Often times I have looked back and remembered those that had a profoundly positive effect on my life. The instances range from just a few minutes to a few months yet the lessons have stayed with me since then! How can it be that certain moments are engraved and others easily forgotten? I do believe that it is as a result of the particular state of emotional susceptibility we had at the time, a certain openness we experienced.
Open: Having no protection or concealing cover, free from limitations.
Is it possible to stay open all the time and learn all the time? Well, the answer is no, not unless we live without emotion completely. The word Emotion comes from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move. Therefore we can conclude that without strong emotion we will remain in a comfort zone and probably not grow or change which for the majority of us seems to be the perfect place to be! As the saying goes, life is what happens when we are making other plans and reality is that no matter how much we shield ourselves from uncertainty sometimes we are faced with the opportunity to ‘move’ into a different sphere.
“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice and fosters humour” – George Santayana
Now that we know that we only seem to react to change when there is a catalyst in the mix can we decide to make a lasting change without the moving emotions? Can we purposefully be open to new experiences? Can we shift ourselves from our comfort zones and take a risk or venture into the unknown? Are we able to resist the temptation to try to make sense of things and just accept the new? Personally I have been through change and I bet that if Im going through a trying time with emotions that tug me left to right then most of us experience same. So what to do? How open should we be and should we be open all the time? Surely we will suffer from information overload at some time? Are we to be in a state of constant growth and learning? If so when do we take a breather? Isnt it going to be too heavy, this openness, this awareness, this influx?
Here is the solution! We need to be aware that change is inevitable and ongoing. The more we resist the more we can make ourselves unhappy. However if we embrace what we can and take time to digest the rest we will find that slowly the blinkers fall from our eyes and we see things in a new light with a new attitude. The changes will illicit emotional reactions for sure, and in some sense these emotions can be our intuitive guide as to the difference between right and wrong for our lives so we need to analyse our emotions before we let them run amuck. Too much emotion can lead to depression or hyperactivity. Let us this weekend try as much as we can to remain open to all happenings around us with an attitude of openness. Through this we most certainly will certainly learn new things and when the emotions do rise, try to analyse why, what and how come in order to come to a conclusion as to whether to remain or to move in a new direction.
Metamorphosis: a complete or marked change in appearance, character or condition.
Seasons are changing and the skyline brings new scenery as I drive home. I guess we all have to admit that the one certainty in life is that change is inevitable! Let’s take a look at this strange phenomenon – CHANGE.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”Anatole France
I found that most people resist change in their lives. We seem to be unsettled by the very prospect that our foundations could be shaken, even cracked by change. We dig in our heels and fight against it with all our might, yet change happens whether we are ready for it or not! If we could just see ourselves as a willow tree that bends and sways with the wind, but is well rooted, we would be less apprehensive. It is good to allow our little perceived reality to be blown around in the wind sometimes as it challenges our capabilities and teases our patience beyond that which we normally would not have done. We are taken from our comfort zone and dusted off in order for us to face the harsh reality that stares us in the face. We have to make a life-changing decision which can be a daunting task at the best of times but even more so when we have just been gutted by change. In the face of change our self-esteem is shattered, our goals dissolved and our courage depleted – how could we possibly make the right choice?
I heard it said that we do not get self-confidence from achieving our goals but from overcoming our fears. If this is true, then what better way to rise up in life than to face change head on? I know it isn’t easy, we love the false sense of security we get from the weather man, our daily horoscopes, the fortune teller; the promises made by loved ones etc. Many of you have faced trials this year, and have had to make difficult decisions in moments of perceived weakness. Many of you are going through hard times right now and are bantering with the umpteen choices available to you. Some of you are happy in your comfortable, predictable safe lives and you are yet to experience the walls caving in.
This weekend I would like you to think of change as an opportunity - an opportunity to make decisions that will shape your life, decisions that will take you beyond the realm of the here and now into doing the seemingly impossible! You may not be able to see where you are heading right now, but with this attitude you will certainly enjoy each and every step you make.
As always I welcome your comments
Regret: To feel sadness about something or feel a sense of loss and longing for somebody or something that is no longer there
Interactions I had with a certain person made me look inside myself and re-evaluate my own outlook on life as I did some serious introspection of my own. The conversation began on the subject of fear and after much deliberation, I settled on the concept of regret.
“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us”. Alexander Graham Bell
We all have our own cauldrons filled with fear derived from our past, our imaginations, others failings and mistakes and we all think twice before venturing down the perceived same path. Let’s call these mind-sets ‘maps’. We plotted these maps when we were at those particular points in our lives. What we all fail to remember is that life is forever changing, mutating and flowing, but do we update those maps with all the new information that is at our fingertips right now? Are we still using the old map to plot our futures? Have we not all experienced journeys over mountains and through valleys in our walk through life? Shouldn’t we re-evaluate how much we have overcome, how much we have grown and learned and give ourselves far more credit than we do – a huge pat on the back, so to speak? Should we not all be updating our maps with the information we have today? We pull back; we hide behind facades in order to protect ourselves from hurt and disappointments! Why do we allow ourselves to shut out the world…. Are we basing our outlook and perceptions on outdated maps?
