35) Busy, busy, busy!

Powellite-j08-02d

I seem to go through phases in my life when everything, spiritually speaking, goes very quiet.   At other times I feel that whichever way I turn they are almost shouting out at me, “Wake up – we are here!”.

The problem is that sometimes I have too many activities going on. Before you think, wow, this woman lives life in the fast lane, I’m talking more about catching up on the washing and ironing, sorting out the freezer, balancing the bank account etc, not terrifically exciting.

I feel that recently I have been busy with people, which is wonderful, and I never complain about that, but the weeks just suddenly whizz by and I realise I haven’t been spending the time I feel I need to be moving forward spiritually.

My weekends with Simon are precious and so I tend to keep Saturday and Sunday free for ‘us time’.  I spend a day a week with my twin Tina, then I see friends a couple of afternoons a week.  Since writing this blog I now follow other blogs and can easily lose a couple of hours a day reading them, replying to them, and researching what they have been discussing.

On top of that I have just started to become acquainted with Squidoo, which is another way of publishing information on-line.  Simon’s hobby is photography and he was told about Squidoo a couple of weeks ago, and of course, once he had looked at it he told me I should, so suddenly another few days went A.W.O.L. as I became engrossed in learning all about it.

There are also friends who live dotted around the world who I try to keep in touch with on a fairly regular basis either with emails or phone calls, relatives who live closer who come over for dinner, pets that need attending to, holidays that need researching etc …. the list is endless!

I also have several books on the go.  A friend told me about a book I ‘must’ read which is an alternative way of treating thyroid problems, which I have been battling for years, so that book has joined the other three beside the bed that I am part-way through reading.  Then I have my beloved kindle which I have become hopelessly addicted to.  I see books that I feel I should read, and now, instead of spending a fortune, I can, for a fraction of the price, download them literally within seconds, and ‘bingo’ yet another book to read!

On top of all of this, due to my health problems, I have to take lots of breaks, and if I don’t my body soon decides to enforce longer rest periods, which is unbelievably frustrating when there is so much to do, that in my head at least,  I feel somehow I should be able to fit in.

Well recently I have felt slightly disconnected from spirit.  I haven’t attended any workshops or circles for months and haven’t been along to any demonstrations of mediumship for almost a month (my wonderful weekend away!).  Everytime I have tried to meditate recently I have found myself falling asleep in the chair and waking up with a stiff neck, so that hasn’t had what I would term the desired effect of feeling closer to spirit at all. Spirit though have a way of letting me know they are around, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not quite as subtle as I would like.

If you read one of my earlier posts, 6) Man in the Mirror, you will know that whilst having a shower one day, I happened to see my spiritual guide in the mirror.  Since that time I must admit that at times when I’m going to have a shower I do get just ever so slightly spooked.  Often I am not, and happily go and have a shower without a thought, but at other times I just suddenly feel that I would be much happier if Simon was sitting close by.

On Sunday I went upstairs to have a shower and Simon was sitting downstairs watching t.v.  I felt absolutely fine, not spooked in the slightest, I had put the hot water on, organised my shampoo, conditioner, hair remover etc, and I was just about to get in the shower when I felt aware of  ‘something’.  I can’t say I was really that worried, but thought that some music might be nice to take my mind off any weird feelings.  I bought my portable radio into the bathroom, turned it on and just couldn’t believe my ears when the tune ‘Man in the Mirror’ boomed out!  I think that was quite a coincidence – if there are such things as coincidences – which I gather from a spiritual point of view there are not!  I decided that I would be brave and continued to have my shower, on my own, and really felt that I had overcome one of my fears. Fortunately nothing odd appeared in the mirror that time! Phew!

Last week I went to see my friend Kay.  She has been very unwell with vertigo for several months and has been rarely able to leave her home due to her unrelenting dizziness.  I love to go and visit her as she is very good company, full of interesting stories, and we also share a lot of common experiences from our childhoods.     She has had an awful lot to contend with health wise over the last few years and she always amazes me with her positive approach to life.  She is one of life’s fighters and I have never once heard her complain or make ‘poor me’ comments, she just takes everything in her stride, looks for the best in every situation and most importantly, looks at how she can help others in the same boat as her.  She is one very strong lady!

Well that very morning Kay had been to the doctors for some test results and was told that she was diabetic and that she would need to take medication and change her diet.  As we were sitting talking, I suddenly felt compelled to give her healing.  I should explain that I am not what I would call a healer at all.  There have been a few instances in my life where I have had the same feeling, and always gone along with it, knowing that spirit obviously see a need.  I sat there whilst Kay and I were discussing her new diagnosis, becoming increasingly aware of what I can only describe as an instruction, that I should give her healing.  I ignored the feeling for a few minutes until it became overwhelming and I really had no choice in the matter.  Now, Kay has been ill since last summer, and I hadn’t once felt I should give her healing, so this was quite a new experience for me.  I asked her if she would mind and she said it would be fine.

