is True and Unchanging, unlike much of our experience of life in this world. And it reminds me that I am not powerless. I am not a victim of life’s circumstances, and although there are certain things that are beyond my control, still there is much that I can change. And so can you.

Who you are, and where you are now

All that being said, I’d like to remind you, yes *you*, special you reading this now, are Unique, Irreplaceable, ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’ (Psalm 139) and are Special and Important just for who you are. You are not an accident, it is not by chance that you are here, right now, even reading this for perhaps you need to hear a word of encouragement. You are you for a reason, and you are here right now for a reason too.

So be kind to yourself. Know that life is not all about status or achievement or relationships or milestones achieved. It is enough that you are you. Truly. I believe that there is only One Who can love you in the way you need to be loved for you to know and experience this, and I hope that you will find your way to Him, the Lord Jesus.

However, no matter what your thoughts or beliefs, still you are important, a unique individual who deserves respect and care, and that my friend, begins with you. With how you view yourself, how you ‘talk to’ yourself, and how you treat yourself and others.

Where you are now may be a place of contentment, and if so I am pleased for you and hope that you enjoy and are blessed in this time of your life. However, where you are right now in life, may not be so great. In which case, remember from the Serenity Prayer above, that you are not powerless. You can make a change today, even if a small one, and you can keep going. This is the season of life that you are in, and inevitably with all seasons, it is transient and will change. So make the changes that you can and should, and seek to be at peace with the things that you cannot change.

So, What’s Your Plan?

Ok, ok, I’m a bit of a self-confessed ‘geek’. I like stationery. I like making lists and plans. I like seeing things written down, and I like colour coding! It’s not a crime, is it? 🙂

Over the past few years, lists and plans have been small yet very helpful tools for me to aid me through some very difficult times. As mentioned previously I have complex trauma / PTSD, severe clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder. The past few years have been very tough health wise, yet this year has been pretty good, productive and one in which I am getting on top of my health challenges, which I hope is an encouragement to any of you out there who are struggling in any way. We can build resilience in ourselves and we can make tangible changes for the better.

So do you have a list or a plan? If so, what’s in your plan? And how has it helped you? If you think that sharing these insights with us might help someone else, then you are more than welcome to leave a comment or a link to a relevant blog post.

Here’s What’s in My Plan…

At the start of the year, I took some time to be a geek and to make up some lists 🙂 It has helped me to ‘stay on track’ as it were, and to measure my progress in areas of my life that are important to me.

I’ve never shared anything like this publicly before, however, I would like to do so now in the hope that it might help, encourage, or be a useful starting point for some of you to consider what is important to you in your lives, and how to live more fully in the days and years to come.

So here goes, ‘it is what it is’, it’s not ‘perfect’, but it was my starting point for this year. I’ll be brave and share it with you lovely people.

I categorised my life into 14 priority ‘life areas’, which I will list below, unchanged from when I wrote them in a notebook in January of this year. Further to this I made further more specific ‘sub goals’ or actions to more practically guide me in maintaining and enhancing these 14 life areas. These have been organic and involve a lot of scribbling, doodling, brainstorming and note-making, therefore I won’t share these as that would just get a bit too ‘crazy’ and unwieldy for a blog post 🙂 Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks! I also made a simple ‘accountability tracker’ for each month of the year which worked well for the first few months but may continue to change as I change.

2017 Life Areas:

  1. Relationship with God / Faith
  2. Relationship with Family
  3. Friendships
  4. Work / Career
  5. Finances
  6. Health & Wellbeing / Mental Health / Nutrition
  7. Homekeeping / Hospitality
  8. Travel
  9. Hobbies & Recreation
  10. Self Development / Lifelong Learning
  11. Life Skills
  12. Future Unknowns / Hopes
  13. Helping Other People / Outreach / Volunteering / Charity, etc.
  14. Lifelong / Long-term Goal ~ Writing.

 

‘Life As It Happens To Be’ ~ The Birth of An Unexpected Blog & The Timing of Things

As you can see from the above list, a blog could quite reasonably fit into a couple of categories (such as 9 & 14). However, I never listed it specifically in the above list, nor in any of my ‘sub lists’ (ok, already, I told you I’m a self-confessed list making ‘geek’. The world needs us! 🙂 🙂 ).