But what if life presents us with a situation or opportunity and we don’t seize it with both hands just because we are living in fear? I believe (and you have every right to disagree with me here) that the lessons we need to learn will keep knocking until we open that door, let down our guard and graciously invite the teacher in to hear what she has to say! If we don’t seize the opportunity perhaps we will regret it for the rest of our lives. The ‘I should have’ the ‘if only’ and the ‘what if I’ questions will always remain unanswered. However, if we take the chance, jump off the cliff at least we can say without regret - ‘I did it! I experienced the moment and I'm glad I did’ – whatever the eventual outcome might be. Because if we don’t are we not robbing ourselves of potential joy, happiness, peace, growth and life experience? Will you regret the chance you had but never took? Will you look regretfully upon the closed door because you did not see the one which was open for you to walk through?
This weekend I wish for you to seize the opportunity, open that door wide, look beyond your fears and see the wonderful world that is on the other side of your secret garden. I'm not saying it will be an easy thing for you do – it takes courage to quell the fears that you have carried with you for so long. This I do promise you though, you shall not regret it in the least
What is in a name? A quintessential question for you to find the answer this weekend. Who are you? I think man has an unquenchable thirst to belong, to identify with something, to stand for a belief or value. He believes he is the sum of his experiences, passion, memories and dreams. Who are you, by what name do you go by – or what label to put on yourself?
Name: A word, term or phrase by which somebody is known and distinguished from other people or things. The reputation or standing of somebody or something.
All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself. ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"
In order to answer this one question, I include a few basic questions to help you decide who you are. Are you just a name or so much more? Do you identify with the name you have been given? My name is Judy and it means ‘worthy to be praised’. I can honestly say that when I was younger I didn’t identify with it at all, but then I thought about the effort my parents put into choosing that name for me, and I slowly decided to live up to that name. I chose my actions far more carefully; I tried to make a point of doing something good each day to make a difference in another person’s life. I would not say that I have lived up to my name yet, but I strive to be better every day in every way. What does your name mean? Do you identify with your name; do you think it defines who you are?
What role do you play in your life – you may be a mother, boss, teacher, counsellor or friend at any given time and yet be you! Is that not absolutely wonderful? People are chameleons all the time. We all have a personal façade that we want to show the outside world. What does not change however, is your inner core, the root of your character. I have a series of questions for you this weekend and I would like you answer honestly and openly. Think of it as a chance to get to know yourself better.
Do you feel inadequate in any area of your life? We all feel the pinch of not living up to an expectation. Is it because of what others have said to you and you believing them? If you answered no to the first one, do know your limitations and fortes? Do your values change when you are in different situations? Do you allow situations to influence your moods to a large degree? Do you spend most of your time doing things for other people? Must you have friends or people around you most of the time? Are you afraid to be alone with yourself? Are you doing what you enjoy in your life? Are you settling for less, because you are too afraid of the outcome if you chose differently? Have you ever taken a risk, doubting your ability to cope? Do know who you are? I dare you to find out…….. I leave you with another quote:
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ~Oscar Wilde,
Laughter: happiness or fun expressed by laughing, something funny or enjoyable, a time of great fun and enjoyment causing laughter.
We all know the trappings of a successful career; the pressures of life, but surely one should take the time to fill our lives with positivity, laughter and fun?
Then when you get to a weekend, you fill our time up with fixing things around the house, visiting people we don’t even like, get drunk and wake with a terrible headache that has you laying prostrate in bed the next day, staring fixedly at a TV screen all weekend and you end up wondering whether the sun came up or not - SILLY isn’t it?
“You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stopped laughing.”Tim Harris
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I suggest that you try to find some joy and pleasure in each day. The laugh-lines will begin to show on your face but at least you can tell everyone you enjoyed your life!
Take some time this weekend to:
Be with people that build you up, not break you down. Don’t associate with those who don’t benefit your well being. (In turn be a good friend, building others up too - what goes around comes around!)
Experience and share in the children whose lives you are moulding, to teach them good values and skills
Sharing ideas and philosophies of how to change things for the better
Taking a good look at your career - are you doing something you LIKE doing, if not could you make a change for the better (since you spend so much time at work, you should spend it doing something you like)
Watching a comedy! Laughter increases serotonin levels in the body, and serotonin has a natural calming effect.
Go for a walk down your road, and look at the trees and the sky. When was the last time you did window-shopping?
Writing down all the things you LIKE and ENJOY about your life right now - NO DON’T INCLUDE THE BAD STUFF!!!
Doing something that you thought you were too old to do - like run in the rain / climb a telephone pole / dye your hair green - whatever!
Writing down all the things that you got into trouble for at school or at home when you were young - there will be many memories that will have you giggling in no time. As always I welcome your comments.