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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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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Back To Routines. #LifeThisWeek 5/52. 2017.17.

Back To Routines. #LifeThisWeek 5/52. 2017.17.

Yawn!

Str- e- tch!

Oh, here we go, back to routines!

Is this how it is for you right now?

I chose this prompt for this week as it is, for most of us, back to whatever routines form our lives.

We have, in many cases, had some time off from the usual routines and now it’s back to real life!

In our case, it’s actually been interesting NOT to have to get back to real life because we are retired from paid work, family responsibilities now our kids have well and truly left home and needing to be anywhere, somewhere by a certain time.

However there are days where we need to attend appointments and in my husband’s case perform his volunteer roles but we can take our day at a more leisurely pace. I know I needed routine in my life as a mother and a professional and it was via lists, preparation of meals and clothes ready to wear and generally having a running diary both in my head and on the fridge calendar.

Now, there are some routines I need to follow: eating meals, going for a walk, doing the blog and so on but it is less-timetabled and more free. It has taken me some time to become used to it all but now…love life with fewer routines!!

This sums up me in quite a few ways! The old me really.

I am someone who enjoys helping others and I also did some on-line research about the value of routines and agree that they are good for consistency and a smoothly operating family life…as best as can happen! I love this site that is Australian based and has many, many more helpful ideas for families.

Why routines are good for parents
Routines take some effort to create. But once established, they have lots of benefits:
* They free up time for you to think about other things while you work.
* Regular and consistent routines can help you feel like you’re doing a good job as a parent.
* When things are hectic, routines can help you feel more organised, which lowers stress.
* A routine will help you complete your daily tasks efficiently.
* As children get better at following a routine by themselves, you can give fewer instructions and nag less.
* Routines free you from having to constantly resolve disputes and make decisions. If Sunday night is pizza night, no-one needs to argue about what’s for dinner. Source: here.

What does “Back To Routine” mean for you?

Have you had a break from routine?

Do you find you can keep to a routine most days?

Can you give yourself permission to vary the routine and have some extra fun?

Denyse.

 

Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.
* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
* Please add just ONE post each week!
* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “What’s Enough Money?”.


I link up here with Alicia on Mondays and here with Kell too! Pop over and link up too!

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Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

This week, 47 years ago, my parents drove the 6 hours from Sydney to Barraba with 20 year old me, my luggage, teaching needs and more to check out where I would be teaching and where I might live!

I was more excited than nervous. This was me, getting ready for what I couldn’t wait to do! Teach. The school was located about 30 minutes drive from where my boyfriend of 3 years had just started his new job after graduating with his Ag Science degree, and we would likely meet up most weekends! Even though I didn’t have a car.

Sweet! But, where would I live? In those days single teachers often found accommodation in a person’s house as a boarder but I was not 100% taken with that notion. The school was open and that I got to meet the DP who was getting ready for school starting that week and asked him about accommodation. He mentioned the teacher share house just down the road from school where there was a vacancy. We drove to the house (see photo from screen shot!) met the already arrived 2 teachers (one was yet to come) and I was offered the place. All in the space of an afternoon.

Looking back, and speaking to Dad only recently about this whole experience, apparently Mum found it all pretty traumatic leaving her daughter behind. I recall her helping me get the bedroom sorted (my part of it as it was a shared one – the front room seen in the pic) and just being ‘Mum’ about it all. She cried on the way home Dad tells me. Oh. I found the truth of how that feels when my daughter left home aged 21.

This post one year ago is about my first school as a teacher.

Back to the topic! I had NO idea what it would be like to live in a shared household with 3 somewhat older women. We were all on the same staff of the K-12 school. However, I was the spoiled only daughter who had a social life as her priority rather than anything else to do with chores so I think, over time, I did not do well as a contributor to the house.

I learned to cook spaghetti bolognaise as we did have a cooking roster and I got some help there.
I did keep my room tidy. I used to save up my washing and take it home to Mum’s when I drove down to Sydney for a weekend every fortnight or so with the DP who would make me drive part of the way (and back) as he was visiting his fiancee.

My relationship with the boyfriend fizzled in Term One, so I became much more interested in socialising and holding Saturday night parties! The other housemates were generally away on the weekends. Once I met my now-husband in the final term, I did nothing. Except be lovelorn when he wasnt there and we married by the following year. I learned that I was a NOT a good household sharer. Marriage though was a BIG lesson!!

Thanks for my Facebook friends for their tips!

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Tips for Living In A Shared Household.