She was sitting down and I stood behind her and placed my hands on her shoulders.  Within moments my hands felt as if they were fizzing, and they also felt extremely hot.  My whole body became hotter and hotter, even my toes were hot, and I normally have cold feet.  Even though my eyes were closed I could see a bright light, almost like a beam, coming towards me.  I felt that we were both immersed in this wonderful healing ray.  Kay said she could feel the heat across her chest and she too was aware of a light, which she felt was going to her heart.  It was a truly beautiful serene time.  I kept hearing the word opalite, which meant nothing to me.  I tend to ignore anything I hear until I am told it several times, just in case it is my imagination, but I just kept hearing that word.  I have never had much interest in crystals and know nothing about them at all, but did feel that this was something to do with a crystal.

I gradually felt my hands return to normal and the heat left me.  As I sat down I told Kay that I had kept hearing the word opalite.  She didn’t know what it meant either, so we looked it up in a reference book she has about crystals.  I was stunned when I read that it is used to regulate insulin!!! My goodness, I just couldn’t believe it.  I just love it when spirit gives me pertinent information that I would have never known about before, and when I research it, it proves to be totally correct.

I had always considered crystals a little ‘new age’ and never really thought of them as a serious way to heal or balance the body before.  I shall certainly view them with more reverence in future.  Hmmmm …. I feel another book or two that will need reading!

Where will I ever find the time?

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34) It’s Only a Number!

A picture of a birthday cake

I’ve just had a birthday.  Hooray!

The problem is that I can’t get used to being so ‘old’.  Although my body doesn’t exactly feel ‘young’, my head, my mind and my heart does.  I’m like a ‘cut and shut’ where bits of me just don’t fit together quite right.  My body hasn’t felt very young for a number of years now. Due to a chronic illness I always have pain somewhere and the lack of energy is annoying, but I’ve got used to that over time, it’s been with me for nineteen years, so I should have by now!

No, now the problem is that my body is actually ageing.  I’ve noticed the wrinkles deepening and my eyelids kind of folding over, its difficult to describe, but all of my eyelids used to be visible, but now there is extra skin that hangs over them – I’m sure there is a technical name for it – but it’s happened all of a sudden.  My legs have never been my strong point, being knock-kneed how I rejoiced when maxi dresses came back into fashion, but now they too are beginning to look like old lady legs.  As I’ve aged I’m seeing more and more the family genes take over.  Auntie Violet legs – thanks Auntie!

My twin used to be very good at pointing out my short comings, but since her stroke she hasn’t so much and I have been thankful for that.  Last Friday when she came over she was looking intently at my hands.  Now, she doesn’t often say a lot these days so I normally relish a conversation with her, but on Friday she was not having a good day and was more ‘there’ (wherever that is), than ‘here’, so when she started to talk I was really pleased. “You’ve got”, she looked as if she was frustrated trying to talk, “You’ve got” she tried again, “What am I trying to say?”, “I don’t know sis” I replied, as I often do, because she often asks that.  There was another long pause and I always imagine her brain is trying to get into gear, “You’ve got  age spots on your hands” she piped up with a big smile, “Oh” I said, a little shocked, “and your hands” she went on, “your hands”, I waited patiently as she gathered her thoughts once again, “your hands aren’t looking so pretty these days, they look wrinkly”.  Gee, thanks sis!  Well that was certainly worth waiting for!

I hadn’t really looked at her hands before, they are lily white as she has been indoors for almost three years now and she only had one very tiny insignificant age spot.  One of her habits since her stroke is applying hand lotion many many times a day, so I must admit her hands do look very soft.  Maybe it should become one of my habits too. She isn’t capable of doing any housework or washing up either and I’m sure that plays a big role in my wrinkly, aged spots hand syndrome! Bless her!

I think the reason this birthday has hit me harder than all the rest is that it really is the heading towards sixty birthday, I can’t say I’m in my early fifties anymore, I’ve tilted over the edge of fifty five and fifty six does sound so very grown up! I think, for all of us who have gained some weight, we can look in the mirror and think about when we are slim again, there is a hope that one day we may shed the weight and be back to our ‘real’ slim selves.  For me too, there is always the hope that one day I am going to wake up well, that my illness will have scuttled off into the night, never to darken my door again, and I will once again return to the ‘real’ healthy, full of vitality, capable of anything, me.  But, looking in the mirror now, seeing my droopy eyelids and, thanks to Tina, being aware of my aged hands, there is no hope that one day the droops will disappear and the wrinkles will all smooth out.  I’m not even going to consider discussing the other, more covered up, bits of me, that are patently struggling with age.  A girl (or maybe I should at this age say woman) does have to keep some dignity! No, this is it.  It really is the beginning of me looking old.

