Archive for philosophy

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve! The end of 2013 and the start of another year, another journey and a new lot of wishful resolutions. I say wishful because I am the world’s worst blogger, totally hopeless at keeping resolutions and most of my plans fall by the wayside at the drop of a hat. What I am good at is procrastinating, dreaming, wishing and praying. OK, I believe in the power of prayer and it’s incredible value to us but the rest? hmmm just me not letting all the amazing thoughts and ideas that cross my mind get out and become manifest as, well maybe, something useful.

Every year I have made resolutions. Some active others more passive. Every year I try to look at why I didn’t carry them through , or for those I did, what made them easier to keep? This year I am not analysing at all. I accept that 2013 was a wonderful year for me. Not for any particular reason apart from all that dreaming and procrastinating just helped me to find a bit more of me. How easy is it to lay down a list of things I want to achieve, lose weight…still…write more, keep up with my correspondence better, well just write letters would be a start, follow up on all my good intentions, but even though I failed on those practical things, I did achieve so much more.

I stepped onto the scary place of letting go. I had an incredible urge to de-clutter my life. For the first time forever I was able to look at things and see them as just that – things. Some I had kept for many, many years, such a high sentimental value placed on them that I was unable to let them go. I often write about my love of little boxes and the way I have organised all the emotional, tragic or joyful times in my head. Shutting away those thoughts and emotions that hurt me and only allowing access now and again allowed me, or so I thought, to be in control of my life. I can’t be sure what caused the change in me, maybe getting older and revaluating my place here in this life, maybe my mother, my last remaining parent, dying just over a year ago. I don’t know. I do remember thinking that I was now the oldest in my family, was I the next on the waiting for God list? Then there’s that title seldom used these days – matriarch – someone called me that at the funeral, one of my brothers I think. Now that really is something to live up to.

I guess I had been so emotionally bogged down with a difficult, neglectful and sometimes traumatic, childhood. My only significant others being my grandparents who died when I was in my teens, I had no role models to guide me and I blundered my way through life making mistakes and feeling totally inadequate and without direction. Once I had my own family, when I was sixteen, I started keeping little mementos of events in my life. A shoebox to start with then a bigger box, a suitcase, a loft…. forty odd years later I have a houseful, a lifetime of treasures. The few birthday cards I got as a child, my first transistor clock radio – poems I wrote. The first playgroup painting of my son – now in his mid forties – and the many pictures and schoolbooks of all eight of my children, the little notes they wrote, cards they made, school achievement certificates… you get the picture? I believe the insecure childhood was the catalyst for my collections. I needed a reminder of the good things I guess.

I am a neat freak, well not obsessively, I like things in their place. So I have seven bookcases of books all neatly in their genres. Not as far as Dewey catalogued I might add. I have many hobbies, crafts and things I have collected. Lacemaking, knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, patchwork, dolls house building, painting, writing, postcard collecting, stamp collecting and so on, everything is neatly stored in it’s place or box ready for when the mood takes me to pick it up again. I’m never bored I might also add. A lifetime of things. It is that word that has made me revaluate my life… things… that is all they are. My most prized possessions are really my memories and relationships I share with my family and friends. It’s only taken me sixty-one years to see that and to finally begin to let go of … stuff.
cove letting go

I love my books but once I have read them why do I keep hold of them? I rarely read a book again. Hobbies that I can no longer do due to the practicalities of space and place. I no longer live in the country so why keep all my winemaking gear? I know my books would give pleasure to another reader so I have started by donating some to the local library, others to a charity shop. Clothes I have had in a box for years, I’m never going to wear again – charity shop. You know? once I started it gave me such a wonderful feeling of freedom. I could almost feel the house sighing with relief. I’ve a long way to go but I am so enjoying it.