My ‘blog baby’ therefore came as an unexpected surprise. A couple of years ago I created my own website on Wix, which I was an am very happy with. It is quite different in appearance from this blog, yet contains many similar themes. However, it never really did ‘go anywhere’. There wasn’t really the same scope to connect with other bloggers as there is here, and so it kind of drifted into the background of my life, and it no longer took much place in the day to day things of my life. In May of this year, I think, someone suggested that I try blogging on Word Press. And so on 28th May 2017, just over a month ago, I did just that, I began this blog, and now here I am, and here we are. I am so glad I did.

Perhaps my previous website was a preparation for this new adventure. Although this blog wasn’t on my list of pursuits this year, it has really taken a special place in my life, even though I have barely been blogging for long. I love this creative and somewhat philosophical outlet. I love connecting with you all, and gaining an insight into your lives and adventures and experiences and learning from what you have written, photographed and shared. I often find myself thinking about things to blog about, and find that it is becoming a beautiful experience that I definitely wish to continue.

I am grateful for those of you who have joined me on this shared journey. I hope you will continue with me, but even if our paths were only meant to cross for a short time before they diverge, I am glad for this time and this season with you. I really hope that some of the things I’ve shared have been an encouragement to you. I may not have met you face to face, but I do care, and as I am moving past some difficult years into something new, I hope that together we can discover more of what it means to be ‘Living Fully’, right here, right now.

The Future? Well, I don’t know too much about that, but I do have plans for some new Blog Posts! 🙂

I’m intrigued to know whether any of you are ‘regular’ readers. If so, then thank you, I appreciate you. I also would like to know what interests you, and what I can write more of to encourage you, for I do have the heart of an encourager, and you, unseen internet friend, matter to me ❤ 🙂

In the meantime, let me share some of the things that you can expect to see more of on my blog in the near future (hopefully!):

I intend to continue my regular posts such as daily photos, daily prompts, self-care series and posts about mental health. In addition to what I’m already posting, you can look out for:

  • A continuation of my ‘self-care’ series.
  • Future LUSH product reviews.
  • A July ‘Subscription Box’ review.
  • Travel: in less than a week, I am going for a short adventure / journey on an old steam train in northern Scotland which I hope to feature in a blog post shortly afterwards.
  • More on Books! Literature reviews and posts on the books I am currently reading.
  • Future travel plans.
  • As mentioned above, more on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Faith journeys.
  • Creative writing.
  • A colouring book review: a friend has recently gifted me with a new adult colouring book, ‘Images of Hope’, which I have started working on and will look forward to sharing with you.

So there you have it, some things to look forward to, and I hope you are enjoying journeying on this adventure with me.

Much love. ❤ xx

 

Notebook image, courtesy of Google Images. All other content (c) is my own.

 

 

 

 

Daily Prompt ~ ‘Passenger’

Daily Prompt – ‘Passenger’

Today’, I told myself. ‘Today will be the day’. I held this thought for a moment, then let it drift from the forefront of my mind. I wondered if I had everything that I needed. I was sure that I had checked and checked again, but still it was best to make sure, again. Papers, money, tickets, my bag. Yes, I was fine. ‘Just try to relax. Sit back. Enjoy the view. Just breathe, ok. You’ve got this’. I hoped that nobody around me could sense the pep talk I was giving myself, so I looked away, just in case.

For a while I was away from here. Perhaps it was just what I needed. The enforced rest that this journey seemed to bring. Only, it was more like an interrupted sleep. I was lost in the blur of trees and train tracks, of riverbeds and fields and animals grazing. Of city and country intermittently giving way to one another.

I tried to close my eyes for a while. Tried to sleep, or at least to rest. But I was a note in the middle of a symphony of crackling newspapers, wind whistling through the windows, conversations in unknown tongues, the sounds of coughing and the shuffling of feet, as well as metal upon metal and the rhythm of the tracks.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t rest for thinking about, imagining all the possibilities of this encounter, and it made me wonder were the people around me travelling to someone, or were they simply traveling to a new place, or perhaps an old and familiar one? Were they solitary in their pursuits, or like me, was this day, today possibly one that they had hoped for, prayed for, one in which their paths might converge or reconnect with someone else on their journey?

