Intellectual, maybe not

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I grew up in a family of “intellectuals” and in a society which prized the intellect and intellectual pursuits.

By “intellectuals” I do not mean a class of people by their profession, I guess academics come to mind, but rather of their behaviour – the constant asking ‘why’, the emphasis on logic or rational discourse, and as the Merriam-Webster dictionary says, “given to study, reflection, and speculation”. There are various motivations for doing intellectual – “I am not good enough and need to make myself better”, “I want to be admired”, “I have a love of learning”, “That is all I am good for”,… and so it goes.

My mother is still embarrassed about her ‘neglect’ of her then preschool-aged daughter for refusing to answer to the incessant “whys” as she went about her homemaking chores. And my father till today is never far from the whys and hows of things.

I had no cause to question this way of being, even though I questioned almost everything else, ever curious. For a long time, I could not see how everyone else wasn’t like me, or why anyone would not want to study or reflect on stuff, or to see the benefit of learning all the time.

Nature or nurture, I was lucky to be able to embrace this “thinky” way of being. Yes, there is a ‘but’ in here. There was a time when I wanted to be a ballerina (and I apparently have the “strong thighs” for it 😁, then) and a classical singer (I was told while I might have the voice for it, singing opera is a tough gig and I should stick to my intellectual pursuits, sigh). Oh, there were less than successful stints with sprints (yep, those strong thighs again!) and competitive swimming, alas not for me.

All of us have an intellect, and if we practice, we could be adept at this particular of looking at or approaching the world. But as the saying goes, “all things in moderation” and the same goes for being intellectual. Nothing is ever all good or all bad. It is a matter of being flexible and adaptive. A full-time intellectual is tiring and I can imagine, not conducive to social interactions and relationships. Might work for an introvert like me, but even I need something or someone beyond myself!

Sometimes, things just are. Like faith. Sometimes, we need to trust – the person before us, the situation we are in, what has come before will be again – without the perpetual study. Sometimes, we have to let it be. Sometimes we have to hop on and go on the ride. Sometimes emotions take precedent. Sometimes, we just need to give our mind a good rest. And that is what I’ve been doing…in moderation ☺.

I was thinking (yep, that word again!) of how trite my past few posts were, lacking in substance, then it hit me, judgment with a capital ‘J’! They were fun for me, that was what’s needed, period.

A certain someone said he reads my posts because they always get somewhere, make a point… hmmm, guess he’ll be disappointed now 😊 .

This may just be rambling on a rainy Saturday morning.

~ FlorenceT

 

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

 

Priority… me.

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It’s a life journey, isn’t it :-)? To learn to manage our priorities. In fact, to learn to determine what our priorities are.

Is the spotless living room necessary? Yes, it is a preference, but necessary? At which point of ‘dirtiness’ does cleaning a living room become a priority and go on the list of priorities?

Context changes and something like cleaning becomes a priority or in fact, top priority?! (You can tell I don’t fancy cleaning.) A metaphor for life really. Truly, I am a master of prioritising; when things become ‘sufficiently important’ to become a priority, they will and they move along the list.

I know many who clean, who love cleaning and would prioritise this over say, reading a book. I know women whose identity is validated by the cleanliness of their homes. At times, I envy them their discipline and focus.

I know others who want things ‘perfect’ – the perfect Christmas party based on an image in their mind or preconditioned expectations. How about the perfect family gathering where ‘everyone loves everyone’, no tear visible in the family fabric?

Is this our obsession with perfection? Is this our need for conformity and thus perceived acceptance and belonging? By whom and to what?

So it was that I remained in bed on a Sunday mid-afternoon because my daughter, who has according to herself perfected the art of being a lump, insisted that I should. A family joke, and by definition, a lump is one who is having a lazy day being in bed in her pyjamas and doing nothing serious. (I bet she’ll amend this definition if she gets the opportunity! 🙂 ). Her final words before she left my bedroom were, ‘stop doing stuff’. That’s a red flag – stopped me it did and you are witnessing the onslaught of ‘reflection’.

Whatever my values are about ‘doing’ and ‘effort’, at some point I stopped prioritising ‘me’ in my life. The ‘me’ who loves to read, the ‘me’ who enjoys listening music (and the exploring and downloading associated with it), the ‘me’ who feels a little empty not writing, the ‘me’ who wants to curl up cosy in bed just because.

Context changed, and I was feeling depleted. So time out.

And what have I learnt from this young lady who approaches life with a certain joie de vivre and a whole lot of confidence? Remember to prioritise ‘me’. She does and without apology. Maybe I did ‘do’ something right, 🙂 ?

Which reminds me, how are you travelling?

My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.     Shakti Gawain

~ FlorenceT

 

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

Feeding is not nourishing…

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Busy-ness and stress are no strangers in my life. I am adept at managing it all. To replenish my energy, I meditated, slept the requisite 6 hours, ate nutritious food, made lists and check them off – everything to ensure daily life ticks over as it should. Well, I probably could have gotten more than 6 hours sleep if I ‘gave up’ writing but life would be unbearable :-).

Then a friend reminded me to nourish myself. It was then I realised in the midst of ‘doing’ living, I’d somehow forgotten to care for myself. You see, to look after myself as in to nourish myself takes more than eating the right foods and sleeping the recommended number of hours. I know this.

In essence, nourishing is more than meeting biological or physiological needs. Nourishing is about feeding the spirit and soul. By the way, nourish comes from the Latin word ‘nutrire’ meaning “feed” or “cherish”. It is defined as “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition”. Feeding myself is indeed practical, I dare not dismiss this need. Yet when I use the word ‘cherish’ then the tonality changes. To cherish… for growth, health and good condition… that speaks of something different, don’t you think?

