Tag Archives: intention

The Pep Talk

When everything seems to be going wrong it’s easy to become despondent.  Defeated.  Overwhelmed.  The pandemic hasn’t helped anything and when the very air we breathe has felt hostile and threatening it’s no wonder many of us are struggling.

To add insult to injury, having poddled along in my menopause journey for a good 7 years now and prided myself on doing OK emotionally for the most part, the past 2 months everything has turned to crap and I have become a blubbering wreck.  Nearly all-of-the-time.  And the times I’m not crying I want to wreak vengeance on anyone who crosses my path, preferably by causing them intense bodily harm.  Neither is good for my mental health.

beating shit

So, having allowed myself to wallow for several weeks which we all need to do now and again I realize it’s time now to get up off the floor because it’s not good for my soul to feel this miserable.  I can’t do much about my hormones, so I have to let the guilt of being a raving loonatic go and just be forgiving and understanding of myself even if others aren’t, but I can do something about the rest.  And this is how I do it.  It might not be your way, but it works for me.

1. Happiness is a choice

Twenty years ago, if someone had said that me I swear I would have punched them in the face.  There are times in life where it is impossible to be happy and if you are currently in that place I send you love and hugs.  You can’t be happy in grief, poverty, turmoil, fear, intense suffering or huge loss and no-one would expect it.  If that’s where you are now, simply be kind to yourself.

For me, however, I thankfully live in a space where happiness is a choice.  The question is……………what makes me happy?  Which is a post for another day.

2. Count your blessings

I’ve been struggling to keep up with housework and meals recently, due to feeling ridiculously tired, and it’s got on top of me.  However, 15 years ago I couldn’t even clean my teeth and would have sold a kidney to be able to cook anything.  The fact I can scrub my toilet, hoover my lounge carpet, or change my own bed is nothing short of a miracle and I need to focus more on how lucky I am that I am able to self care at all.  The majority of my M.E. friends from 25 years ago are still severely affected and I should never, ever forget my privilege at being able to function.

3.  Remember the law of physics

I am not religious, but I am spiritual and do believe that this existence is not all there is.  Too many “coincidences” have happened in my life for me to not believe in miracles (for want of a less biblical term) and I truly believe our souls are made of energy which never dies.

I have gone round this year grumpy, whiny, angry, confrontational, judgemental………….and the universe has responded in kind.  I have been on the receiving end of anger, judgement, resentment and negativity and it’s no wonder.  The law of physics states:

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.” 

In other words, what you give you receive and I need to switch the energy back to abundant, loving, kindness.  It’s not easy when you’re a raging hormonal psychopath but I’m trying and I can’t ask more of myself than that.

4. The Universe has my back (to steal a phrase 😉)

The Universe knows my soul’s purpose and the Universe knows what my soul needs.  Things happen as and when they are supposed to, and in the meantime I just have to keep the faith.

When the bungalow fell through in February it felt like the end of the world.  But it turned out to be a HUGE blessing in disguise, because 3 weeks later we were in lockdown and living in a one room annexe with no kitchen or proper bathroom, on my own in a village where I knew no-one for months on end, would have been a total nightmare.  That the house didn’t go ahead after lockdown ended just proves it wasn’t meant to be for me and the person whose home it has become obviously needed it more than I did.

I do believe we receive signs which give us guidance and point us in the right direction.  Whether we choose to believe them, or just brush them off as ‘coincidence’, is up to us.  This week I’ve asked the Universe to give me a sign on the house situation and will let you know if I receive it.  If I don’t, that too is a sign – that I’m not moving this year and will have to be patient a bit longer.

Update: Less than 30 minutes after writing this I received the sign I’d asked for on my walk with Bertie yesterday afternoon.  I now excitedly wait to see which house is going to become my next home 😊.

5. Offer it up

Sometimes, despite my best efforts, life gets on top of me.  I can’t raise myself up no matter how hard I try and life seems utterly overwhelming.  It’s then I admit that I can’t do this on my own, and offer up my burdens to the Universe.  It’s amazing how freeing that is and I invariably feel lighter.

6. Live with intention

IF YOU WERE GIVEN A WEEK TO LIVE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I ask myself this question a lot.  And while we can’t go through life ignoring the dirty dishes, questioning what we truly want and what truly makes us happy and then striving for that every day can only lead to a joyful life.

7. Live with integrity

Which is my guiding principle and a must for my soul to be at peace.

However, I forgot that this weekend.  All my neighbours have been torturing me with their various noise for months and showing me no consideration whatsoever.  So to get back at them I hoovered my car at 9am on Sunday morning with the radio blaring at full volume.  But it didn’t make me feel good.  Quite the opposite.  It’s not who I am.  I’m not vindictive in any way and am always very considerate of other people’s feelings and spaces.  I need to stay true to myself, regardless of the provocations which come my way.

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

Having said that, this doesn’t mean I lie down like a doormat and let other people walk all over me.  Living with integrity also means setting boundaries and expectations for others’ treatment of you, which is why it was important for me to let my ‘friends’ go last week, as neither of them had my best interests at heart.

integrity

8. Know your purpose

I am by nature an open book.  I share my life easily, even the bad bits that most people want to keep hidden.  I believe that part of the reason for the many negative experiences I’ve encountered is so that I can share these with others so they feel less alone and can take strength from the fact that I have not only survived but thrived.