So looking back over 2013, I believe it was a successful year for me. I found myself and have begun to value myself as much as I did all my little collections. 2014 is going to be the year I continue to let go of the past, keep de-cluttering and be in control of who I am. Then there’s losing weight, write more letters, paint more, read at least 20 books in the year, pick up my writing course and continue it, oh, and being a better blogger ….. I believe I have more chance of achieving at least some of them this this year but if I don’t then that’s a little more about me I will find out more because I was doing other stuff!!

time to taste life

time to taste life

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Postaday2011: making mistakes

There is so much I could say on making a mistake and when I think back on all the decisions in my life I can honestly say I have made my share of bad ones. But have I? I am aware of all the right decisions as they shine out with positive vibes and the consequences have all led to other things. I sometimes think my life has been charmed or at least I have an absolutely amazing guardian angel who gets it right every time!

Each decision I have ever has had two sides to it. Even though it was the right decision for me then someone else had to hurt. On the other hand, had I not made those decisions then I would be hurting. Sometimes we have to choose, those choices are the most difficult in the world.

At one stage in my life I was at the point of suicide, I am ashamed to say that now, but it was just the kindness of someone I knew who sat with me over a cup of tea that got me to take control of my life. That I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s happiness if they weren’t prepared to meet half way. I made my decision, there was a lot of pain, a lot of bad stuff happened but on looking back to then and examining where I am now, I know it was all part of a pathway I had to travel. I needed those lessons to give me strength for other challenges in my life. My children were hurt back then, but we learned to talk.

Today, they are all fantastic people and all succesful in the pathways they have chosen for themselves. They are also children to be proud of. None of them have been in trouble, they respect the world around them , people and other’s property, nature and each other and well as myself. They all have great interests, hobbies or employment that they excel in and are really good people to be with.  Considering I have 8 children, from different marriages, I think we did ok and I am certainly very proud of each one of them.

Some of my decisions I have regretted initially but it is only on reflection and comparison to my life today that I realise it had to be. I am glad I made those decisions and am proud of myself for making the necessary adjustments to make my life work. It has all been worthwhile to be right where I am at this moment in time.

My secrets are: never hold a grudge; make the best of what you have instead of wishing for something more; forgive easily; never stop loving; never be afraid to say ‘I made a mistake’ and ‘let’s talk’; never be too proud to apologise; if life isn’t working – change it, it’s nobody else’s problem but yours; eliminate the word ‘hate’ from your vocabulary; Love – totally and utterly unconditionally; forgive yourself; smile a lot; be thankful for everything you have and always remember we are all on a different journey, it’s just great if sometimes we cross another’s path and decide to stay, if it doesn’t work out there are always other friends passing through.

So for me, I don’t think there are mistakes, if it happens – it is meant to be, for whatever reason. We might regret a decision at the time but that’s not saying it was a mistake, maybe it just takes a bit of adjustment before we realise that actually, life is great because of… not in spite of. So there are no mistakes, merely new adventures and experiences that will open new worlds and each one of us are responsible for ourselves.

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Postaday2011: Catching up

I have five minutes to myself, my granddaughter and her friend have gone out until this afternoon and I have the day to do what I want in. Funny how quiet it all is again. However it does give me a few moments and I am catching up on reading some blogs and sneaking in a catch up blog for those I missed.

I saw that one of the topics offered was ‘if I was invisible, where would I go etc.’ and it got me thinking. How lovely it might be to become the fly on the wall and visit people and friends I have known all over my life to see what they are doing now. I wonder what I would find. Of course that invisibility might encapsulate the time factor too so that I could go back and see us back when we were close too.

I have many friends who, over time, our friendship has lapsed for many different reasons. We moved away to other towns, got married or simply just moved on. A lot of those friendships can be evaluated by those we kept in touch with and several, although we live so far apart and don’t always keep in touch regularly, when we do meet or speak again it is as if time has no meaning and we pick up from where we left off. There were others that meant such a lot to me but obviously not to the other person because they drifted away. The memories of our time spent together are still precious today.