I was chatting to my sister-in-law Wendy just before my birthday.  Wendy is sixteen years younger than me (eek, I’m ‘just’ old enough to be her mother!), she is extremely pretty, very petite and super fit.  She goes to the gym most days and also leads a very busy life as a hairdresser, a Mum to my two beautiful neices and has a very active social life.  She is also, absolutely lovely and great fun to be with.  As the years have gone by and we have got to know each other better we enjoy an easy relationship and chat away and discuss anything and everything.  I’m so lucky to have her as my sis-in-law.  She was asking me how old I was going to be and when I told her she said it is just a number. I laughed, yes, I agreed, but said it was a bloomin’ big number!

This week there was the shocking news of the death of Whitney Houston and it really got me thinking.  She had died when she was only forty eight years old.  I met Simon when I was that age, and how I would have hated to have missed the wonderful time we have shared together.  I have met so many wonderful new people since moving to Hampshire when I was forty eight.  For me it was an age when my life turned around, when I had the courage to stand up and be me, to leave an old life and start afresh.   I didn’t have Whitneys fame, her talent, her money or her looks, but I did have my own identity, which I sadly feel she was lacking.  How sad that her life ended when my new life had just begun.  I was thinking that Whitney won’t ever be old enough to be complaining about droopy eyelids and how very fortunate I am to have made it to have a big number birthday.

How sad that so many amazingly talented people just can’t cope with their lives and end up relying so heavily on drugs and alcohol to get through.  I wonder how many of them feel lonely, how many question who really likes them for who they are, not what they have or what they can do for them? It must be tough to cope with public adulation when in your heart you are not prepared, when deep down you must know that you are not coping with the success.

I find it strange how many young people say they want to be famous, and yet fame has so many drawbacks, I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be in a position where they can’t even pop out to their local shops without someone taking a snap of them. Where everyone feels they have the right to comment on and often criticise what you wear, who you spend your time with, what you do. What a dreadful way to live your life!

Hopefully Whitney is now beginning a new life in spirit where she will be able to realise how amazingly fortunate she was in so many ways, where she will be able to find some of the joy she had in her life here.  I do hope that her soul will heal and with help she will be able to move forward along her pathway. Maybe in her next incarnation she will again have the voice of an angel, but our society may have moved on and she will not be put on such a pedestal, where from such a great height so many have fallen.  Maybe next time she’ll happily get to the big number birthdays.  Let’s hope so.

29) Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Smiley Face

How easy it is to be a moaning Minnie.   I’m sure we all know someone (or ….. gulp, even ourselves sometimes) who get into moaning mode all too easily.

When I look back, which is far easier than looking forward, I know there have been times in my life when someone has asked ” How are you?” and it’s been all too easy to forget all the positives in my life and have a good old moan.  I honestly believe that there’s nothing wrong with that occasionally, we all go through difficult, challenging, heartbreaking times when I think we should not chastise ourselves for moaning, especially to our closest friends who are trying to help us, but it’s the habit of moaning that I’m writing about today.

I used to have a Father-in-law who could have moaned for England.  Seriously if there was a gold medal in moaning he would have been on the podium each and every day.  No matter what you did or what you said, he’d find something to moan about.  When we were first married we went to visit him in our old car, he complained that we were obviously not working hard enough and should be ashamed at driving an old banger.  A couple of years later we drove up to see him and we had a new car.  I couldn’t believe it when he started moaning that it was obviously alright for us, swanning around like we were above everyone else because we had a new car!  We just couldn’t win.

His wife, my ex-Mother-in-law, was also a pretty good moaner. She was staying with us for a while (too long!) and I remember asking her if she had any preference for lunch, whether she would like a hot cooked meal, or a light cold lunch.  She said she didn’t mind.  I even asked her if she was sure and she said yes, anything would be fine.  I was immensely busy at work so prepared a salad with some homemade bread.  She scowled as I put the meal on the table.  “I would have preferred a hot meal”  she moaned.  I can honestly say that in the twenty-six years I knew her, it was a very rare event that she made a happy, upbeat or positive comment about anything. They were obviously well matched.  In fact, thinking about, I can’t think of one instance where she was genuinely pleased with her lot.  How very sad.

I believe that this personality trait actually ages you.  When I first met my ex in-laws, when I was in my early twenties, I assumed that they had been old parents when my ex-husband was born.  Their whole house felt grey and dowdy.  Wrongly, I presumed that they were ancient, which to me at the time was anyone past sixty (how our perspective changes as we head toward the higher ‘tens’ ourselves).  In reality they were exactly the same age as my parents, and had in fact been extremely young parents.  You just would never have believed it had you met them.  The difference between them and my parents was that mine had the wonderful knack of finding the humour in everything, including themselves, they never took life too seriously.  Their houses were always colourful and full of life – they were not what I would call ‘grey’ people!

