Ten Ways to Tell that You’ve Had a Successful Summer Recess

You know you’ve had a successful summer recess when:

1. You spent less time in the emergency room this year than last year
2. Your house looks like Genghis Khan rode through
3. You have bright, shiny new graffiti on your walls
4. Your laundry is threatening to break out of the laundry room
5. You still can’t find where that smell is coming from
6. Your cupboards are bare
7. Your neighbours are still talking to you
8. You managed to put together an acceptable school uniform
9. You opened your last jar of coffee on the day they went back to school
10. And despite all that, all you can think about is going back to bed to catch up on some sleep!

Congratulations. You’re a survivor.

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The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Brilliantly written article. By the time I read the first two habits I was crying with laughter, so much so that I couldn’t see to carry on reading. My sides were aching with it. This is so descriptive of so many of today’s miserable people. Absolutely brilliant.

Mind Chatter

How to succeed at self-sabotage.

  

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/aastock

Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living…

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For Those Who Travel Deep Within

Llangorse Lake

Rest awhile where sanctuary heals
By waters, calm, reflecting azure sky.
Majestic mountains add dimensions
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Opening, once again, the wounds of time
That will not heal till sorrow passes,
To calm and soothe the furrowed brow
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Baring soul to mindful scrutiny
To live again experiences sad,
And pain the heart with sorrows yet untold
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Is it me? Or am I just the victim?
Did I cause effects that no one else can see?
Have I done such wrongs that leave a scar
That only those who travel deep within can know?

Is there empathy or understanding
Anywhere within my circle of acquaintance;
Companions who may see the pain
That only those who travel deep within can know?

Boldly forging on with tears blurring sight.
Listening to the sound as waters lap the shore.
Watching memories passing by
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Mindful meditation taking pain
And watching as it ebbs and flows.
Knowing thoughts that cannot be expressed,
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Can peace be found on water’s edge?
Or on the mountain’s weathered breast?
Can there yet be another way
That only those who travel deep within can know?

Surely time will heal the savage thoughts
That echo endlessly in mind and heart.
So few can understand the life
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Angry people flocking to and fro
With ne’er a thought for peaceful contemplation,
Intimidated by the peace
That only those who travel deep within can know.

Lost

tracks2

“I’m lost.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I am.”

“How can you say that?”

“Because I don’t know where I am.”

“You’re here!”

“But where’s here?”

“Why does it matter? Where do you want to be?”

“That’s the point. I don’t know where here is; and I don’t know where I . . . Well, actually, I do know where I want to be, and I’m not there.”

“How do you know?”

“I don’t. That’s what’s so confusing. I’m not sure I can really explain it.

“You see, I look around and I’m in a jungle between lots of trees with a dense fog, all around. There’s no clear path out. I can’t even work out how I got here. Yet I’m also not sure that I don’t want to be here. I mean, it could be said that I’m here by choice, couldn’t it. So, if I’m here by choice, I probably want to be here. But why would I want to be here?”

“Why do you think you want to be here?”

“I don’t know. Am I hiding from something? Or someone? Who? I feel like I’m hiding from . . . myself! Why would I do that? Am I trying to deceive myself? Why? There’s something I need to do and . . . and I’m afraid to do it; somewhere I have to go, but I’m afraid to go there.”

“”Where do you have to go? And what do you have to do?”

“I have no idea.

“Well, actually, that’s not quite true. I have to go inside and search.”

“Inside? Inside what?”

“Not what? Who? I have to go inside myself. And that’s scary.”

“Not many people can do that.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. Too many people go off to ‘find themselves’ and never come back. No wonder it’s scary.

“Yet, really, I know where I am. I’m here; wherever here is. I’m not really lost. I know where I am; I’m here. I just don’t know where here is.”

“If you did know where ‘here’ is, what would you do with that information? After all, you said there are no visible paths. So it would not matter which direction you go in.”

