Changing times #Haiku Challenge 1@RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 141 with prompt words – Breeze, Blow

Age old breeze of time

Sweeping debris, unceasing

Change is ever, more.

~ FlorenceT

In gratitude of the present. These are the days…

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

The Layers – a poem

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The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feasts of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
‘Live in the layers,
not the litter.’
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

~ Stanley Kunitz

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Summer reflection

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This is summer…

The pool

Summer in Australia officially began on 1 December. With all that has happened and ‘life’ continuing to be busy, my conscious mind did not acknowledge the changing seasons. To be honest spring came and went in a flurry of activity and minimal appreciation. I speak of this with a little regret. That is my perfectionistic side screaming I did not do ‘perfect’ though I did plenty and (I think) kept a family psychologically and emotionally intact as change happens. And yes, I am fortunate to have people keeping me sane too!

Sitting by the side of this pool was not what I had intended when I woke this morning. The plan was a touch serious 🙂 – to catch up on some work. How plans go awry… but it didn’t really. It was as it should be. I notice this now. Thanks to two young ladies, I was ‘forced’ to bring them here… And the universe conspires to render the mobile signal non-existent.

two ladies

So time to stop and “smell the roses” then. This is a local pool built in a valley surrounded by lush green trees, with picnic areas and playground close by. The sun is nearly setting yet the warmth of the day lingers. I can feel the cool-ish air blowing in… another 30 minutes before the young ladies emerge with their shivering forms asking for hot pies and/or hot chocolate. 🙂

Summer

Life is not meant to be hard. Life is not meant to be a task. That is to say, life isn’t worth less or valued less because it was not ‘done’. Living has many facets, and at any one time, we sit with the tension of one and the other. That is fine. To hold one’s purpose unwavering, to work with it in mind, and at the same time to appreciate moments such as this. What is the benefit of working towards a goal, with such earnest that you lose the entertainment of the process, the thrill of the achievement, or the beauty of what surrounds you as you are ‘working’?

I made a promise to myself to do things different. Perhaps today is the day to re-commit to this – to not just ‘do’ but also ‘be’. Yes, there will still be deadlines to meet, but they will be approached with a sense of equanimity and a certain grace.

As John Lockwood Huei says, life is a reflection of intention. My intention is firm, instead of my life being a response or worse, a reaction, let my life reflect this.

To live life with Love… I say, yes!

agave

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Our self re-defined

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transformation

I reconnected with an ‘old’ friend recently… someone whom I had not spoken to, heard from or about for three decades. Despite my vague recollection of the details, I do remember our then ‘friendship’ being fraught with…well, of us being at each other’s throats for the last years of our primary school. Yep, you heard right, primary school or junior school to some of you. Anyway, I was happy to hear from him.

Why? The answer is twofold. First, on reflection, it’s because he is a link to a past life which I had left behind. For one, the shared experiences of being students in a school ran by an ultra conservative principal were hilarious. Second, he is a link to my past, a witness to who I was, and by correlation, how I have changed. Because there is no doubt, change I did. The years fell away as we spoke of those primary school years, those days when I felt most myself. Okay, you may at this point query whether this is the ‘good old days’ syndrome. 🙂

There I was then, a girl-person who reveled in her books, who did not apologize for her bookishness (read, nerd), who basked in the glory of her achievements without embarrassment or care, who was utterly confident in her abilities and skills, who had no doubt life was going to turn out as she decided it to be.

It is fascinating how the Universe conspires (or provides – a matter of perspective, huh?) that at a time of searching and integrating the self I was with the self I have become, this insightful friend should ‘turn up’ to remind me of the parts of me I had (conveniently?) forgotten. He is a witness who could have told me some horror stories about the ‘me’ then (I actually expected him to 🙂 ), instead, I hear stories of us which affirm my sense of being and reinforce a knowledge of intrinsic goodness which I had discounted. It highlights how people do change; yes, we accept that intellectually yet incredulously many of us expect our dear ones, on a practical or emotional level, to be

  • as we had perceived or knew them to be, or
  • as we had desired them to be, or
  • to somehow ‘grow but not change’, to be the person we knew them to be.