Dad had nicknames for everyone, my sister was Prunella Pimple Face and I was Fish Face Charlie – we never knew why – we just were!  He had a wonderful sense of timing where humour was concerned, saying just the right word at the right time.  Very dry and extremely observant, he did catch a few people off guard at times, which made it all the funnier! He went through some incredibly traumatic times in his life, both during his childhood, during his time in the war and in latter years, due to his health.  Amazingly though, through everything, my Dad always found something positive to say about every event in his life.

He had to undergo life threatening surgery when I was in my early teens.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to undergo surgery to remove one of his lungs.  This was in the late 1960’s and the medical treatments at that time weren’t as advanced as they are now, so it was very dangerous surgery at the time.  Dad had undergone a routine medical for the organisation he worked for and much to his horror a large shadow on his lung showed up on his chest X-ray.  He was taken into Harefield hospital and underwent an exploratory operation and they confirmed to Mum that he had lung cancer.  They gave her the choice whether to operate and possibly prolong his life by a matter of months, or to just leave it and let nature take it’s course.  Mum, after much consideration and heart searching, chose the operation.  Thank God she did, as when they operated they found that Dad didn’t have lung cancer after all.  He had an unusual form of tuberculosis in a cyst in his lung.  He was in hospital for quite a long time on a large ward. Everyone commented on how he was such a lively spirit and how he lifted the atmosphere.  Within a couple of days of the surgery he was cracking jokes, mainly about himself, and had everyone in stitches (pardon the pun).  I remember the sister on the ward saying that she would miss him so much when he went home because he had made their lives so much more enjoyable and how his warmth and humour had affected everyone so positively.  I was so proud of my Dad.

Mum too had difficult times but without fail she always managed to find something positive to say.  She used to quote Thumper from the film Bambi – “if you can’t say something nice don’t say nothin’ at all” , which is dreadfully difficult to adhere to at times (see above!), but she really did try to live by this, apart from when she and Dad were arguing, and then all their rules went out the window!

When Mum was busy working, more than full-time at times, she and Dad agreed to employ “a lady who does”, in other words, a cleaner.  I think it was Dad’s way of avoiding helping with the housework!  They employed a woman who left notes for Mum every time she left the house.  She complained that the vacuum cleaner wasn’t working properly, or that the polish Mum used wasn’t the right one, or that the broom wasn’t good enough, the house was too hot, the house was too cold etc.  The list was endless.  Dad called her “Mrs Moan-a-lot”, not to her face of course, but within the family.  The awful problem was that the name stuck and we could never remember her real name, which was embarrassing at times!

Mum and Dad had real highs and lows financially throughout their marriage.  Usually the highs where when they were both working for large companies and the lows were sometimes when Dad would start a new business and things didn’t always go so well.  They both took every opportunity they were ever given, even emigrating to Chicago in their mid-forties.  They sold their house and gave away everything they owned and off they went with huge smiles to start their new life.  Try as they could, they both hated living there!  They came back a year later and in that short time the property market had gone wild in England.  Neither of them had employment and their money, having been exchanged into dollars and back again, was nowhere near enough to buy a house again.  They moved into a bed sit and looked upon it as an adventure, both of them optimistic that something would ‘turn up’.

Much to everyone’s amazement, but no surprise to them, a large flat came up for rent in the town they both loved, Twickenham.  They had enough to put down the deposit and moved in to the two top floors of a large Victorian house.  Within a short time they both managed to find work they enjoyed within a short distance of their new home.  Two years later the landlord offered to rent them the ground floor flat as well and they jumped at it.  He was fine about them restoring the two flats back into one very beautiful large house.  Another year on and the landlord suddenly needed to liquidate his assets and offered Mum and Dad the whole house at a crazily low knock down price.  Of course they couldn’t refuse.  They bought the house, did a little work on it, and sold it six months later for a massive profit, putting them in a stronger position than when they had gone to America.  Mum took great delight in telling everyone that she had known everything would be alright.  Through all the ups and downs I never once heard them complain.  Dad used to say it was better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.  Mum being more of a romantic would quote, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  Looking back I realise how amazingly lucky I was to have such a pair of positive optimistic parents, which at the time I suppose I assumed everyone had.

Strangely I feel like my journey through life has always shown me two sides of everything.  I do believe that my parents were a couple of old souls, who made light of their problems and put a positive spin on their difficulties and challenges.  I wonder if my ex-in laws were younger souls.  In reality, they had very little to complain about it, but moaned about inconsequential things most of the time. My ex-in laws were pessimists about everything and saw life as a dull routine to be gotten through, whereas my parents were invariably optimistic and saw life as exciting  and enlightening.  How fortunate I was to have chosen them. I can appreciate why I feel that life is full of lessons because that is exactly what Mum and Dad taught me, and importantly, they taught me to ignore the dull routine and always look on the bright side of life!

