Learning to Let it Go… of the heavy buckets…!

Picture this…

Two large buckets…

Each bucket resting on the floor on each side of you…

The bucket on your right is filled with issues and concerns outside of your control. This consists of but not limited to worries of things yet to have happened, the opinions and perceptions of others and things that have long ago happened. They are all sorts of worries that you cannot change, nor predict – big and small.

The bucket on your left is filled with the problems and concerns of everyone else. The content of this bucket consists of but is not limited to the problems and issues of loved ones, friends, acquaintances, or merely the news of terrible things occurring in the world. This will be a particularly filled and heavy bucket when you are the strength and support of your loved ones.

Now imagine using a rod to lift these two buckets as they balance on the ends and placing this construction on your shoulders – essentially picture workers in rice fields or Asian market places.

Now that clearly sounds like an illogical thing to do. Why would you carry these heavy buckets upon your shoulders? The weight in the buckets would cause your shoulders to slouch heavily. Or perhaps you think it is your burden to carry the load? Your shoulders are strong! You have always been carrying these buckets – it’s what you do – especially for your family! Or perhaps the weight isn’t that great… and you think by sharing the weight in your bucket with your loved one, you are making their buckets lighter… but are you?

Let’s first assess the bucket on your right. The issues you have no power over. Ask yourself why you continue to carry them.

Things in your past – whether they be mistakes, decisions or events that just happened. Life happens – often in the blink of an eye. Decisions you made were often based on knowledge you had up until that point and in reality – everything looks different with that annoying concept of ‘hindsight’. Sure you may not have made the same decision today but hey – does that really matter? Embrace your personal history – own every aspect of it because as you sit here in this moment, you are here because of the decisions made and life isn’t perfect – it isn’t meant to be…

Life isn’t about destiny and following a chosen path laid out for you…or is it? That is a matter for you to decide but I believe that it’s not the mistakes that count but how you got up, shook the dirt off your pants and kept on going that count the most.

For the worries of the life events that have yet to happen – this speaks for itself…worry when you need to – ie. When it happens…if at all!   Until that point, it is wasted energy to carry around concerns that will roll around in your head to the point of making you crazy – dizzy or both!

Empty out your right bucket. De-clutter the entire thing until there is only the necessary items left – and then it should be enough to carry in your pocket.

Now your left bucket… everyone else’s worries and concerns. Let me firstly be very clear about this… I am not for a moment suggesting that you drop your concerns or start looking at what others are facing as though their issues are ‘trivial’ or not your business or concern and are just stepping out. The concept of human connectedness is all about assisting one another and this usually occurs in the form of providing levels of support they need. Emptying this bucket is about categorization – re-assessing your role in the issues that are being faced.

Look at the contents of this bucket – your friend isn’t coping through a relationship breakdown or a particular life crisis, whether it be work, study or feeling stagnant in life generally? You may have a friend suffering through a mental illness or physical illness or the illness of their loved ones. The list of life issues is endless! Whatever the circumstances are that your loved ones are carrying, and you in turn are also carrying for them – let it go. Really look at what it is you are carrying for them. Are you carrying their hurt and pain too? [Pause] – Think about what the purpose of this is…It really isn’t easy to separate feeling the devastation and pain another is going through – it makes us human to feel and sympathize with the suffering – but at what cost to you? And think about the support you are able to provide that person if you are also swimming (or drowning) heavily in the grief…

These buckets are loaded with substantial amounts of unnecessary weight that can be alleviated by merely assessing your role in the circumstance. Does your friend need your support – absolutely! But think about how that is best carried out for both of your interests. If you are always the provider of the support, at some point this becomes tiring and exhausting for you – no doubt the weight upon your shoulders may cause you to be drained of all that makes you shine brightly like a beacon on a dark night…and your ability to assist diminishes as you are desperately scrambling to salvage the strength to continue to carry these heavy buckets. Know your role – and often it’s to listen or to distract or to chat about the concerns – but it’s often not about you as the friend swooping in to fix the issue for them…

 

So the broader question becomes – why do we do it? We may not physically be carrying these buckets but mentally we are more likely pulling along a semi trailer worth of problems behind us – and often unnecessary ones at that! The heavier the load, the more likely our days are darker, longer and full of emotional exhaustion ~ we may not even recognize why. It may also result in us not being able to give the full attention to current issues because there just isn’t much left to give – and we all know that life keeps going – new issues, problems and concerns keep arising and the new stuff needs to be addressed…

 

We as people appear to have great difficulty in letting go.

Whether that be letting go of past hurts, letting go of control over situations whether we actually have the power to impact or not, letting go of so many things. All the things we continue to hold onto, we are placing into our imaginary buckets that are causing our shoulders to risk buckling under the sheer weight. It is almost as though there is the expectation that carrying great burdens means we care more or are more human – sensitive and nurturing – or perhaps we need to get better at filing away these things to enable us to focus on the issues of today and the now that really require our full attention…

And sometimes the past hurts are just ready to be put away…

 

~ FP

 

 

 

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Inspiration – What it looks like in a real day…

I am utterly and completely swept up and inspired by life.