To hear the stories of shared experiences with different tonality and colour also serves to show me this – while we may observe and ‘judge’ our own and others’ actions and behaviours, we never truly know the intentions, meanings or interpretations that dwell within another at the point of interaction.

Our sense of self is defined at the point of and through our contact with another. We are changed at every moment we interact with our environment be they people, systems, nature… We are many selfs and we are one. And in this space, I am changed by my interaction with him as I see my ‘self’ differently, ‘him’ differently, circumstances differently… and thus my history.  A new dimension, till now unknown, opens up.

In my conversations with this astounding friend, I was reminded of our moments of congeniality, of shared interests those years ago that had escaped my mind. Suffice to say the reality of our connection is a gift for which I am grateful.

 “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”
John Leonard

– FlorenceT

 © 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

A mindful journey

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Change is inevitable in life, and I have written much about this here. Some of us react to change in a maladaptive manner that can be injurious to self, some respond with equanimity and acceptance, and many of us do a bit of both. We are after all human, and a little flawed :-). And we are all beautiful. It’s true, though at times we have difficulty seeing that in ourselves or in others.

In moments of change, great or small, what do you do?

You know the times of peace and rightness, when you are grounded and know that all will be well, that life is indeed a journey and must be experienced. Every perceived curveball is an adventure, every obstacle a challenge to show you how strong you can be. You move forward, one step at a time, hopefully still appreciating the lessons to be learnt, listening to the messages the Universe is sending.

And then you have moments of self-doubt, fear, anger or confusion. When you just want to shout at the heavens, ‘why me?’ You may find yourself immobilised, stuck, unable to form a sensible thought, a coherent plan…nothing works.

In times like these, I go to a place deep within me. I look into this sacred well and see reflected there the parts of me that were momentarily forgotten, dismissed, undermined, devalued… the parts that will serve me. The intelligent me, the rational me, the loving me, the creative me, the assertive me, the confident me…whichever that I need to call upon in that moment. I gaze into the well, noticing the calm of the water, listening to the silence, feeling the gentle crisp air on my face, sensing my body falling into weightless support… until I reach the parts of me I need to revive.

water-well

And I do this through meditation, specifically mindfulness. Mindfulness allows me to watch myself – my reactions and to be aware of what I need in the moment. It creates a space for me to harness my resources and to generate responses that are true to my values.

Which brings me to this – I have signed up for an online challenge to raise funds to provide clean water to people in developing countries. Called ‘Mindful in May‘ this challenge is to meditate for at least 10 minutes each day for the month of May. Sounds simple but often, I forget. Especially now, this is a habit to entrench.

So why don’t you join me? Register to be mindful for a good cause. Every day you will receive an instructional email to assist in your meditation. Alternatively, support the cause by sponsoring my efforts. Any amount is welcomed. Oh to be abundantly clear, I do not obtain any benefit to promote this challenge.

I am doing this because I believe mindfulness practice is awesome. Mindfulness teaches us to love ourselves a little bit more each day, it removes the judgment we hold about ourselves. It creates a still mind, a focused mind, which leads to an incisive mind.

Why not learn a new tool (if you must call it that though I see it as a way of being) to help ourselves become more aware? And while doing this, you are providing those in poverty with clean water, a basic human need.

Namaste!

– FlorenceT

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The owner and/or author asserts his/her moral and legal rights over this work.

A (somewhat) new journey

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There is a bit of ‘reconstruction’ happening here.

Why?  Because I have migrated my other blog here – a blog set up ‘to experiment with writing’… meaning in effect a place where I am prepared to make mistakes, to make a ‘fool’ of myself as I learn new things, to be ‘silly’ or to take ‘risks’. 

Well, I am among friends so why not do them all here… 🙂  Writing, exploring meanings in life, taking risks… they are one and the same.  The process has been, for me, inseparable.

Before I continue, a big ‘thank you’ to Ronovan at RonovanWrites (he who has tips for everything if you’d only ask!) for his help with the blog migration.

So, there are now more posts here on Meanings and Musings.  While ‘reconstruction’ is going on, I will introduce you to some of my previous posts. I can’t be ‘constructing’ and writing at the same time :-).

If you wish to look for ‘things’, use the tag cloud on the right.  It is likely to yield more than the menu links above for now.

I see a path, I hear a beckoning,
I will take this path for I am inspired.
My curious mind insists.