I am also a bit bolshy.  I remember a friend saying to me once “for someone who hates confrontation you seem to encounter it a LOT” and that’s because I will not allow behaviour which negatively affects me or others to go unchallenged.  I will stand up for my rights and for what is fair.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I can always sleep at night knowing I tried my best.

I do strive every day to be authentically me.  I am by no means perfect, and am always a work in progress, but to quote Maya Angelou:

maya angelou

9. Miracles happen every day

My chances of any kind of recovery from M.E. were 7% and my chances of spontaneous recovery from severe M.E. were zero.   Yet here I am.

In 2008 I had a car crash.  My car flipped twice at speed and was so badly damaged it was written off.  I walked away without a scratch.

In 2011 I went to small, local, rural kennels to choose a rescue dog for adoption.  What are the chances I would find a dog with the same name as my Dad and who was born on my Nanna’s birthday?  The signs couldn’t have been clearer if they’d been written in 6ft neon letters.  And if it weren’t for adopting Bertie I would never have become a photographer.  Speaking of which…..

I live in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  I am chronically ill and spend a minimum of 17 hours each day in bed, alone and invisible.  At the age of 45 I didn’t even own a camera let alone know anything about photography.  Yet in the past year I have won my 10th international gold medal, was exhibited in London, been on the cover of a leading American photography magazine and won a global competition beating photographers from 90 countries across 5 continents without barely leaving my house.  Photography feeds my soul and the Universe has my soul’s back.  Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intention

“Intention” – implies having a goal or determination to achieve something.

The older I get the more I live my life with intent.  I don’t just wander aimlessly through the days, doing the laundry, walking the dog, doing my parents’ shopping.  Life is too precious for that.  It’s too precious for me to be bored, or scared, or angry although there are times when I am all of these things (well, actually, not so much bored cos I’m too busy!).  But when you live with intention, with purpose, you realize very quickly that being bored, frustrated or angry isn’t providing you with the life you want or need and it’s amazing how knowing that changes your behaviour or viewpoint.

When I write blog posts I think about the intention of my words.  Am I just venting (which is allowed and often needed!)?  Am I trying to be informative?  Am I standing up for my principles?  Am I sharing a life lesson so that others may hopefully benefit or empathize or not feel so alone?  Am I being deliberately hurtful (and, yes, I sometimes am) and what is my purpose for hurting the other person – what do I hope to achieve by it?

I’m on social media, but I only ever comment on other people’s posts to say something positive.  If they have a viewpoint which is different to mine they are entitled to it, even my cousin who belongs to the British National Party and whose views I find utterly disgusting.  If I were to disagree with him my intention would be to change his viewpoint and substitute it with mine.  People become members of the BNP or KKK for very complex, deep-rooted and fearful reasons and me saying “you’re morally wrong and I’m morally right” isn’t going to make them any less fearful.  I know he is otherwise a decent, hard working human being and a much loved Husband, Dad and new Grand-dad, so in his mind there must be very valid reasons for his extremist views.  Maybe I’d do better to listen to those reasons instead of judging them.

I’m really struggling with the Trump situation at the moment.  I find his policies, for the most part, repugnant but at the same time he is a democratically elected President.  American citizens knew exactly who and what they were voting for and did it anyway, so I am torn between respecting their choice and my own opposing views.  Both women and black people voted for him in their tens of thousands, despite his misogynistic and racist views, so they must have felt a compelling need to do so.  If I were to protest in the street what would my intention be?  To oust him from office, thereby destroying the democratic process?  To get him to change his policies, even though his policies were the reason he was elected?  To impose my view over that of millions of other people because I don’t agree with them?  Or simply to have my say so that the world knows I’m unhappy.

France has been treating its immigrant population at Calais appallingly for years and years, not providing shelter, medical treatment, or caring if these people live or die.  They were the first country to impose a ban on the Burka, which has now been followed by Austria, thereby making people’s religious freedoms illegal.  There is a worrying rise of fascism in Europe yet some Brits (particularly Scotland) are fighting tooth and nail to remain part of the EU and trade with France, while castigating America for their choices.  It makes no sense to me that people are outing Trump as a vile leader, when Hollande has actively threatened to “punish” Britain for leaving the EU which would mean hurting thousands of old people, sick people, children, babies and everyone else in the UK via trade and financial sanctions merely for choosing to leave his gang – apparently some Brits think treating immigrants appallingly and threatening harm to innocent citizens is OK by some leaders just not by others.