At the moment, my favourite saying is that ‘Life is too amazing to…[insert negative or passive activity or feeling here]’

In the mornings I spring out of bed with enthusiasm and excitement. I sing to the birds and think of all of the amazing moments I am going to experience today. All day! Because every moment will be amazing!
I wake up before my alarm clock and I’m so full of energy because once again I have had a full and perfect night sleep where the angels have virtually cradled me all night. My shower is the perfect temperature. My day starts just perfectly.

What a great picture of inspiration! How isn’t life amazing when everything falls into place just as it should! Right!?
Now here is the actual reality of my life, including my inspiration.

My mornings commence with the rude and startling alarm set on my phone buried beneath my pillow. I count it being silenced by the genius ‘snooze’ button five times before the alarm gives up, threatening to let me sleep and cause me to be late to wherever I need to go. The alarm is a mash of ear disturbing sounds that are meant to encourage me to burst to life, even accompanied by an inspirational message to myself to have an ‘inspired’ and ‘amazing day’. Instead, every morning I curse the choice of sound that I believe will one day cause my heart palpitations to morph into a full heart attack! I roughly calculate the number of hours I was actually awake for during the night, cursing time in the way it continues to tick whilst the world sleeps and I am tossing and turning and thinking of everything imaginable. And it is just so amazingly annoying that my mind is able to create the best and most sound ideas in the dead of the night, usually with the perfect combination of a ‘too cosy’ position to get out of bed in the hunt for a paper and pen…

Throwing my legs out from the sheets, I will my body to a seated position before dragging myself into the shower all the while with my eyes shut. Mornings are on autopilot and a time that has no place for vision. I know where the soap and shampoo are… the same place they were yesterday.

My shower is filled with my mind racing over a lengthy to do list of work things, domestic things, upcoming events and anything else my brain can be saturated by. Clearly not the most inspiring way to start the day – already tired of the expectations of what needs to be done. Some days I wonder how I don’t just crawl straight back into bed after the shower and call it a day!

Rushing from the house to catch the train, I pray I don’t forget anything, checking the contents of my hand bag six times before finally shutting the door.

As I walk to the station, the soothing breeze against my face reminds me it’s Autumn. The colours dancing across the sky are streaked in pinks, oranges and different shades of blue and it immediately mesmerizes me of what nature is capable of. It is also an excellent reminder to drag my eyes away from the phone for even the briefest moment to engage in the natural world that surrounds ~ and the natural elements of the world provide such amazing grounding.

Public spaces are a gold mine for inspiration. As I get to the station, I look around at the collection of people assembled here, waiting for the train to arrive. This is but a glimpse into the lives of others. As the train approaches and we board, usually everyone desperately scrambling to secure a perfect seat, we settle. People intrigue me. The reason for this is that everyone is so unique in the way we think, act and are. There are moments on a train ride where we may be given a glimpse into who these people really are – overheard private phone conversations, in person conversations, how they spend their time such as reading (and what they are reading), applying makeup (applicable to both males and females), busily typing on laptops, studying through text books, sleeping or casually browsing through Facebook and other social media pages.

The train ride is a substantial time that gives me plenty of thinking space to contemplate.

Today I am inspired by the knowledge that nothing known that I face today is negative. There isn’t any decision to be made that will be life or death. I may be busy but that is part and parcel to the way we live in our fast paced lives – and it isn’t always the same as facing a tough day.

Life is too amazing to be dragged through it mindlessly.

That’s the motto ~ now the reality…

Life is full of routine and responsibilities.

Life isn’t always positively inspired. There are the negative inspirations that are often just as effective as the positive…

Every moment of every day is not always inspiring ~ that is not reality ~ or not my reality anyway.

However, Inspiration can catch us off guard and sometimes we just need to look around to catch them. Inspiration isn’t always about the big stuff but about the small things that make up our day that shine the light on potential…

When we think about inspiration, there seems to be the false expectation that there will be lightening bolt moments that will catapult us into this space of life full of zest and amazement, yet sometimes it can be the smallest of things that inspire.

I am inspired by nature ~ by the ocean, the mountains, the countryside, the cities…

I am inspired by human connections, by simple moments.

A moment of silence; the sound of laughter; watching a couple, young, old, ‘middle aged’ – just enjoying each others company.

I am inspired by reading a great quote.

I am inspired by hearing a triumphant story.

I am inspired by music…by artwork…

I am inspired by people and all that makes people shine…

Inspiration and allowing your soul to bathe in it takes practice… and some moments in a day need to just be felt for what they are… tough, difficult and uninspiring… yet through every experience take away a life lesson…and sometimes the inspiration is that you survived to try again tomorrow…

~FP

Happy Mothers Day to All

On this morning, it is hoped that Mothers across Australia are being showered with love, attention and gratitude by the ones they endlessly, lovingly and thoughtfully dedicate their days and nights (and sometimes their sanity) to.