“True. But at least . . . at least if I’m moving, it would be easier to turn.”

“Interesting.”

“And I’ll never find my way unless I can see where I’m headed for.

“I suppose the real question is where I want to be headed for. If I’m searching for myself, and I know I’m here, then haven’t I already found myself? Haven’t I already reached my destination?

“No. That’s not quite true. The idea of a destination suggests that the journey will end. Yet the journey never ends, does it. Life goes on and the journey doesn’t end. After all, once we reach our destination we look around for somewhere else to go. The journey never ends. And, since I know that I’m here, this is just a stopping off point on my journey.

“So why can I not see which way to go? Because I have no clear direction? Where do I want to be? No. Why do I want to be here?”

“Good question. Why do you want to be here?”

“Because I need a rest. I need some time without the demands of other people tugging at my resources. Yet I also don’t want to ignore the needs of those who matter to me. That’s why I’m afraid to search for myself – I don’t want to lose those I care about.”

“And yet you know where you are.”

“So I don’t need to search! I’m here.

“And the mist is clearing. Mist? Fog? What’s the difference? It’s clearing. There is always a path between the trees. It may not be a well-worn path, but it’s still a path. It’s a path I have to make for myself. It’s my life; my journey; my path.”

“So what does that mean?”

“It means I know where I am. And I know where I’m going.

“I’m here, and I’m going to keep going. I’m simply going to walk between two trees and keep going.

“That’s strange.”

“What is?”

“Where did that path come from? Did I just make that path? Yes. It’s my path.”

“Where does it lead?”

“Wherever I want it to lead. I am in control of my life. I can choose to stay here or I can choose to move on. It’s my choice.”

“And what have you chosen?”

“To move on.”

“Where to?”

“Wherever my journey takes me . . . No . . . Wherever I want to go. And I want to go and look after those I care about; which includes myself. After all, I’m actually in a clearing between trees.

Now, look between those two trees. What do you see?”

“It’s not about what I see. It’s about what you see. But I see a path.”

“ Of course you do. It may not be much of a path, but it’s my path. It’s my way forward. Thanks for listening.

“So. Are you coming?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Not really.”


If you have seen this, previously, on my other blog, I apologise. I am moving everything to this blog in order to simplify my life in harmony with minimalist principles!

She Sleeps

Moon 100130 Web

She sleeps,
Drifting on through her dreams
Of lives that could have been,
Places she could have seen.

She sleeps.
Visions of the night-time
Blending subconscious thoughts
Into reality.

She sleeps,
Restless, as the views change
From what she knows is true
To scenes filled with wonder.

She sleeps,
Yet listens for the cries
Of children in the night,
In case they need comfort.

She sleeps.
Moon drifts across the sky,
Passing by her window,
Shining into her dreams.

She sleeps,
Gentle breathing signals
Pause for deeper slumber;
Needed for well-being.

She sleeps,
The worries of the day,
Laid to rest with the stars,
Resolved, effortlessly.

She sleeps,
Stirs, as dawn is breaking,
Knowing the new day brings
Its worries and trials.

She sleeps,
Gains energy to face
The day’s anxieties
With grace and dignity.

She sleeps,
Yet still she feels his arm
Curling close around her;
Draws them ever closer.

She wakes,
And lies there to enjoy
The warmth of his body
As his embrace tightens.

She sighs,
Contented with her life;
A life that never seems
The same as in her dreams.

Care – But Not Too Much

Lions

Yes. I know. How can you care too much? That’s a very good question which I hope to answer.

Consider a pride of lions. Each member is concerned with the welfare of his or her family. But he or she would also walk away if the circumstances dictated. If one of the pride was to die, he or she would have no worries about eating it. Not that I’m suggestion eating our friends, of course!