  1. Don’t live with Denyse when she is young and in love (my tip)
  2. Work out from the outset whether you’re going to do shared meals or fend for yourself.
  3. Allocate cupboard and fridge space accordingly. If doing shared meals, allocate a budget and draft meal plan.
  4. Use your words. Literally.Don’t get in a huff with your house mates when they don’t do things your way.
  5. Spoons in the sink when there’s a dishwasher two feet away can drive you mental.
  6. Hold regular house meetings.
  7. Work out who is an introvert and who is an extrovert. Make plans accordingly. In one share house I lived in, where people were incredibly busy and social, we instituted a weekly no guests night.
  8. Live alone.
  9. Some people suck at grocery shopping. Train them.
  10. If you own anything precious, don’t keep it in shared areas. It will likely get broken.
  11. Oh God, just don’t. The stories I could tell about my nightmare 4 months.
  12. Set ground rules – who does what, and what items are shared and which are your own.I think talking about things as they come up is great, so they don’t become bigger problems.
  13. And do fun things together – like house dinners and nights out, because they’re your new family. I loved my share house experiences for the most part!
  14. If you find yourself house sharing in middle age, as I have, share with a man. Living with another woman was too stressful and it’s never fair when both are set in their ways. The dramas were awful. Never again. My last two housemates have been men and it’s worked really well for all of us.
  15. Make them clean. Don’t just clean because no one else is doing it and it’s driving you slightly mental. You’ll just get resentful that you’re the only one who cleans anything.

So, have you ever lived in a shared household?

How was it for you?

What tips would you add?

Thanks for sharing!

Denyse.

Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.
* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
* Please add just ONE post each week!
* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week.   Next week’s prompt is “Back To Routine”.



 

I also link up here with Alicia and here with Kell on Mondays.

 

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Learning MY Lessons. 366/306.

Learning MY Lessons. 366/306.

The statement below is an excerpt from my blog’s page in the header. The commitment to blog daily until the end of 2016 remained true until recent weeks.

In 2015 blogging daily was my focus on some days as it was the ‘only familiar’ routine in a much-changed world for me. Retirement from my work life in education and schooling means finding other ways in which to connect with people. I am still learning! A work-in-progress!
The connections I have made and re-established via blogging have re-energised me and helped me focus on the on-line community I value. I look forward to making more connections in 2016.

So, whilst nothing significant happened, I started to realise I have been learning more about what else I can be doing and experiencing as part of my life’s major transitions. Yes, art and mandalas have figured high in that list. So too has been interest in learning more on-line about ‘self compassion’ and about ‘writing to heal.’ In addition to those I have been reading widely and learning much!

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Remember, I am a life-long learner!

I remain, like all humans a ‘work-in-progress’.

It has taken me a while to let myself actually stop blogging every day! I know! Sometimes the thoughts in our minds are not the best ones nor what we should listen to. Therefore, I am not committing to blog every day any more from today! I am not even thinking about blogging every day anymore.

I have to admit there have been some days where my motivation to ‘do a post’ has been AWOL but it was the commitment and the self-belief I am a finisher that made me keep going.

So, last week, just like that, I said to myself “why would I make myself continue to the end of the year for reasons that I made up?”

Silence. Then, “of course, I do not have to do that”…but I do have to add with some pride and accomplishment that today’s post makes it:

671 posts written and published since January 1 2015. 

Here are MY lessons….at least some of them, in messages from others wiser than I am ….and I am in debt to them.

Thank you, wise people.

img_5708-e1394949636359 lessons-quotes-2

 

My plan for blogging is less rigid and more flexible. I will continue to blog on Mondays for my link-up and keep to my prompts for Life This Week until they do not work any more. I will blog a new post for Tuesdays for I Blog On Tuesdays. I will blog and link up photography and other posts to link-ups I have followed for some time. I may blog using a variety of topics listed here and no longer on specific days. There will not be a post every day any more.

I am fine with this!

I am blessed and grateful to have many supportive readers and commenters and not everyone is a blogger which is also special for me. It has been such a great time getting to know people here and your encouragement has helped me more than you will ever know! I hope it will continue through this new stage and into 2017!

Thank You All!

Have you learned lessons from yourself and others?

What blogging practices have you changed about?

I welcome your responses and look forward to continuing to connect…because:

I Blog To Connect.

Denyse.

education 150

Joining Kylie Purtell and friends here for I Blog On Tuesdays, where an original post is part of the link-up requirement.

 

 

 

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This Quote! 366/276.

This Quote! 366/276.

I reviewed some of my old posts that are now in draft and up came this quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Time to share again!

 

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…

to leave the world a better place…

to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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How is your Sunday?

Denyse.

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Joining with Leanne for her Lovin Life Linky here.

 

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