28) Great Expectations

English: New Year fireworks at the London Eye

Will your world change after midnight?

Every New Year’s Eve there is a global feeling of anticipation that changes are afoot.  No matter where you are, who you are with or what you are doing, it is almost impossible to miss the  dawning of the new year.  All around the world there are massive celebrations, huge displays of fireworks, parties arranged and a feeling of camaraderie that only exists for maybe even just a few minutes either side of midnight.  If you are in a large city or even at a local event, complete strangers may well hug and kiss and you and wish you a happy new year.

And then, the morning arrives, and all is back to normal.  What happened to the optimism of the night before? Where has the camaraderie gone?  Is there any perceivable change in your life from yesterday?

No other species on our planet celebrates New Year.  I’ve never seen sheep dancing in a field at midnight! So why do we feel the need to make such a big deal out of a change of year in our calendars? Is it that we have an intrinsic need to focus on the possibility of change for good?  Is it that we are dissatisfied with our lives and want a better future?  Why is there such a negative spin in our news through most of the year, and maybe just a glimmer of positivity on New Year’s Eve?  Why do we look forward to the New Year rather than spend time celebrating the year we have just had?    How many people will look back at the year that is coming to a close and be thankful for the experiences they have enjoyed, the spiritual advances they have made, the new friendships formed, the new lives that have begun, the understanding and compassion that has been shown to them, or they have  shown to others? It always feels to me that it’s all about looking forward to the new and getting rid of the past.  What a shame.

I just read a wonderful blog written by a woman who has been making huge changes to her life.  About accepting that she didn’t have to be superwoman after all, that she can feel free to follow her dreams. I felt that this arrived in my inbox at just the right time to be included in this end of year posting.  She importantly mentioned the notion of ‘having it all’ and as I commented on her post, I thought long and hard about that well used phrase. Why can’t we have it all, I wondered?  But, most importantly, we first have to qualify what having it all truly means to each of us individually. It will be different for each and every one of us.  None of us have to adhere to the classic examples portrayed in the media, to the general consensus, to society’s view of what this phrase means.  No, we can take it and shape it to suit us.

My interpretation of  having it all had to change drastically when I became chronically ill, when my life had no option but to become smaller.  Suddenly, having it all had to alter to fit in with my physical capabilities.  My expectations had to change. It took a long time to adjust, but now I can say I truly feel fulfilled,  feel loved, respected and accepted.  I am true to my beliefs,  to my spiritual goals,  to my souls desires.  That to me is having it all.  I don’t try to be something I’m not and hope that I don’t expect that of others. My days of trying to be superwoman are long gone!

Instead of only focussing on what the New Year may bring to our lives,  just on New Year’s Eve, why not think of every new day as the dawning of a new year.  Feel the optimism and the camaraderie with others throughout the year. Consider what we, those we love and those who are in need, really require, and try to work towards that.  When we go to sleep at night remember to thank spirit for the positives we can take from the day and ask what our expectations and intentions should be for tomorrow.  Look at our lives and learn from our experiences. Feel if we have managed, in our own way,  to have it all, even just for that one day. Sense if we have inspired others and if we have been at all instrumental in them finding fulfilment in their lives.

Many people spend much time in thought and then make long lists of resolutions for the new year.  Maybe they find that the list will motivate them to bring about change in their lives.  Maybe their resolution list is in fact more of a wish list. How many of us have written this list and targeted massive changes that are due to take place from 1st January only to give up within a matter of days or even a couple of weeks?  The resolutions soon become forgotten.

So, for this change of year, as the clock passes midnight, and 2011 becomes 2012, I am not going to make a resolution.  I am instead going to make a promise to spirit.  I will promise to treat each day as a new dawn knowing it has the spiritual potential for the greatest of expectations.

23) Learning to say yes!

"Thumbs up" picture, mostly uploaded...

All too often we hear the phrase “it’s just so tough learning to say no”.  Granted, it is one of the hardest lessons to learn, but what we often overlook is the other, and in my mind, equally difficult lesson, which is learning to say yes.  Not a tentative maybe, or not now, or possibly, but a positive, resounding, unequivocal, confident, yes!

How many times in our lives do we really want to try a new experience, but something in us makes us hold back?  Often it might be fear of failure, or, and this can be true also – it might actually be fear of succeeding.  We can all stay in the same place, in the same town, with the same friends or in the same job.  Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong in any of that, but it is a dreadful shame if you choose not to move or change your employment or the people in your life, because you are afraid of success!  Afraid of change. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  But look around you and see how many people you know who prefer to live a ‘safe’ life doing what they have always done, going where they have always been, eating what they have always eaten.  Then, they say that their life is dull or that they feel they missed opportunities. There are lots of them about.

