From our first days after birth we spend time trying to achieve things. We learn to smile, to feed ourselves, to crawl and walk and talk. At school we continue in this way, learning to read and write and so on. When we get to working age the effort to achieve continues. But what is achievement? It is according to the dictionary ‘a thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.’
But we all achieve at different speeds and this is something that is often forgotten. What comes easy to some is extremely hard for others. In the world of employment, achievement is often seen as having a very good well paid job, a nice house, the 2.4 children and a big car. But is this really an achievement? If you have this are you happy? Do you ever stop achieving?
For me and for many others who suffer with chronic pain, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is a big achievement and to manage to do other things during the day is an even bigger achievement.
Do you ever look back to see what you have achieved? I did this recently and thought about the books I had written, the blogs I write and then I felt that perhaps that was my ego talking. So should we be proud of our achievements and tell others what we have done? I know many authors who ‘push’ their books and bombard social media with their adverts. This is not for me. If someone wants to read my books then they will find their way to them. But let’s get back to achievement.
There are many people in the world who feel they have achieved nothing yet they go to work and do well and have all that they seem to need. Is feeling happy part of achievement? I think we also need to look back and see what we have learned and done over the years. Every thing we do successfully is an achievement so for those who find it hard to do something, who then manage to do it, they have achieved that something. Achievements don’t have to be large, they can be small everyday things so look at what you have achieved this morning before you read this blog.
Staying calm can sometimes be extremely difficult in the world of today. There is so much going on in the world around us as well as in the wider world and there is so much pressure to do this or do that or be that way not the other way and so on.
Many years ago when I was first working with the Reiki energy I learned to stop and take deep breaths when I was getting worked up about something or pressured into doing something that I knew was not right for me. I also gave myself a boost of the Reiki energy. But not everyone can do this so how can you stay calm when you need to be calm?
I find that just stopping whatever I am doing and looking around me at the world of nature outside my window calms me down. I love to watch what is going on outside the window in my garden. I can see butterflies and damselflies and lots of flying insects all busy about their daily work.
But what if you don’t have a garden outside your window but have noisy traffic and other sounds. Then you have to find a place in your imagination where you can go to when you need peace. Have you been on holiday somewhere or on a day out where you have found a place you really like and feel at peace there? This is the place you go to in your imagination when you need to feel calm and peaceful. It can only be for a minute but it will help. It is the stopping what you are doing and taking a few seconds or minutes out that does the trick. Don’t think of what is getting to you but think of the peaceful place you love. If you do this regularly then you will feel much better and get less stressed by everything that is going on. You will be more able to go with the flow of things as they occur and deal with them in a much easier way. So take a few minutes out at intervals during your day and see how much difference it can make.
Here is a photo taken in my garden this week.
Hope is a word we use a lot. ‘I hope you are well’ or ‘I hope you get what you want’ are two examples. There are many more as I am sure you well know. But what do we mean by ‘hope’?
Generally in the cases above it is a feeling of expectation or a desire for something to happen. In some cases it is merely wishful thinking meaning ‘I’d like you to be well’ or ‘Id like you to get what you want’.
But hope can be seen as a capability to motivate ourselves and others in order to reach goals that we want but these have to be realistic of course. So many of us hope for things to happen that are definitely not realistic or to have things that we are never going to have.
However hope is important and can help people to get better when they are ill. If they believe they can get better then hope will help them to do so. If you are hopeful then you are also optimistic. Hope gives us the ability to see possible good in the future. Hope can make you feel positive and can improve your health. Hope creates self worth and gives you the strength to keep going. Hope gives you motivation which enables you to do things you had not known you could do.
Hope allows you to approach problems with your mind set on success. If you have hope, you can face the most negative times in your life with positivity. Hope therefore improves your mental health. Hope allows you to see opportunities in challenges; we often say ‘Look on the bright side’.
Here is a quote from Emily Dickinson ‘Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.’ And one final quote, author unknown, ‘Hope is the dream of a soul awake’.
We are often told not to look back but to be ‘in the now’ or to look forward to the future. But there are various reasons why we can look back and times when it is good to look back.
I like to look back at my life journey so I can see what I have learned, or not learned as the case may be, so I can decide what I need to do next. I can reflect on my journey so far. I also like to look back in history to see how countries and people have changed over the centuries.
Looking back at my life can also bring to mind some wonderful memories, some which I have shared with others and some when I have made journeys alone. Yesterday I went out with my son and his partner to a local, wildflower farm. The sun was hot, the sky a clear blue, the flowers colourful and the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies were out in abundance and stunningly beautiful. Tea and cake added to the day and it will be a day to remember when in years to come, I cannot get out to enjoy nature.