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Positivity is change

Ripples
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If we are 100% certain everything will remain as is then there is no need for positivity, or negativity for the matter.  If ‘things’ are great now, then it’s fait accompli.  The same for the so-called ‘bad stuff’.  Realistically, there are few things that are truly ‘bad stuff’, rather perspectives.

Experience is not what happens to you – it’s how you interpret what happens to you.   Aldous Huxley

Life is dynamic, like the ebb and flow of the moontide, our life smiles at us and it grimaces too.  Life changes. Not just the so-called ‘life-changing’ events but rather, the miniscule changes in our lived moments that in most times we missed until their cumulative effects are finally felt. Such as a simple putting off writing for one day which, as the days go, becomes a habit.  Then the psychological barrier of ‘it’s a habit so it must be difficult to break’.  It is not, just begin a new habit with one day

So it is that we employ tools to deal with change – through thoughts, words and deeds.  We think positive thoughts to lift us, to propel us forth; we re-frame the stories we tell, we encourage; we reward ourselves with a good book, a walk… to improve our sense of wellbeing.

By the way, we cannot manage change. Change is not an object we can manipulate or mould. Even as we grasp hold of what change is, it has changed once again. What we can is choose how we are in the face of change.  And then perhaps we can influence the change in the next moment by having been aware of how we are in the previous moment…

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.     Anna Freud

Ultimately it is how we respond to change. Your and my responses to change differ, and they differ for the many situations we find ourselves.  Our responses today will also be different from our responses tomorrow for a similar, not the same, situation.  The statistical or scientific illusion of ‘all else being equal’ … well, things are never equal.  We can only measure what we know and can measure. There is a mystery to everything else… how exciting!  But I digress.

Music is the space between the notes.  Claude Debussy

So reflect upon and explore our responses to change:

  1. Do you recognize change as it happens? Are you aware of the ripples in your life? Our body knows, at least it can provide some signals.  Is it the tingling down your spine, the shortness of breath, the tensing of your shoulders, the denial in your mind, the grin on your face, the sigh of relief, the involuntary exclaim… What helps you identify change?
  2. How do you react and why?  Is your initial reaction one of drama, quiet confidence, excitement, dread or …? Is it because we are feeling threatened that we say those hurtful things? Is it because we are happy within ourselves that we can give so freely?  Is it because we are reminded of our past that we re-act intensely to the situation? Is it because we have always had ‘good luck’ that we leap into this?
  3. What choices do you make in response to change? I use the word ‘response’ as opposed to ‘react’ because for me, response comes from awareness. After the initial feeling of doom (a reaction!) and being aware of your ingrained habit of maintaining the status quo, do you follow through with negativity or do you choose to be open to the possibilities?

Away she hurried, not beautiful, not supremely brilliant, but filled with something that took the place of both qualities — something best described as a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life.   EM Forster

Namaste!
– FlorenceT

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Intentions

change socrates
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I referred to intentions in my last post about change.

Well my intentions are simple.  I intend to pay greater attention to and be more aware of the changes happening in my life. To elaborate, to appreciate their essence and the implications they have for my life.

This is not wishful intention, for I have experienced the magic of paying attention.  I am a perfectionist, well less so than before, which manifests herself in the energy paid to the minutiae and details in many aspects of my life.  The assumption is if I constantly watch them, then I can recognize any negatives and deal with them before worse occurs.  What had in fact occurred, as any fear-based actions are likely to do, was me, being worrisome, tense and lacking in humour. 

cannot change

What I failed to realize was that paying attention to the negatives only reinforced the negatives.  And a negative mindset ultimately dwells in one who is discontent, anxious and always questioning. 

Active attention brings change. My energy is better spent on enriching, uplifting and positive matters than worrying about ‘what ifs’ or ‘if onlys’.

My once resentful discontent self chose instead to begin paying attention to herself, to exercise loving attention on me.  Change can only begin with me, at least the change I want to see in my life.

self love

The magic of paying attention brought me here…to the sacred space where I can stand at the centre of attention; to a mindful place where judgment is not welcomed; to love myself ‘warts and all’ :-); to embracing my desires and passions;…to my writing and blogs.

change socrates

Where are you focusing your energy?

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.