I was on a wonderful week-long spiritual course run by Accolade Academy of psychic and mediumstic studies, in Margam, Wales.  Two of our course tutors, Debbie and Paul Rees, welcomed us all to the week with an uplifting and inspiring talk.  The students were split into two groups and I was with Debbie.  She asked us what we all hoped to achieve in the week and most of the responses were fairly standard for this type of course:  to strengthen our links with spirit, to learn to distinguish between our thoughts and those of spirit, and the answer that came up again and again,  to feel confident in our demonstration of spiritual communication.  She told us that the week was ours, it was only us who could push ourselves to the limit, it was only us who could choose how much to move ourselves forward.  It was only through practise, practise and more practise that we would feel confident. She rightly said that she couldn’t do the work for us, she could only facilitate our choices. She said it would be so sad if we went home wishing we had tried harder, wishing we had taken risks.  She said it was the perfect environment to test your skills, without fear of failure.

When she had finished talking she asked who of us, right there and then, would like to stand up and actually give a demonstration of our mediumship. I put my hand up. I was so surprised, because when I looked around I was the only one!  Hadn’t anyone else taken on board what she said? Someone always has to go first, but why was it me?  Was everyone else afraid of saying yes?

When you work with spirit you have to be able to say yes to them.  It would be all too easy to ignore them and just carry on with your earthly life.  But, the moment you say yes, they are very definitely there with you.  They know that you have acknowledged them and that you are willing to work with them. The very first time you tell someone that you have a spirit with you who wants to communicate, you have said yes, you will assist them.

The first time you do anything in your life you have in effect said yes.  Even at the very beginning of your life you are actually saying, yes, you will try eating solid foods. Imagine if you had said no, you would still only be drinking milk! When we are young and learning all about the world we say yes without even thinking about it. We say yes when new people come into our lives in the playground and want to be our friend. Yes, I will learn to skip, yes, I will learn to paint, yes, I will try peanut butter in my sandwich.  It’s all so easy when you are young.  Then as a teenager you say yes, you will listen to a new band, yes, you will try five-inch heels (if you’re a girl), yes, you will try a new hairstyle.  You get the gist of what I’m trying to say here.  But, there seems to come a time, when you have run out of yeses, maybe when you have become comfortable and settled and suddenly the yeses have become no’s.

I do wonder if children are more aware of spirit because of their open minds, because of their ease in saying yes to a new experience.  As we become older our awareness tends to shut down, but then so too does our ability to say yes. We seem to lose the zest for trying new things and I wonder why.  I did read a few years ago that people say that as they get older time appears to speed up and when they look back at when they were a child the days always seemed longer, time seemed slower. There is a thought that the reason for this is that everything takes on more importance when it feels new or when you are learning. If you look back over even the past month of your life can you say it went slowly or quickly? If you just carried on with your normal daily routines the chances are the month whizzed by, but had you started a new project or learnt a new skill, or went somewhere new, you might find that looking back, each day actually mattered, even the hours that you were involved with a new experience would seem far longer in your memory.

When I moved to Hampshire just over seven years ago, I didn’t know a soul apart from my sister and her husband.  Not being well made it difficult for me to get out and about and meet new people.  After several weeks of sitting watching tv with my sister and her family in the evenings, a friend suggested that I try internet dating.  My first instinct was to say no, but after much thought I decided why not and  joined a reputable site.  After several dates with the wrong men and two definitely wrong marriage proposals later, I was at the point of cancelling my membership.  However, one auspicious evening I decided to be quite forward and take at look at the men on the site instead of waiting for them to contact me.  One profile stood out from all the rest.  It wasn’t the usual ‘I love red wine and romantic moonlit walks by the beach’ type that I had read at least a hundred times.  This one had no photo and the profile was cheeky and funny and it was obvious the man didn’t take himself too seriously. I decided to send him a wink!  The next day he emailed me and introduced himself as Simon. What was amazing was that I had no idea where he lived when I had sent him the wink, but he lived only a five-minute drive away!  We got on really well and talked online for a while before I gave him my phone number.  After chatting on the phone he asked me out and I said yes.  When I met him he was absolutely great.  Simon and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in March and he is still great!

Not all decisions have to be so life changing or mind-blowing. When I met Simon he offered me a chilli crisp.  Now I had never eaten a chilli in my life and must admit my first thought was a resounding no. I had tried a prawn curry years ago and absolutely hated it and thought all ‘hot’ food would taste the same,  but then I thought, why not, I only have to try one.  Much to my surprise I loved it.  Since we have been together I have learnt several new recipes that include chillies and can’t imagine not having them now. In fact my beef chilli has become a firm family favourite and has been requested, again, for the family get together on boxing day!

