Thursday 27th April 2017

Introducing Telling My Story. 2017.60.

Introducing Telling My Story. 2017.60.

In the past few years my life has changed in many ways.

I could say it has happened from the time I turned 60 I guess and at 67 now, it’s been for longer than I imagined.

I am naming this part of my life a transition yet it is more than that.

Like all humans I am living my life and maybe unlike all humans I am trying to understand myself and my life journey better.

Blogging is going to be one of the ways in which I recount aspects of what I have been learning:

I am a life-long learner.

My story is what it is.

My story.

However, it may help me in writing more about it instead of alluding to part of it or directing readers to past posts.

It is quite hard to confess to finding aspects of life as I knew it have left me and I am needing to become used to what is now.

I will write from time to time and it may be about some strategies and resources I have found helpful.

It maybe necessary to tell  the truth of what it has been like for me. And how that has affected my relationships, with myself included for the past few years.

Like I said, I am telling My Story.

Today makes it the introduction. I do not know when the next one will be.

This work, Stop, from Jeff Foster, in his book: ‘The Way of Rest’ Finding the Courage to Hold Everything in Love is about mindfulness, stopping, staying present.

I would have to add this is one of my biggest challenges. I wrote about ‘uncertainty’ here last week.

 

Whatever is happening in the circumstances of your life, stop. Just for a moment.

Bring your attention toward the here and now. Let the moment become fascinating. Gently begin to acknowledge what is actually happening where you are. Come out of your conclusions about life, your dreams about past and future, and being to notice the sensations, feelings, thoughts that are present, right here and right now.

Let your present experience – sights and sounds and smells – become the most curious dance in all the universe. You are seeing, tasting, touching, hearing the world as if for the first time. This is your Garden of Eden, your messy, intense, joyous, and heartbreaking Garden of Eden and you are awake to it at last.

Stop trying to figure everything out. Give in. Give up. Give all to the moment’s embrace.

Fall into not knowing…

 

I hope that you will find My Story of interest and that it will be something that speaks to you to help you in some way. I do not think we have spoken enough nor even considered what it means to become older, to stop work, to find yourself adrift in some ways where you thought there was security. I write to help me as I look back and move forward into whatever is to come.

Thank you for reading!

Denyse.

Posting for the first time for I Blog on Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell here.

Then joining with Leanne and bloggers on Thursday here for Lovin’ Life link up.

 

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Uncertainty. 2017.57.

Uncertainty. 2017.57.

Did this headline make you a bit wary?

I do not like uncertainty.

However, I am learning that there is no such thing as certainty. Except for death. Apparently!

It makes me nervous and curious and I know how I must remember  that somehow I need to accept uncertainty.

Why?

I would have to say because I have grown very weary of trying to control what I cannot control…but thought I was! Is that familiar?

My journey (yep, I like the word and it stays!) has taken me on a number of learning paths as I seek help to understand life as I don’t know it!

One such person is Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and her many books and teachings are in my library now.

I have this book beside my bed and read one chapter a night. Most nights anyway!

This excerpt is from chapter 14.

According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognising these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are.

The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact.

It means life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it.

We want permanence; we expect permanence. Our natural tendency is to seek security; we believe we can find it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration. We use our daily activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation. expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermance and death.

We don’t like it that we age. We are afraid of wrinkles and sagging skin. We use health products as if we actually believe our skin, our hair, our eyes and teeth, might somehow miraculously escape the truth of impermance.

The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating to impermanence. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change.

Acknowledging this truth doesnt mean we are looking on the dark side. What is means is that begin to  understand that we’re not the only one who can’t keep it all together.

We no longer believed that there are people who have managed to avoid uncertainty.

Comfortable with Uncertainty. Pema Chodron. 2003. Shambhala Publications.

I am a life-long learner and I have been learning more lessons about life and me in the past few years than I ever felt possible. I have great respect for the words of Brene Brown and have signed up for this combo of courses on-line called Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. If you are interested in knowing more, here is the link.

Have you given much thought to what it is to be uncertain?

Do you struggle with the notion that we are not really in charge of many aspects of our lives as we might prefer to be?

