One way to help make the world a better place

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There was a time when I thought the human race wasn’t worth anything. Our world in such a state of disconnection and discord – crimes against humanity, violation of our planet home, and local communities obsessed with ‘success’ at the cost of all else. Corporate greed, personal gratification, governmental corruption, ignorance and neglect at a family and neighbourhood level. Ethics of a gutter rat. Too grim to comprehend a future.

My darkest days were upon me. Mental ill-health ruled my life, and I sank into isolation. Wild creatures were my friends, my only friends – backyard birds, lizards and snakes, frogs and bugs. Any and all of Mother Nature’s animals that would allow me into their space. I all but gave up on people.

Although my love and appreciation of nature has not diminished, my hope for humanity has grown many-fold. Violence against humanity and Earth, on a global scale, if anything, has increased: terrorism, inequity, persecution, greed, materialism. BUT my thought processes and outlook have changed. My perspective is more grown up, more universal, more positive, more charitable. My view is holistic and comes from a place of love instead of a place of fear.

Despite the world’s massive and apparently irreparable woes, I can sense an undercurrent of goodness, of change, of connection that transcends nationality and social standing. There is an energy of universal love spreading through humanity, causing a shift in attitude.

The catalyst for this energy is self-love and self-compassion. Not a love that involves the ego, rather, a self-love that must replace self-loathing for any growth on a soul level to occur. We (you and me, the elderly crippled woman, the business man, the retiree, the janitor, the school teacher, the single parent, the barrister, the troubled youth, the  homeless, the refugees), we can help heal the wold ONLY if we can find the courage or develop the capacity to love ourselves and work on healing our OWN pain, our own past hurt and grief.

When we are able to accept our past ‘stories’ for the necessary and beneficial lessons that they have truly been, we are then able to heal and move forward. As this process begins, we begin to change, we become aware of who we are and why we’ve been where we’ve been, and why we’re here. And then we can not help but live from a place of love that inspires others and triggers a ripple effect of soul growth far and wide.

One seemingly insignificant individual who doesn’t have a spare dollar to give to those less fortunate than  him/herself, can help heal the world simply by living authentically and unashamedly from a place of love. And it is my unwavering belief that this is the REAL giving.

learning to love yourself is the best way to help heal the world

An effort to let life wash over me effortlessly

Waves rolling in slowly

Humans are drawn to water. It’s more than just survival instinct; it seems to be an intrinsic human requirement for self-reflection. Any pleasant natural setting will provide a fitting atmosphere in which to contemplate life and self, but for me, the sound or view of water is the ultimate place for thought and introspection.

I love being immersed in water, cool and refreshing, but I can also appreciate the value and pleasure in simply watching the water. The process of ebb and flow of the waves, or various pace of the journey of a waterway is endlessly beautiful to my senses, anywhere, anytime.

On the beach, the waves roll in with gusto, lose momentum, and spread over the sand melding with whatever is in its path, offering no resistance to obstacles, trickling backwards to blend with the water around it, and continuing to BE.

That’s what I’m aiming for. That is my goal: to emulate the harmony, wisdom, and acceptance of NATURE BEING NATURE.

When my world is rocked, to recognise that it’s all part of my journey, to let it happen, to let it teach me, to let it strengthen me, and then to let it go – that is the way to grow, to change, and to ultimately lead me and those around me to a better place.

I’ve still got a lot to learn about letting life flow over me like water. Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business – and if people treat me poorly, I am well aware that it shows their character rather than mine. I’m doing well with that bit. I get it. But I can’t always disregard this, and at times I even begin to doubt my choices.

It takes incredible inner work to learn to let it all flow over me spontaneously. Whilst ever this flow does not come naturally, whilst ever I suffer other people disrespecting my space and choices, I am digging further into the rut I find myself in.

My progress is slow, but positive. Writing helps me to evaluate situations and to process information. It is my hope that my writing also helps others. Meanwhile, I will absorb the beauty and wonderment of the water’s effortless journey.

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Touching the life of a stranger

We all touch the lives of strangers, whether we do so deliberately or not, simply by being social creatures. A genuine smile and passing greeting might well be the highlight of that one person’s day. We will never know.

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Many years ago, at a time when I was struggling to keep my life together, I found the inner strength to make a positive contribution to one stranger’s life.

While walking through a carpark, I heard the sound of a person sobbing. Initially, I walked past the sound, too afraid of my own inability to cope with anything other than what constituted my own survival, to contemplate offering assistance. But I backtracked, and found a young intellectually impaired man sitting on an outdoor seat, crying into his hands. An older man, his friend? or carer? was trying to console his charge, to no avail.

I sat next to the young man and casually put my arm around his shoulders. He dropped his head to my shoulder, and sobbed. No words from any of us. The sobbing subsided, and he got up, turning to his male companion. They walked inside the Senior Citizens’ building to whatever function was underway.

That’s when I dissolved into tears. I strode off as swift as I could, desperate to avoid speaking to anyone.

I walked home alone, and lonely, in disbelief that I had actually managed to do something worthwhile for a stranger. Helping a face that I would never see again, stayed with me, and inspired me.

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‘Need’ is not ‘love’

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The true meaning of ‘love’ is somewhat of a mystery, and probably always will be. Perhaps it’s more productive at times to identify what ‘love’ is NOT, rather than what it IS.