When I was young my friendships were very important, maybe because of my poor childhood at home, perhaps they were some stability in my uncertain world. They were the ones that hurt when they drifted apart. I had one particular friend that I met in infant school, we went all through junior school as best friends, we hung out all the time and shared girly secrets. Coming from a family of boys, she was my lifeline to the girly world rather than the rough and tumble fun world I shared with my brothers. I learned so much from her.

As we grew older and moved to secondary education we were integrated with girls from other junior schools and that was when our relationship changed. Other friends that she had known became more of a focus than I was and we drifted apart. It was a hard time for me as that was the worse time in my home life too. I would love to go back and find out why that friendship changed, was it me that changed? I didn’t think so. Maybe she needed more, or something different that I was unable to give to our friendship. I did visit her once or twice after we both got married, especially when she had her babies but it was clear that there was no relationship there any more, she never visited me, and so we moved on. I pray she is happy, I know her children and grandchildren through my own and they are all really great people.

I remember a little poem I found back then as a young mum and I kept it for many years and took it out to look at time and time again. It kept me going. I cannot remember the exact words but it was by Patience Strong and it went along the lines of ‘Life changes, so do we, other friends will take the place of those who drift away…’ In my world, precious things were to be cherished always,knowing that not everyone wants or needs the same as I did was one of the hardest lessons I have ever learned.

I think that slipping invisibly back in time would be the only thing I would want to do, just to see if the conclusions I came to and the lessons I learned were right or if I could have done something differently. Then I think, maybe I am not meant to know, that the thoughts I kept were the real reason I shared those experiences and were the important factor that made me who I am today. Maybe, revisiting them would be too painful. I think that might be the case so it would be much better to leave the past as, the past.

So what would I do today if I had an invisible cloak? I am not sure I would want to go anywhere that might reveal something about myself. I try to keep to an image of who I want to be and I like that image. Maybe someone might say something to me that would shatter that little comfort zone? I have always tried to lead a good life, growing up as a Christian, my pathway was strong and straight, one example was, not something secret that I found out, but having had to break a long time friendship because the person was sucking me dry emotionally and drowning me in negativity, I was told I had a  ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Hearing that told me that it was the right time for that friendship to change but it hurt. Do my Christian values fit into this hard and often cruel world?

It made me question long and hard. Today I have faith rather than religion, I am spiritual rather than religious but every single value I have learned and nurtured my entire life has been based on truth, honesty, courtesy, consideration, forgiveness and love, for others as well as myself. I began to embrace that ‘handle’, at least all I have worked hard at is apparent and I still hold those values close to me. I am no less a part of this world with all its harshness but I have my inner faith to guide and keep it all together for me.

So I don’t think, after all, that I would use my cloak to find out anything about myself. I think that comes through understanding as we travel through life, but, I would love to use invisibility to travel both through time and to places that interest me. I’d visit famous monuments and find out just what the history really was, I’d slip silently into places where I couldn’t normally go so I could learn and understand how our history came about, why people have made the decisions they have. I think I would draw the line at spending time watching  the bad bits of history before they happened because I would want to change it. I don’t think that would be good but imagine see how the Pyramids were really built, what people thought about, how they lived for real. Watching Stonehenge in the same way and knowing what it was for. Seeing the harsh reality of the Dark Ages and so on. All the history as it happened I would see, as I watched in my invisibility, I would travel the world and fly with the birds, swim with the fish, hunt with the lion…

I think then, that maybe if the wonders of the unknown were made clear to me, would life still be as curious to me? If I knew the purpose of some things, would they be less meaningful? Hmmm. You know, much as I would like to know so many things I think it is better to hold onto that curiosity. Once the reason to seek and find out has gone, what else is there?

I think I might just hang my cloak of invisibility up somewhere at the back of the cupboard and forget it was there. After all, I like my world, I like who I am and love all those around me. What more do I need to know?

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