When someone asks you to try something, anything, that is new or different, why not just say, without a moment’s hesitation, yes.  How many wonderful experiences pass us by because we hesitate, and then, in an instant, the moment is gone, sometimes never to be repeated? Yes?

21) What are you thankful for?

In answer to the "Is the glass half empty...

What a fabulous topic!  Whoop!  Whoop!

The problem with this question is where to start?  It would be too easy to list everything I am thankful for, although I don’t think there would be enough space on my blog.   My list is endless.

Instead, I would like to take a little more thought about this, and consider what makes some people so thankful and others so lacking in thankfulness.  It could be the old glass half full or glass half empty scenario, or  the classic, are you an optimist or are you a pessimist question.  Do these personality traits play their roles in thankful appreciation?

We are all so individual, and why someone may find an experience a reason for celebration, another may find the exact opposite!  For arguments sake, if we just look at birthdays.  We all have them, and the more the merrier I say, but there are those who are delighted to be alive on, let’s say,  their fortieth birthday, whilst someone else may be devastated to be turning forty because they think it will make them feel so old.  It is all a matter of perspective.

When I was thirty-five I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  (I can’t  believe it, twenty years ago)   During my surgery and my various treatments, I was fortunate enough to meet the most amazing people.  My first contact was with a wonderful surgeon, Mr Knox.  At first he appeared quite brusque, but over time I felt a massive fondness for him.  He had an instinctive awareness of my fears and concerns and had a very reassuring presence.  He told me he was going to give me some important and life changing advise and I assumed it would be something to do with diet or exercise, but I was so wrong.  He told me  never to buy a newspaper again!  I was surprised and asked him why.  He said that  bad news sells newspapers, and that my life should be full of positivity and I must not allow negativity into my daily routine. He said that the world revolves around negativity and fear and he felt strongly that fear played a massive role in people’s recovery from serious illness. I have hardly ever bought a newspaper since!

I then met the wonderful and caring  Dr Hong.  She was in charge of my radiotherapy treatment.  She told me that she felt she was so honoured to work with cancer patients as they had taught her so much.  I asked her why and she told me that when people recover from cancer they never look at the world in the same way as they did before.  She felt that for those who recovered, having cancer was a real blessing!  At the time I must admit I found that hard to swallow, but she assured me that in the years to come, and she insisted there would be many of them, that I would look back and realise how lucky I was to have had cancer.

I do believe now that she was so right.  My whole outlook on life changed and I also became increasingly thankful for every blessing in my life.  I know that a huge shift took place within me and I desperately wanted others to feel the same.  The difficulty is that until you truly have a life threatening experience, you do somehow feel quite immortal and tend to take so much for granted.  When you have recovered from a life changing event even a previously insignificant and minor occurrence can fill you with appreciation and wonder.  Everything tends to take on a greater meaning.

I know that for me, my ambitions changed dramatically.  Suddenly so much I had worked so hard for, had strived towards, became inconsequential.  It caused many problems too, because at the time I was not surrounded by those who would share my new enthusiasm for a different way of life, away from the materialistic and career dominated existence of my past, towards a more meaningful, altruistic and spiritual pathway.

There are those of course who are almost born being thankful.  These, in my experience, tend to be happy bods, who bounce along in a happiness bubble and see and sense and feel so much to be thankful for.  Thankfully, pardon the pun, I have been the fortunate partner of one such soul for the past seven years.  He has never experienced anything majorly bad in his life but nevertheless, he is a thankful person.  He is always saying how wonderful everything is, how blessed he feels and how lucky we are.

However,  I also have a friend who has, in material terms, lived one of the luckiest lives I have known.  Is she thankful?  No, quite the opposite!  She is and always has been, stunningly attractive, very clever, very talented.  How sad, that whatever she does is not fulfilling, what she has is never enough, whatever she experiences is never good enough.  She takes several idyllic holidays a year and yet within weeks of her return is complaining that she needs another holiday!  She drives a brand new car and yet complains she cannot afford it – so why buy it???   Sorry, is that being unfairly critical? She has three wonderful children, she is so blessed, yet cannot see it and has such a negative outlook on life. I often wonder why.  To me it makes no sense.  Is there an answer?  Will she ever feel truly thankful for the many wonderful gifts in her life? I often feel  I would like to give her a bottle of spiritual tonic to open her awareness and for her to be able to see the wondrous world in which we live, to feel fulfilled by the simple things in life, to be content. To be totally honest sometimes I just feel like screaming at her … be thankful for goodness sake, but that’s not particularly spiritual of me, is it?