Much of the anti-Trump sentiment in the UK is mired in the anti-Brexit sentiment – both are, on the surface, about immigration but are really much much deeper.  It’s fine for someone living in London, who as a collective city voted to Remain in the EU, to call all Brexiteers racist because the Capital is rich, with excellent telecommunications, roads, infrastructure and low unemployment.  I wonder how these same people would feel if they lived in the north, with its boarded up houses, high unemployment, lack of rail network, appalling roads and terrible isolating internet access?  How would you feel then knowing that 100 immigrants were being sent to your city when growth is going backwards and resources are non-existent?  Immigration isn’t about not wanting “foreigners” in your country.  It’s about losing everything you’ve ever known – your livelihood shared with your Dad and your Dad’s Dad; your home; your community and your working men’s club where you met all your mates on a Friday night for a pint being replaced by a Mosque.  The arrogance with which people make assumptions about other people’s views astounds me, when they haven’t tried for a second to walk in the other person’s shoes.  How can a career woman in Washington know what it’s like to be male and unemployed in Illinois?

So should we never speak out?  Should we not give our views?  Protest against Trump?  Have I just not “woken up” to my world?  I guess it all depends on my intention for speaking out or protesting.  What do I hope to achieve?  Would I be having my voice heard at the expense of millions of other people whose lives are different to mine and who share different concerns to me?  I don’t know.  I’m not arrogant enough to assume I have any answers.

All I can do is live my own life with intent.  Respecting other people’s lives, values and views, even if they differ to my own.  Looking below the surface and seeing the wider picture.  Keeping a watchful eye on my own words and actions and the intention behind them.  Maybe if we all did that, maybe if we all listened more and judged less, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re currently in.

Criticism

I read Liz Gilbert’s latest Facebook update today and it resonated with me, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on criticism with you.  As I said in my last post, I was bullied terribly as a child and then because it was all I knew (my biological Father was also very critical of me) I married a bully.  Everything I said was wrong and stupid, so I stopped saying anything.  Thank God I had therapy, realized he was the arsehole not me, and divorced him only 12 months after we got married.  I also no longer have any kind of relationship with my Father, why would I?

When you blog you open yourself up to criticism.  There are people out there who seem to love to tell you how wrong you are, how your personality sucks and how you’re talking out of your arse.  I don’t get it.  What do these people think their comments are going to achieve?  That you will suddenly say “yes, you’re right, even though you are a total stranger whom I’ve never met and who doesn’t know me from Adam I’m going to change my personality just for you!” or “yes, you’re right, my latest post sucks so I’ll stop writing until I’ve checked every word is OK with you first”.

On the front page of my blog it states that my posts are based on my own personal thoughts and experiences.  There has been criticism levelled at me that my blog sounds like it’s giving advice.  It’s not.  It’s not my place to tell anyone how to live – I don’t know any of you and even if I did your life is not my business unless you’re self harming or harming someone else.  I can’t start every sentence with “IMHO…..” so I don’t.  I ramble on about the thoughts in my head and if it resonates with some people great.  It’s not, however, going to resonate with everyone because we’re all different.  My own best mate thinks I talk shite some of the time and she’s probably right 😉

Like Liz I tend to avoid the negative.  I don’t watch the news because it’s depressing as all hell.  I’m sick.  I can’t do anything about the Syrian conflict or the refugee crisis so I don’t take the emotion on board.  I don’t, in the ‘real world’ discuss my health – spending hours talking about how sick I am, how much pain I’m in, how little sleep I get or how frustrated I feel at not being able to do the things I want to do won’t change the situation.  Instead I focus on my goals for the day and try to always have as much fun as I can.  It doesn’t always work, particularly when my symptoms are severe, but then I’m only human so on the days I wallow in self pity I’m kind to myself and don’t beat myself up over it.

Critical comments on my blog only serve one purpose – to hurt me.  If I see a critical comment I usually do a blog post shaming the author to get the hurt and anger off my chest, then I let it go and stop them posting anything ever again.  If I’ve written facts which are incorrect I welcome these being corrected, but other than that telling me that you disagree with something I’ve said is fairly pointless.  I’m not going to have an epiphany and suddenly start to think like you, so I’m never sure what the point of telling me we disagree is.

I’ve had a computer now for 18 years and in all that time, as far as I can recall, I have never left a comment anywhere which disagrees with the author.  Obviously I’ve read stuff and thought “what a pile of crap” but what would be the point of saying this out loud?  My energy is so precious I’m not about to waste it.  There are some truly awful writers out there, eg Katie Hopkins, who post the most awful vitriolic garbage.  I don’t read it.  Why would I?  And having read it why would I reply and give it wings?  If no-one read her posts, or commented, or gave her air time she would simply fade into obscurity.  Instead she gets thousands of comments which only serve to give her fuel.

Whenever I write a particularly personal post I literally brace myself for the comments.  I dread turning on my laptop the next day wondering what will have been said about it.  Luckily the majority of the comments I receive are caring, supportive, empathetic and humourous, but there’s usually someone who feels the need to lecture me, tell me where I went wrong, judge me, my family or the situation, or sometimes be outright nasty.  I wonder if they sit and ponder their intention for writing the comment?  What do they hope to achieve?  And what are they hoping my response will be?  If I read the first few words of a comment and realize it’s going to be negative or critical I don’t even read the rest.  As Liz says, I don’t need that in my heart or my head.

I avoid criticism about myself not because I DON’T care what people say about me, but because I DO care. I am sensitive and easily bruised. I know that critical words can hurt me, and I am not in the business of hurting myself on purpose.”  Liz Gilbert