I’d love to hear your comments.

Next week I am finally owning up to the vulnerability of telling my story. It won’t be confined to one post!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and friends  here who are part of the inclusive and lovely link up Lovin’ Life.

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Try A Little Kindness. 2017.56.

Try A Little Kindness. 2017.56.

I listened to a lot of Glen Campbell as a young adult and my husband and I continue to enjoy the oldies but goodies by this man. It is sad that he is very unwell with Alzheimers disease now.

In the spirit of my word of the year

..and letting the whole world know we need more KINDNESS in our lives…right now…here it is. The lyrics and the gentle Glen himself singing it way back.

I will not apologise for the earworm because I think we need to sing it. All together now….

Try A Little Kindness

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don’t walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Songwriters: BOBBY AUSTIN, CURT SAPAUGH
© OBO APRA/AMCOS
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

Glen Campbell sings here.

Credit: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Memories64&qft=+Filterui:userpage-memories64&FORM=VQCHNL

I do hope that you find a way to show a little kindness today and forever.

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell and friends who blog on Tuesdays here. Thanks for link up Kylie!

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Tears For Healing. 2017.51.

Tears For Healing. 2017.51.

Like many I have thought tears shed were a sign of not dealing with what is or what was.

I was wrong.

I have been shedding tears more than ever in the past few months, and over the past 2+ years, and whilst I knew in someway they were helping I continued to see them as a sign of weakness.

I take that back.

When I saw these words from Washington Irving I realised I have been healing myself and will continue to do so.

Sharing them here:

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.

Washington Irving

 

The grief of losses of lifestyle & what I’ve left behind since 2014 is there but also I have hope that my tears are helping me accept the changes I am noticing as I am ageing. ❤

Do you shed a few tears, have a good weep and allow yourself to heal and accept what is?

Denyse.

Joining the lovely Sammie and her friends here for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole on the weekend where bloggers link favourite posts and share the bloggy love.

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 12 Intention. Practise Self-Compassion. 2017.44.

Week 12 Intention. Practise Self-Compassion. 2017.44.

After living a life with many distractions, busy-ness to the max and more, I have found the quiet times in retirement are quite a challenge. Why? Because there are more stretches of time and space in which to think.

For me, it’s interesting to notice how I continue to strive and how I continue to want others to see me doing well in my quest for greater equanimity in my life overall and better management of my IBS.

Who is out of this real or imagined group who support me? Often it’s me.

I remain steadfast in my older, learned early, self-critical views and I am S L O W L Y learning to remember my self-compassion when I am not doing so well. It is not every day because I am making progress!

I am pleased to note, that when I started a Self-Compassion Course on-line with Kristen Neff and Brene Brown my overall score was: 1.93 and when I completed the course it was: 3.11

“Average overall self-compassion scores tend to be around 3.0 on the 1-5 scale, so you can interpret your overall score accordingly. As a rough guide, a score of 1-2.5 for your overall self-compassion score indicates you are low in self-compassion, 2.5-3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5-5.0 means you are high.”

So, what I take from that ‘score’ is I am improving in my self-compassion and I am remembering to speak more kindly to myself in difficult circumstances.

My Week 12 Intention.

This week I am going to practise self-compassion more. In fact, I will even make it something I do throughout the day in the smallest way. It might be a ‘go me’ under my breath or a literal ‘pat of kindness’ on my arm when I need soothing.

If you want to take the self-compassion Test, it is here: It is free and I find the work of Kristen Neff and fellow researchers fascinating. Self-esteem it is not!

I wish you well if you decide to take the test. It is very insightful.

Denyse.

UPDATE: I have chosen to reduce my blogging output as of this week so as to be more mindful of my self-care and self-kindness. I am not making any further intentions at this point. My life has been on a learning curve as part of ageing and transition to living with both a chronic condition (IBS and its accompanying limitations)  and the stress which is part of my inner being. I am wanting to feel less inward pressure on myself and needing to care for myself more. Blogging has been a part of my life for more than 6 years and will continue to be but I am blogging now for when and if I choose to. I know that regular  readers will completely understand my new(er) direction as of today! Thank you!