‘Need’ is not ‘love’ in an adult relationship. If your spouse or lover or significant other says to you “I need you” or “I can’t live without you” or “you are my life”, this is NOT an act of love. It is dependency, an unloving act. If these statements occur regularly, this is blatant manipulation. These proclamations are used in order to threaten or control you (to hold you to ransom, so to speak). This constitutes ‘abuse’. ‘Need’ is taking, and ‘love’ is giving – opposites.

Dependency in this unhealthy form is not the same as casual feelings o f need, which we all have, and which are normal. For the psychologically healthy individual, emotional dependency on another person does not dominate his/her life or thoughts. A person who is dependent on the love of another individual, when this mutual love is the most important single requirement of  his/her leading a happy satisfying life, this is unhealthy and damaging for both partners.

The dependent person generally has issues with addiction, be it substance addiction like drugs or alcohol, distraction addictions like gambling or sex, or self-serving emotional addiction to his/her pain or ‘stories’. Or, he/she has such a low opinion of him/herself, that he/she needs someone else to validate them and fill the hole that they created.

The dependent individual might not consciously be aware that they have adopted a mindset of victimhood and addiction, but it will be obvious to all those who spend regular time with them. This is not to say that the dependent person  is not otherwise a kind and supportive person – a needy person can be loving in many other ways, generous with time and effort, and genuinely caring. But their dependence on their ‘loved-one’ will be destructive above all else.

However strongly a dependent person  professes their love to their ‘love object’, dependency is NOT love, and is not an act of love.

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Dependency aims to take rather than give. It aims to control another human being. Dependency destroys potentially rewarding and potentially lasting relationships very quickly. A couple might believe they’ve found a beautiful love, but if one of the partners is dependent, the beautiful love will be very brief.

A dependent person will forever be unhappy and disappointed because he/she will feel continually let down. The relationship will cease to flourish soon after it begins. Unless the dependent person opens his/her mind and accepts assistance from his/her more aware partner, or willingly undertakes long-term psychotherapy, there is little chance the relationship will survive in any form that is satisfactory to either partner.

Dependency or neediness, is NOT love. Watch for the signs, and attempt to establish a mutually equitable communication in order to resolve the situation and reap the benefits of lasting love.

Learn who you are. Awareness is gained through getting to know your self. When you are brave enough to know who you are, life delivers bountiful rewards.

Living from a place of fear

Five year-old me stood at t he rusty wire gate with my mother. Dark clouds prowled all around. My uncle asked me if I’d like to have an over-night visit with him. Didn’t these people who loved me see the black rain clouds bearing down? Another glance at t he threatening sky, and a timid shake of my head. What if it rains so much that the water rises and makes the river crossing on the country road dangerous? What then?

My mother waved her brother off and t he evening storm came.

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FEAR. Where did it come from? My mother cared for me, and she loved me. Why didn’t I trust the people who loved me, and why did a five year-old child make decisions based on fear?

A child has a limited perception of the events and non-events that make up his or her life and is shaped by that perception.

It would be nearly five decades until the penny dropped for me. Fear became my constant companion as I grew, allowing imagined future events to dominate my thoughts. Living from a  place of fear stifles creativity and achievement, while the opposite (living from a place of love), creates limitless possibilities.

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The ego controls ‘fear’. It is the ego’s job to stay safe and  in control at all times, so therefore if the ego is aware that a projected situation could be unsafe, it will push all the right buttons to produce enough fear so that particular situation is avoided. If you’re in a mindset of habitually choosing to fear outcomes (like I was), then there  is very little button-pushing required. playing it safe, making excuses, and placing demands on others, comes natural. Safe and familiar at all costs.

A person who allows their ego to make choices based on fear, will remain unfulfilled. Risk-taking will be at a minimum, change will be avoided, introspection and self-discovery will be totally out of the question.

Ask yourself why you haven’t undertaken some project, career change, move, or relationship issue (or indeed, even accepted love into your life), and the answer is always ‘fear’. Fear of failure (or success), fear of loss or hardship, fear of repercussion or discomfort, fear of change or growth, fear of psychological pain, fear of judgement, disapproval, embarrassment or opposition.

Conquering fear will allow you to thrive, rather than just survive. Everything that you fear is a fictitious future event or feeling, so in short, you are afraid of something that hasn’t yet happened and is not guaranteed. Look at your choices from a different perceptive, a perspective that involves ‘time’. Live one moment at a time; you can not go back in time to alter past decisions or events and their outcomes, and t he future is not yet here. Fear only exists in our thoughts, our thoughts of what might happen in the future. Everything that  happens, happens right now at this moment. So resist imagining the worst that can happen in the future, and live in the moment. The present.

If fear of making a mistake prevents you from moving forward, then you’ll stay stuck without the prospect of improving your life. I remained stuck, numbed by fear of the unknown for decades. When I finally grasped the concept of living in the present moment, I thrived. Good things happened.

I have not totally conquered fear of the future or of outcomes from my decisions, but my thought processes are much more constantly realistic and positive. I am consciously living in the present. This  has not been a quick fix, but living from a place of love instead of a place of fear creates endless possibilities. Living from a place of fear is self-defeating.

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