A real occasion

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Authenticity – when your beliefs, your words and your actions are aligned. Be real, that’s the common understanding. Simple, isn’t it?

I do my best to be honest with my children, including about Santa or the Easter Bunny. I am not a “truth” activist, out seeking to destroy fantasies but when they were old enough to ask me the Question, I told them my perspective. The same goes for Mother’s Day. In one view, it is a social construct that we have a day dedicated to mothers. This is not a judgment on whether it should be celebrated or not, or of its ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. To be fair, at the time when it first began (in the US in 1914), perhaps it was needed to raise awareness of this important and valuable role women play. Just as special Days are now being “proclaimed”.

So what happens when these same now-teenage children tell me they don’t see the sense in Mother’s Day, that it is an advertising hoax?

I could take offense and judge their reasons or worse, them, for saying so; or feel unappreciated or unloved; or be compelled to “forgive” them because “they are just being typical teenagers” and we would love them no matter what (even though we didn’t like them much that day); or I could be thrilled that they are perceptive and aware of the potential “fakery” of the world we live in, but with a lingering sense of loss for the occasion.

With our expectations, the emotional reactions when confronted with this will be varied, and so are the words and actions we use to make sense of it all.

And my response? A little hurt, initially. I bet not many positive thoughts were running through your minds reading this. Here is the thing – this ‘poor me’ feeling didn’t sit well. Something nagged at me and it dawned on me; this feeling was a “you should feel” feeling as a reaction to an expected narrative of what ought to happen. But should I?

What was real for me is this. This isn’t about what they do, but about me (after all, it is “Mother’s Day”). I who choose to be a mother, I who choose to love and guide them in the way I do. I who choose to see the reality of a young man who made time to spend his day with me, despite his many commitments and protestations of the commercialism of the day. No grand gestures of flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed etc. I see a young woman contributing to the day in her usual sweet way, baking. I see these young persons who have been mindful and caring for my feelings, and not just on the day. And for these, I am loved and filled with gratitude.

Okay, the sense of occasion was still calling (I succumbed a little to the big hoo-haa after being bombarded by the media telling us the day had to be significant and “big”). The occasion I desired was to have a time of meaningful connection. Stepping into my authenticity and as any independent woman would, I asked for what I wanted. This was the result. I spent time with my family.

Ultimately, the motivation behind an occasion such as this matters. The real-ness is not about what prompted an occasion or how it is celebrated, it is in the ‘why’ of it. Why did you celebrate Mother’s Day, or any occasion? What feelings go with or into the occasion?

In a similar vein, why do we do any of the things we do each day? Does the doing match the values we hold and the words we expound?

Is what you do an authentic expression of who you are?

~ FlorenceT

 

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

Rejection is a blessing…

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Rejection…in whatever form, in whichever sphere, is never pleasant. For some, it reinforces the sense of unworthiness and the gap of disconnection widens. For what is rejection, except to say “you are not one of us”, thus conflicting with our human need to belong. Or is it?

A felt sense, rejection is a perceived condition. What would happen if we choose not to engage with it? That is to say, we choose not to believe we are unworthy to be liked, loved, respected etc. We choose to trust when someone says ‘no’ to us, it is because they can’t. How about if we respect the other well enough to honor their views or decisions. What if we choose not to mind the lost opportunity or potential, we never had it anyway so why are we so attached to it?

Sometimes it is true that someone does not see us as worthy of their time; and we get snubbed. Heck, so what? It may indeed be a blessing to be denied entry to that orbit. Things happen. We choose how we interpret it and what it means. Just as a chance reunion with an old friend means something, being refused has its meanings… of parting, of opportunity…; and it remains a path in our journey of life. Be patient. Let life unfold. Don’t force it.

Our ‘job’ in this one life is to keep doing what we are doing with love, grounded in our meaningful purpose, mindful that everyone has their own way of being, accepting it sufficiently to let go of our preconceived notions of “what should be or else…”.

Therein lay peace in being and gratitude for what comes.

 

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

 

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

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.

 

Dance #Haiku Challenge 140 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 140 with prompt words – Twist, Shout

Twist and shout, he says

Beats thunder, lightning dances

Rejoice in your life.

~ FlorenceT

 

And a classic song to go with this – one of my daughter’s favourites.

 

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

 

#Haiku Challenge 131 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 131 with prompt words – Car, Coast

Winter Tale

Coast on, she presages
Life passes when unconscious
Looking straight ahead
In a car on the highway
Are you on merely a road?

~ FlorenceT

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

 

She, a micro story

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She did not know what hit her. One moment she was in the dumps, disappointed with life and who she had become; the next she was awakened to life’s possibilities, her dreams no longer a distant past but a possible future.

 

If she knew the road ahead, she might have been less thrilled… then again perhaps not. She had made a right turn without realising, chosen a fork on the road without being asked to… but then she had been asleep, dead to herself so how would she have known. Which made it all the more miraculous, incredible in its simplicity and bounty.

 

She would never understand how it had come to pass but it did. Simple words, always words that meant so much. Her longing grew each day as they were all she had on this path… just that and even so, more than she had thought herself deserving or needing. Before, rarely a thought for herself but of the needs of others; and at times resenting yet persisting with the duties that made her who she was, without which she had believed rendered her nothing. She knows now she is more, those words arrive daily of the mundane, the unique, the humorous, of everything – to comfort, to support, to hold – filling her days with meaning and purpose.