A reminder is in this image: 

 

Joining with Leanne and her lovely team for the  Lovin Linky on Thursdays here.

 

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Week 11 Intention. Recognise ‘It’s In Me’. 2017.40.

Week 11 Intention. Recognise It’s In Me’. 2017.40.

Every time I turn around to look for an answer to what life is dishing up to me now I see that it’s up to me how I address it and how I react/respond.

Until recently I thought that meant “ME” alone. However, with good advice and a cooler head helping me, I realise it means that I can see and seek how to act and solve issues for with tools at my disposal.

These might be professionals. taking my own advice and getting outside, reading an article, doing an on-line course and the like.

I just need to remember to find them and ask for the help from others where it’s useful.

But what I know is that it is all within me.

The poem from Mary Oliver captures the essence of what it is for me. Thanks for my husband (my wonderful confidante, friend and life guide) for this.

Last week, and continuing on, the Gratitude Journal app is having entries almost daily. That’s a win!

My Week 11 Intention.

To recognise that all I need is in me. I need to take into account the ‘in-built guide of my mind’ and the tools I have external to me that can also help me as need be.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead too. It will likely have bumps and scrapes but will have YOU to guide you too.

Denyse.

 

Linking here with Leanne on Thursdays for Lovin Life. Hello everyone!

 

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Week 10 Intention: Gratitude. 2017.36.

Week 10 Intention: Gratitude. 2017.36.

I’ve blogged before about writing in my gratitude journal on a  regular basis. Then, as if by ‘magic’ the habit gets waylaid. I know that when I made entries in it I could focus on the big and small things that I am grateful for.

I have an app and it gives me a reminder. I am back! It’s a paid app called Gratitude Journal – The Life-changing App. I like it because I can add photos as well as text. There are many others out there too

However, I also practise gratitude more these days without always recording it.

Gratitude has taken some criticism of late in some circles, as does the notion of whether meditation helps us if we cannot shut out our thoughts – by the way, you can’t and that’s OK too!…So I go along with what works for ME!

Here’s some information gleaned about gratitude from a great website worth subscribing to..it’s free. Source:

The Greater Good. 

Physical
• Stronger immune systems

• Less bothered by aches and pains

• Lower blood pressure

• Exercise more and take better care of their health

• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological

• Higher levels of positive emotions

• More alert, alive, and awake

• More joy and pleasure

• More optimism and happiness

Social

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate

• More forgiving

• More outgoing

• Feel less lonely and isolated.

The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.

Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

Thank you to my lovely commenters relating to my ‘go gently’ intention. It “was” a tough week (I am getting somewhat familiar with those!) but I did treat myself more gently and now am ready to accept that some weeks/months/years ARE indeed tough as that is LIFE.

My Week 10 Intention.

To practise gratitude each day, and continue onwards after this week, by noting what I am grateful for and by recording a summary each evening in the journal.

What do you do to practise gratitude?

Denyse.

Joining the lovely Leanne’s linky called Lovin’ Life on Thursdays.

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My Week 9 Intention. Go Gently. 2017.32.

My Week 9 Intention. Go Gently. 2017.32.

almost decided not to post an intention this week.

Why?

It’s been a hard week on me, emotionally and physically.

The physical part relates to a bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome which went for longer than before – over 5 days.

The emotional part is how the above affects me ON top of the other life challenges I am facing.

So, with the advice of my health professionals and those who love me, I have come here to make an intention because the blogging needs to continue if it is to tell a story of my life in words.

Last week’s Perspective intention was noted from time to time and helped me somewhat. As always, I am human and a work-in-progress.

More stressors have become made known to me in recent days and I would not be honest if I did not say they are hitting me hard.

So, I am going gently. In taking care of myself and being a friend to myself. I have downloaded some excellent hypnotherapy audios from Audible and they are helping me along with meditation and being outside.

My week 9 intention is to go gently. To take time to recover and rest. To use  self-talk that is kind and non-critical affect.

 

How do you manage your well-being in a crisis?

Denyse.

Joining Leanne’s Lovin Life linky here on Thursdays.

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