Something like… floating on a cloud, blissful in the flow of life, feeling every sensation. Energised to meet the new day and looking on with a happy disposition at the possibilities, both positive and negative. Mhmm…

So have I cherished myself? Maybe a tiny bit, but not enough. I had dispensed my energy to the extent that I had little reserves left. I have not read much when reading have always fed my soul. I abandoned my walks in nature – to be in nature and in particular, to observe the flora and fauna gladden my heart, lift my spirit. I even stopped eating chocolate – yes, sacrilege indeed 🙂 Particularly, I cannot remember the last time I sat before the piano, indulging in a tune here and there. So many nourishing rituals I’d somehow ‘forgotten’.

So I figured, enough already! I may have been meditating for relaxation but it seems I have to be mindful of not getting caught in the daily grind and to nourish myself as well… one day at a time.

Have you been here, in this space? Busy and believing you are taking care of yourself, when you really are not? When all you do for self is ‘survival’, not nourishment?

Why not write down a list of things which you do for yourself, those gems which nourish your soul, which lift your spirit?

And if you don’t have a list, well begin one now :-). What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel sensual? What inspires you? What gives you a spring in your step even just thinking of it? What makes you feel sated?

When you and I wake each morning, we will look at that list of gems, pick one for the day. We will treat ourselves every day.

Will you join me?

 

nourishing soul

Stay wonderful. You are.

– FlorenceT

 

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

Ride the waves

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“I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime

I am prompted to write about ‘How do you keep positive’ by Ronovan for #BeWow.

Ideally, we prepare ourselves for the times when a positive attitude is required, when we need to look on the bright side of life. So what do we do? We practice self-care which comes in various forms – meditation is one that comes to mind for me, exercise for some serotonin, get some oxytocin happening (I meant hugs!), reframe our views etc.

Most of us have developed coping mechanisms too, some healthy some not so in the form of dependencies, obsessive behaviours etc.  Please don’t misunderstand – while coping mechanisms may include addictive behaviours, not all addictive behaviours are coping mechanisms. We learn skills, we fill our tool box with tools for those so-called ‘bad’ times. We toughen up or become resigned to our situation, we become cautious and vigilant or intently reckless, we withdraw from or reach out for human connection… well, we know what ours are 🙂

It is not naivete that informs me. Of course it is fantastic to have an arsenal of coping mechanisms, healthy ones which can provide relief in the process of ‘pain and suffering’. However, there is at some point, an acknowledgement, is there not that life can’t just be all rosy… can it?

In our expectation that life ought to be almost always positive and our resistance to prospective negative situations, we can instead be ruled by them. By focusing on the ‘bad stuff’ or their likely arrival, we have taken our eyes off the ‘good times’, the positive things we encounter each day in order to look out for the negative things. Inevitably, we are then still responding or reacting to a negative stimuli.

As with the crest and trough of the waves, life moves on…

We want to ride the waves on the high and the low, and stay afloat. Struggling against the movement of the waves and resisting will only tire us out.  So first we have to accept the waves…of its nature to rise and fall. Acceptance of the rolling waves allows us to enjoy the lull of its rhythm, we allow ourselves to be carried by it…to another place on its journey, all we need to do is stay afloat through the many coping and self-care mechanisms.

So first and foremost, ride the waves! 

I have no idea how I ended up with this given Ronovan’s prompt, guess this is a consequence of going with it :-)!

– FlorenceT

P.S. The above quote is an extract from the lyrics for ‘Rose Garden’, a song made popular by Lynn Anderson in 1971, and yes, I have used it a little out of context. 🙂

The image is ‘Boiler Bay Wave Rolling’ by Mike Dawson.

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

Happiness’ butterfly

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Sit.

Breathe in the crisp fresh message.

Let the words dance upon your heart.

Feel its vibrations.

Know.

Butterfly Sian TD

 

 

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.          

Richard Lessor

 

 

 

There are many interpretations to this quote. It spoke to me the very first time I came upon it, on a fridge magnet of all things :-), whilst on holidays years ago.  This fridge magnet now sits on my fridge door, reminding me of its different messages.

For today, it speaks of being true to myself, to live life as I envision it to be, to not compromise my values nor resign to the so-called vagaries of life.  It calls to me to embrace the life that is, to be in the moment and to savor these moments.

Be done with the years spent ‘doing’, of chasing the elusive butterfly. Live my life vibrantly, and let happiness find me,  let it sit softly on my shoulder for as long as it desires.

Happiness is not the destination nor the goal. There is nothing to ‘do’ or anything to ‘get’ in order to be happy.  Happiness is what happens of a life lived-well, with soulful intentions, mindful choices, and in spiritual connections to the world.  Happiness attends to you when you least anticipate it, and few of us realize this till it’s gone. But never fear, for the butterfly will surely return to sit softly on your shoulder as you attend to living. Be still.

Namaste!

– FlorenceT

 

Original artwork by SianTD (2015).

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

World Mental Health Day

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#WMHD10th October – World Mental Health Day…so what can you and I, and we as a community, do?

1. Put out a message of love and hope in blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, … you get the idea 🙂 ;

2. Send a message of support and encouragement to a friend, to a beloved, to one in need;

3. Establish a meaningful connection with one, just one, person today;

4. Ask a friend ‘R U OK?’ and stay and listen;

5. Take a ‘mental health’ day – do something you enjoy today because you deserve it;

6. Make a mental health promise to yourself;

7. Write a list of things you do that makes you feel better. 

8. Do one of those things today.  Remember:

mental health me

 

Have a beautiful day!

 

 – FlorenceT

 

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.