As an expression of my own gratitude, I thank my mum wholly and completely. The older I become, the more I come to understand the role of mothers and particularly my own. The pivotal piece of life’s puzzle ~ they are not a piece, but the backboard that often keeps the picture whole.

As I sit here today, I send my endless thanks to my mum who is the strongest, wisest and most caring woman I have ever known…and to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunties, fathers being both the mother and father and all kinds of people who continue to work tirelessly for those they love, support and raise… thank you.

 

To my mum I thank you for,

~ Still being as motherly as she was when I was a child – regardless of my age;

~ Loving me and my siblings so much that I never questioned it – and loving us by showing it;

~ Always having your arms ready…

  • To pick me up when I fell;
  • To catch me when I jumped;
  • To hug away my fears when the world seemed so big and scary;
  • To help me hold all my pieces in place when my personal universe was falling apart.

~ Being my teacher, my life coach, my counselor, my cheer leader and my reality check;

~ Having the patience to raise me with all my quirks and accepting that all your children are special in different ways and loving us all regardless;

~ Recognizing the importance of imagination and teaching me how to make a cubby house on a wet winters morning – and then showing me the responsibility to clean up after the cubby house world needed to be packed away;

~ Having the patience to teach me all of life’s important lessons in a way that I never knew I was being taught something so fundamental and important. You taught me:

  • To love;
  • Forgiveness;
  • Not to judge others;
  • Strength;
  • How to dream big and aim high;
  • How to be honest;
  • The reality that only through my hard work will I succeed…
  • Life is hard but through honesty, having integrity and strong life values that you can survive and succeed;
  • It’s okay to ask for help because she will always be patient enough to work through anything with me.

~ Feigning appreciation for all the crappy gifts we have given you over the years and now receiving them from your grandchildren and still being lovely enough to pretend you love them and display them.

My gratitude and appreciation is endless.

To those whose mothers can only be here in spirit I send strength and love and the hope that the memories will carry you today. To those who have their personal difficulties with their mothers, remember that time is precious…

 

~F.P

My Gratitude & Appreciation Project

Over 30 or so days, I had been sharing my appreciations and gratitude as part of my Gratitude and Appreciation Project via Facebook.

To put this project into context, just over a month ago I was faced with a first world dilemma – to permanently sign off social media or to turn it into a forum where I can add positivity to the world that was otherwise turning bleak in my perception. Some years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop watching the news. There was never any positive news to be told and it created a very dark perception of the world we live in. You may think this is a naive approach ~ perhaps…but to clarify I am not delusional about the horrible crimes committed, nor am I of the belief that everyone in this world is good. I have merely made the person choice to surround myself with positivity instead of the saturation of the negative that our world seems to comfortably be bathed in.

The decision to disconnect was a troubling question for me because I felt as though if I simply removed my presence, that wasn’t adding to the solution or assisting in the broader problem. The broader problem was this: Social Media, news from varying sources and people’s perception of life became a saturation of negativity drawn from a range of things, often those that did not directly effect their own world, yet had profound impact. Issues such as horrendous murders, natural disasters, impending death penalties being carried out – the list was endless…It was emotionally draining those around me and they would openly discuss their distress, which is an absolutely essential aspect of humanity and maintaining human connections and always welcome, yet there came a point where it felt as though the explosion of negativity was not balanced in any way against any form of positivity. Life is still beautiful ~ life is still amazing. There are many great people, doing great things! We just need to allow the room for those stories to be part of our day too.

After deep personal contemplation of withdrawing altogether, I chose the latter – to stay and fight. Positivity would have to prevail at some point. It was then that the Gratitude and Appreciation Project was conceived.

I have participated in similar things in the past and they always result in deep reflections on how I live, what I am grateful and appreciative of and make me mindful of life – of the fleeting nature of it and the impact of my world on others.

My project draws to a close, yet I will continue to privately record my gratitude and appreciation. You may have noticed I wouldn’t post everyday – some days I simply chose to appreciate life privately… or some days I didn’t feel the appreciation needed to be shared… other days I was just lazy and justified that it was my life and my rules anyway – that thinking goes back to my life’s motto –

This is my life and I choose how to live it.

Life isn’t easy – far from it. Everyone faces all sorts of demons that we will never know about, nor do we need to because it isn’t our battle to face. But within everyday, even the worst day you could ever face – there is always something you can locate within it that you can be grateful for and appreciative of.

The day is comprised of:

24 hours;

1440 minutes;

86,400 seconds…

Within all of that time is the potential for important moments to be had, made and cherished.

This doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. We don’t need to be happy every moment of every day – that isn’t reality. We don’t need to be happy everyday either… it all comes down to balance. Yet, perhaps seeking little appreciation within our lives and living it mindfully, we will start to live it in a way that we will create a much more positive space to foster beautiful creations of compassion, peace and a genuine sense of feeling comfortable in the space we live.

 

~ FP