One of the best ways to find peace in our lives is to give of ourselves. Look around you. How many people are smiling? What about you? Are you smiling? Life, today, can be very hectic, leading to stress, misery, and ill health. In my previous post, Be Yourself – or Change, I mentioned that one way to change for the better involves taking an interest in other people. In The Power of Two I highlighted that we can all benefit from a trusted confidante.

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Be Yourself – Or Change

Yorkshire 3
Find a place to meditate

Actors in the ancient Greek theatres would use masks to portray different characters. Even today, the international symbol for theatres is a pair of masks, one happy, one sad. The ancient Greek word for actor was hypokrites. It came to refer to one playing false, or putting on a pretence. It’s where we get the English word hypocrite.

We have looked at the value of solitude, confidantes, and support networks. We have looked at how to deal with other people’s choices when they impact on our lives. And we have looked at the things that we can control – our choices.

But that raises the question of who we are, because none of us would want to be known as a hypocrite.

No Masks

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When It’s Not My Choice

Gorilla Thinking

I used to have a sign above my desk that said, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” There are other versions of this but they all carry the same message: “I have no intention of becoming stressed just because you are.”

It’s a bit like this gorilla. He has very little say in what happens to him. He has been captured and placed in a zoo. So he accepts his situation, eats what he is fed, and seems to be content with his lot in life without worrying about the zoo keeper’s stress.

Dealing With Someone Else’s Decisions

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The Power of Two

Couple Walking

Solitude is important. We all need time alone with our own thoughts. But it is also essential that we do not isolate ourselves. As mentioned in my previous article, The Power of One, isolating ourselves from other people can lead to selfish thinking.

So, in addition to spending time alone, we also need good companionship. Why? Because there are times when we simply need to talk with someone. And, sometimes, we need someone in whom we can confide.

It isn’t always a matter of getting advice. Just having someone listen to us often helps us to deal with issues. I remember someone telling me that her friend was chopping wood, one day, and she went and sat on a swing, nearby. As he chopped, she talked. After some time she said, “Thank you. You’ve really helped me.” “Actually, I haven’t said anything,” he replied. Then she realised that he was right. He hadn’t said anything. Just having someone listening was enough to help her come to terms with the feelings she was experiencing after the loss of her husband, a few weeks previously. And this wasn’t even that close a friend. In fact, it hadn’t been more than a few days since she had met him and his wife. But he was a good listener. And it was enough for her to find peace and move on.

Now, just imagine how much more a close friend could achieve; especially if that close friend is someone we care for and who cares for us. It’s a beautiful experience.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from a close friend or, even better, your marriage mate. But remember, to have a friend, you have to be a friend. And that can lead to all sorts of peaceful possibilities.

The Power of One

MJ 420

We all need other people. We are designed for companionship. We thrive when we are in good company, especially in times of trial or adversity. In fact, that’s when we need each other most.

Yet we also need time on our own. We need time to contemplate the things that affect our lives and the lives of those we care about, no matter where they might live and no matter whether we know them personally or not.

That’s why we need personal time. We need to be alone, sometimes, just to be able to make sense of life. We could say we need time to breathe; to refresh ourselves; to clear everyone else’s clutter from our minds so that we can get on with dealing with our own issues.

So what do we mean by “time alone”? It can mean different things in different circumstances. Sometimes we may want to just kick off our shoes, stretch out on the sofa, close our eyes, and listen to our favourite music. But there is so much benefit in simply enjoying silence. Our lives are so full of noise, these days, and we need to switch off from it so that we can hear those things that really matter.

One word of caution, though. We must not isolate ourselves. As the opening paragraph says, we need other people around us. Isolating ourselves too much can lead to selfish thinking and actually cause more problems than it solves.

One good suggestion is to take yourself out for a meal. Go to a nice restaurant on your own and eat a meal on your own. It’s a fantastic experience. And you will still have other people around you. You may even have better service!

Still, look for opportunities to have some time alone each week or, preferably, each day. Give yourself a break. Life will be so much easier to deal with when you start looking after yourself. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to deal with anything.