Is this taking me back to my soul choice questions all over again?  So much in my life seems to point me back to that, again and again.  Did I choose to have cancer to be able to experience life both before and after the massive shift I felt?  Did my husband choose a happy thankful personality for this lifetime, and did my friend choose a personality with such a pessimistic and ungrateful outlook?  Did they swap from their choices from their last lives? Do their choices enable others to grow and learn from them.  Funnily enough, whenever I have spent time with my unappreciative friend her negativity has the reverse effect on me and I always come home feeling so incredibly lucky and thankful for how much I have in my life.

16) I’m going to post a blog a day!

Inspirational Barnstar

WordPress have this wonderful idea – Post a Blog a Day!  They even give you a nice little intro that you can copy and post to your blog – but of course, when I tried, it refused to paste, so here is my version:

Having weaved my way around the WordPress site, trying to glean tips for the a new blogger, I somehow came across what is termed The Daily Post.  Its is full of inspiring ideas to help us bloggers blog a little more.  To begin with we have to add widgets and tags and things, some of which I find more than a little formidable.  I have read, re-read and read again the easy to use instructions, and as the intelligent woman I still try to consider I am, I find I am still none the wiser.

I have, as instructed,  pointed my mouse at the widget picture and clicked and then gone backwards and forwards to my blog ‘dashboard’ (that’s the technical word for the technical background bit of my blog, a bit like an engine for a car) and clicked here and there and have still found I haven’t got the widget I need.  It’s so much like my car, I know where the pedals are and the steering wheel, but put me under the bonnet and I have no idea what is what! I have learnt more about tags in the last couple of weeks, but I’m not quite sure of the difference between a tag and a category, so I always end up with a mixture of the two.  My ever helpful husband, advised me to keep a list of tags and categories on my desktop so that it would be easy for me to find for future use.  Hmmm, I’m sure it would be if I knew where on earth my computer had saved them.  I’ve made several lists of tags and categories now and can never find them again.  There must be a mass of lists somewhere in my laptop that I’m sure one day will come to light, but for the moment at least they are very much hidden.

So, to get back to this wonderful innovative idea of ‘post a blog a day’.  The challenge is to find inspiration from ideas that the Daily Post will give us bloggers, and then be able to write about it.  To me it sounds very much like a class I took with the Accolade Academy in Margam, Wales, with the most wonderful spiritual tutor, Tony Stockwell.

He had the bright idea that each of us would choose a random word and then someone in the class would have to talk about it for at least five minutes.  You couldn’t prepare this talk, or do any kind of background research, it had to be totally off the cuff and ideally inspired by spirit.  We all had to have a go, and I must say it was good fun once you get over the ‘I’m sounding like a total idiot’ phase.   The problem was, that unknown to us students, Tony was walking around the class listening in and was deciding who he would choose to demonstrate inspired speaking to the whole course on the final night.  He walked up to me with a big smile on his face and told me I was going to be one of his chosen students!  It was more than a little daunting, he told us that we could talk about absolutely any word at all, for at least five minutes.

The other classes on the course also had students that had been chosen by their tutors and the evening before the ‘performance’ I could see everyone busily writing notes and discussing their ideas.  I thought I must have the wrong idea, because I had not prepared anything at all.  I guessed that if it was supposed to be inspired then you should leave it to spirit and trust them to inspire you. I went to bed that night concerned that maybe I should have spent the evening in preparation instead of chatting socially with friends.  I spoke to Tony the next morning and asked him if I had got it wrong. He laughed and said, no, it was supposed to be inspired and no preparation was necessary.

In a way that sounded too easy and too terrifying all at the same time.  The whole day my tummy was full of butterflies, not gently fluttering away, no, these butterflies had boots on and were stampeding around, and I was dreading the moment I would be called to talk.  As we all took our seats I thought that I would feel better once I had seen a few others give their talks, but little did I know that I was to be called up first!  Looking back though it is a bit like having a dentists appointment first thing in the morning.  You get it over and done with and can then get on with enjoying your day.

I had been visibly shaking at the thought of standing up in front of all these people, my stomach was churning, my mouth was dry and my palms were sweaty. Amazingly as soon as my name was called and I walked to the front, a feeling of calm came over me.  I still had no idea what I was going to talk about.  There was a stand by the side of me with a description of all that Accolade Academy offers its students.  “Understanding your Awareness”, was one of the phrases that caught my eye.  Suddenly I was off, chatting about awareness.  I don’t know how long I spoke for, and to be honest I can barely remember what I said, but I did feel it flowed and was certainly inspired.  Phew, was I pleased when I could sit down.

So, I am going to try to approach this ‘blog a day’ challenge in exactly the same way.   All I have to do is trust that spirit will inspire me …. they have never let me down yet!

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