And as we hesitantly snatched furtive glances, passengers curious about each others journeys, I wondered were our own stories converging in ways we didn’t yet realise? I knew we weren’t here by accident. And perhaps someday, we would have the blessing of hindsight that foresight could never afford us with to see the significance of today in each others stories.

Maybe someday that would be of more importance to me. But today there was only one person I cared to meet. I checked my papers again, my bag, my ticket. It was almost my stop. I held my breath knowing that I would never feel ready, but I had to take this step. If not today then maybe it would be never. ‘Today’ I told myself. ‘Be Brave. Today’. (c).

 

Lost and Found

 

Daily Prompt – Trace

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I trace the contours of the moon with my eyes. I once thought she was my ‘guiding light’, but I was so lost then. I cried out to You, but the skies were sealed to my desperate pleas. Muffled in silence I quietly wept. The despair was potent in the mere thought that there could be life without You.

People came and went, not caring. They didn’t need the moon, nor You or anything beyond that real and solid thing in front of them there, in that moment. I would rather die. Or be as if I had never been. I was suffocating, desperately longing, but You were not there, or so it seemed.

At a cross roads yet again, led by the aching of my soul, to find and to Be Found. My heart was shattered glass within me, I bled inside, and there was no Healer. And yet I knew. If I desperately searched, surely, somehow, someway I would find You. For I knew.

Seventeen. Reaching out for meaning. Being led and not seeing. Seeking to live in the depths of now, and yet so wounded. Trying to hold myself together in a fantasy. Trying to walk away from the pain. Inside, eleven, twelve, frozen in trauma and a child’s helpless sorrow. Where were you? Where are you now? I bleed. I bleed.

Is this the mid point? I saw You, I cried out for You, not Who or What anymore, but You and You came to me, rescued me, and are healing me. I belong to You and to no other.

Who is there in heaven but You? There is none that I desire, but *You*.

Your blood is that scarlet ribbon that ties me to You. Only in looking back can I trace the echoes of Your grace, the handprints of Your love, and the broken bread crumbs of Your Sacrifice, scattered along my path, hidden in darkness yet present each and every day.

If I am lost, it is in Your certainty. I do not know the path ahead, or how to heal what has been wounded. But You Are The Path. The Way that’s found me.

You trace the deepest caverns of my soul. And there, You Love me. Endlessly.

 

An Invitation to Comment….What one piece of advice would you give to a newbie blogger (me!) ? :)

I am new to blogging, and would welcome your advice.

If you could share one thing you have learned with me, or even think about what advice you would give to your ‘younger self’ when starting out in the blogging world, what would it be?

I would love to read your insights, so please do feel welcome to comment below.

Thanks in advance,

A newbie blogger 🙂

My first day on Word Press – the journey takes flight…

I believe that for many of us, writing is an expression of our soul. It is also a gift  that is not only a means of communication, but of deep and significant connection. When you or I write, and share, we also receive.

This is my first ever day blogging on WordPress. I have blogged occasionally before, some years ago, but for some serendipitous reason unknown to me, I was not able to make the connections of giving and receiving that I seem to have encountered on my first day blogging here.

Perhaps when something is fresh and novel it is easier to be captivated by what we have discovered than when it becomes familiar and commonplace. My first impression of blogging on WordPress is how quickly it facilitates connection, or at least it seems to me that it does.

As human beings making our individual and shared journeys and discoveries through life, we are so much more enriched by what we learn and discover with each other.

I feel as if I have opened a window to a new world, and I can see glimpses of the world that I have never seen before.

‘What a difference a day makes’, say the words of a song…’and the difference is you’.

You, each of you that I have connected with already, in some small way – whether we have read, liked or followed each others posts, enjoyed an as yet unseen part of the world through a photograph, or expressed appreciation in a comment – you have opened up a window to me of a world I had not seen before, and I am grateful.  And so I take to flight on this new journey, excited as to what I will find, and what we may share.

As I said, I am new to this world of blogging, and I may make mistakes along the way, so I welcome any advice and input, and look forward to connecting with you all.

Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to read this 🙂