In my history/genealogy research, I am of course looking back, but I try to find out what life was like then, what people wore, and how they lived so that I am in a way bringing them alive. It enables me to see how much our world has changed in the last three or four hundred years.
So looking back for me is important. It enables me to make changes in the way I live my life and it also enables me to see how I do things differently than my ancestors. Do you look back and if so do you reflect on what you see? Does it help you to change the way you do things now? Does it help you to find out what is important in your life as it does in mine?
Here is one of the dragonflies from yesterdays memories.
How many times do you hear the words ‘Life’s not fair’? It isn’t though and there are many instances of injustice or lack of fairness. It is not just in our current times as it has gone on for centuries as I found when researching Victorian criminals. There was one rule for some and a different rule for others, generally chosen because they had a bit of education.
Injustice can be seen as an unjust act or occurrence or an unfair action or treatment of someone which violates their rights. People often say unfair things about people they call friends too. But how do you deal with it?
If you feel anger then deal with it and don’t feed your anger otherwise it can make you ill. If you can change an injustice then do so but there are many that you cannot change but that you have to live with. You can feel compassion for yourself and for those who are the victims of injustice but you need to prioritise what is most important. so choose to empower yourselves by separating the facts from your emotions.
In a world of fake news we have to be careful about our reactions to events and discern which are true before we can do something to try to make sure some of these injustices do not happen again.
In our current world, many injustices are coming to light for us to deal with and we are making progress with this If you want to fight injustice then choose one thing that you know you can change. Small changes lead to big changes and we can move towards a fairer world for us all but don’t expect things to change overnight It is a slow process.
Also remember that peace is important for us all so remain peaceful in whatever you do.
It is said that you should treat others in the way you want to be treated. This is easier said than done at times but many things are easy to do. You can say ‘Thank you’ when someone helps or advises you or holds the door open for you. You can do the same for others especially holding the door open. I struggle with doors as I use a crutch and often have a shopping basket on wheels so someone holding the door for me is very welcome but many times I have seen or even felt the door being left to swing back into me.
You can also help those who are vulnerable, maybe by helping someone to cross the road. I am sure you can think of many ways to do this. I like to think that I do these things and I try not to expect anything in return but a ‘Thank you’ would be nice to hear.
Unfortunately there are a lot of people around who do not do these things which I find really sad. I have often been told that I expect too much from my friends and others so now even though I find it easy to help others I find it difficult to ask for help and to accept it as well. I live on my own so often I need help around the house but I tend to try to do these things myself. When I have asked for help in the past I have watched the faces of those I asked and I can see whether they really are willing to help or are going to make excuses.
But expectations can go much deeper with those for whom you care deeply and love. If they do not offer help when needed you can feel deeply hurt but can you still care for them in the same way?
So what do I expect from my friends? I expect to share times of joy and laughter. I expect to share times of sadness and to be supported during bad times. I expect offers of help even though I haven’t asked for help and most of all I expect lots of hugs. What are your expectations?
This week as the weather has not been good for gardening, I have been catching up on my family history. Looking at the lives that some of my ancestors led makes me wonder how they survived. How much did the lives of my great grandparents influence the lives of my grandparents? And in turn how much did their lives influence those of my parents and in turn my life?
In my family history there are stories of time in the mental hospital because of depression and anxiety. There are those who resorted to drink to deal with the loss of small babies soon after birth. And there are those who turned to crime. How do you deal with the loss of several of your children when they are only babies? Today there are plenty of organisations to help you cope.
Today we take our health system for granted and we know there is always somewhere to go when ill or needing help if we want to do that. But years ago and not so many actually, there was no way of earning money if you were ill and there was no contraception. Some families had up to thirteen children, many of whom died young. How did they cope with that? What happened if the mother died? Some children were then adopted by relatives or sent away and some were even sent abroad.
How did this all affect our relatives, our grandparents for example? I know that one set of my grandparents did not have an easy life. My grandfather was very strict and there was no emotion allowed in their lives. There were no hugs or words of love and I know that this affected my mother at a deep level so that she was unable to show love either. This leads to a core wound of rejection, one that is hard to deal with.
If a grandparent or great grandparent was violent did that affect those that followed? You can see how the wounds from one generation can come into the next generation and unless those wounds are healed then they will continue in the coming generation as well.
I could write on but I hope have said enough for you to think about this and how your ancestors have affected your own life today. If you feel you have a core wound to heal then please find a way to do this so it doesn’t carry on in the future generations.