 

She has walked this path longer than she thought she could, inspired by the goodness she felt, the strength she desired, the vulnerability she respected, the peace she yearned – this uplifting journey she hopes to remain. And on the low ebb days, those fears of rejection and abandonment still arise. She had lost her faith a little, tempered her trust of others; she might even have told herself she would be better alone. But she is healing on this path; and though confident she can be all that she wants on her own, she knows it’s manifold better and greater here on this road.

 

She is reminded of her needs and desires, those she had met for others, those she will now embrace for herself. For she craves attention too; care and kind gestures a balm. Now she loves again, she trusts; she has faith again. She will truly be free, she will have it all… perhaps. No matter, the journey is enough, more than she hoped. And all because of the enticing words that beckoned in the beginning, and the many many words that have followed across space and time… words, his.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

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

Post-truth, a word

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Post-truth
Word of the year
as Oxford Dictionaries pronounces,
Era of emotions and subjective beliefs
Death knell to objectivity and facts,
Sensationalism, you say?
Or time for the personal to triumph?
Emotions, relations and transgressions
rule, where once ‘truths’ of a tribe –
dominant culture, norms and traditions – prevail.
 
Whose truth must we bear?
The heartfelt, the broken, the wise,
the ignorant, ah without truth, there is no ignorant
just as there is no wise,
What is knowledge, where is wisdom
when facts and certainty are subsumed
by the loudest most vulgar or so it seems.
A mediated world
through lenses, filters and screens
Creating the post-truth reality.
 
~ FlorenceT

 

Oxford Dictionaries has declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year.  “Post-truth”, an adjective, is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief“.

 

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

How love turns pain into purpose – Stephen Hayes

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Disclaimer: what this video is not – an academic talk on psychology.

What it is – an inspiring personal account of the transformative power of love in the face of human struggles and difficulties.

Enjoy!

“… I stood up inside a promise – never again, I will not run from me.” Stephen Hayes

 

~ FlorenceT

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

Women friends

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Four women around a table, laden with scrumptious food and champagne. Conversations filled with laughter, some angst and silliness; bound by a connection which began more than 10 years ago.

How did they get to this place of ease with each other? They first met when 2 mothers were invited to post-drop-off coffee by another mother from the school and her friend, also a parent at the school. Being new to the school community, that invitation and subsequent ones were most welcomed. Over many coffee mornings and initial conversations revolving around their children, a bond was formed. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely?) this bond has lasted these many years.

The friendship was forged through sharing of many emotional events in their lives – the despair of perceived purposeless life, the joy of their children and family holidays, the stress of juggling the many duties as mother and wife, the pain of separations, the worries for teenage children, the sadness of loss of childhood eras, the elation of overcoming sickness and ill-health, and the celebration of personal achievements. The men in their lives secondary figures in the drama called life unfolding within the circle.

Many seasons later, even as their children no longer attend the same school where they had first met, these women kept coming back to their get-togethers, always to catch up on their news and to be seen.

What is the secret to this bond, this friendship?

These women have learnt to accept each other’s flaws and imperfections, to value each other’s insights and support; they have learnt to curb their tongue and permit each other space to grow and re-position themselves within the friendship.

There are more differences between them, than there appear to be of similarities. Except for this.

They are women who have lived lives of nurturing and care in service to their family while attempting to retain an identity beyond that of mothers and wives; they are women who continue to pursue the life they want. These are the steadfast women of courage and strength, depth and genuineness.

What more could a woman want in a friend?

~ FlorenceT

 

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

Surprise, no more

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I was not much good with surprises… I preferred being prepared for things and surprises didn’t allow for that. I may have changed by now… 🙂 With age, knowledge and experience, few things faze me and certainly not the ‘but I don’t have any make-up on’ or ‘I didn’t get a chance to tidy the house’ stuff.

As Paulo Coelho, one of my favourite authors, said,

I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.

So when I saw the writing prompt on RonovanWrites for the previous week (yes, a little late, I say sheepishly), I set out to discover for what others had to say about surprises – an excuse to indulge my ‘nerd-ness’.

Man is always more than he can know of himself; consequently, his accomplishments, time and again, will come as a surprise to him.  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is something that I have come to realise, time and time again. In a meditative space of gratitude and evaluation of my life, I always surprise myself with how much I have done and accomplished. The saying is true, we are always our harshest critic. So it is curious to me that man still continues to be critical of others in the name of motivation and improvement, though I imagine they are the guises of self-doubt and fear. Doesn’t our own experience teach us that we and others don’t require more criticism, rather support and encouragement?

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.   ~ Ashley Montagu

In our moments of happiness, we have only to be mindful and notice, to receive, to appreciate and to remember. Like the exuberant hugs of children, the silent glance of a lover, the gentle touch of a friend… we need only be aware of them as they seize us.

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.  ~ Ellen Burstyn

This is one thing which didn’t surprise me – that being alone is not lonely. I have enjoyed my space, the solitude to think, to explore, to plan, to organize… The quote also speaks of a journey taken to ‘finally discover’ this, and I hazard a guess, a journey of self-discovery, love and growth.

How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.  ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

And lastly, if we are open to the many possibilities of living, then there is no real surprise. They come, they go… and we approach them all with equanimity.

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

 

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