Food for thought

When Life gives you lemons,make lemonade

As with most people, these past couple of years have been challenging and has affected my outlook on life. This hasn’t been as straightforward as I might have expected. Once I was able to get my head around the seriousness of the worldwide situation, I vowed to use my enforced lockdown wisely. I intended to learn new skills, get fitter, become more in touch with nature and generally work towards becoming a better person. Sounds familiar? Yes, a pledge made by many and like them, I too failed.

Initially, I was relieved and delighted at how communities were rallying round, helping one another, but as time passed, so did the weird euphoria that accompanied my gut wrenching fear.

With the planet seemingly heading for disaster, Brexit making life more challenging and the world in the grip of a Pandemic, It was me I was feeling sorry for. Angels of mercy ( medical & general public) were working every available hour, checking on and helping the sick and lonely, raising funds, supporting food banks and collecting food and clothing for those in need and much, much more. Many gave their time, after a full day’s work. I felt useless. Not only did I need to rely on outsiders for help, my health was steadily worstening, life had lost it’s promise. But far worse was to come, as my mood nose-dived. Negativity began to seep into my life. Without a positive outlook, I knew I was likely to be jeopardising my mental health.

All around, volunteers worked tirelessly, but their great work was spoilt by those who were only concerned whether they could possibly manage without their holidays in the sun. Their call changed from ‘Let me help’ to ‘What about me?’ I was sickened, how could some people lose compassion so quickly? But what did I do to try to improve the situation? How did I react? Rather than try to compensate for the uncharitable comments and selfish people, I wallowed in seas of misery and gladly shut myself away.

The following months were bleak. I attempted to shroud myself in my writing, but like all other attempts at creativity, I failed spectacularly. Regardless of what was happening in the outside world, I felt I had no legitimate reason to be here any longer.

Somehow I dragged myself through the monotony of limited daily life. I returned to my voluntary work, albeit in a restricted way, but once home, the dark clouds would come rolling in. Tears came with ease, but were awash with guilt. What had I got to feel so bad about? I’d caught Covid early on, but had recovered easily. I hadn’t lost any loved ones. I had a roof over my head and money to buy food and pay my bills. For me, nothing monumental had changed. I was fortunate, but couldn’t see it, which worsened my self guilt.

At one point I dug into my limited savings, giving more than I could afford to various charities in the hope of feeling more worthwhile. Although I’d helped a bit, I convinced myself that I was attempting to buy my way out of the situation, so didn’t get any sense of achievement, instead, more guilt. Why was I alive while others died?

Then the lightbulb moment came.

A tearful appointment with a caring GP and a change of medication, to relieve my physical pain, made a lot of difference. Now more able to meditate again, at one session, I got the sense of being given a spiritual ‘kick up the bottom’ and being told to buck up my ideas. I was taken aback at first, a bit insulted really, but the feeling intensified, rather than reduced. I reluctantly forced myself to take a hard look at reality. When my eyes were free from their shields, I realised friends had been facing serious problems, illnesses and personal dilemmas. On Facebook, I’d become dependant on a feed of cute kittens and amusing cats to keep my mind away from the real world. The ‘spiritual voice’ had been right. I needed to DO something positive before I could reap the rewards of feeling it. But how? What major issue could I challenge, or good work could I do? Another meditation, another reality check. I didn’t need to do anything newsworthy. Looking in on elderly neighbours, chatting with them, returning their calls if I’d missed them, remembering to ask how they or their families were, how the operation went, did their partner get the job, was the child happy, back at school. All seemingly small and insignificant things, but the recipients always seemed grateful. I opened my heart and welcomed new friends as I would, lifelong ones. I increased my hours at the charity shop, only staying away when my health was too bad. I stopped looking at myself and began looking at others. Wearing masks had, bizarelly, made many of us feel more invisible,. Unable to see their features, I focussed on their eyes and made sure a smile could be seen through mine. Once the spotlight was taken away from my miseries, I was able to use it to brighten other’s lives. I’m no saint, or miracle worker, but for some reason, these little gestures seemed to help people, including myself.

I’m happy to report that positivity has found it’s way back into my heart and shows no sign of leaving anytime soon. Not every day is good, in fact there are times when life feels very cruel and unfair, but every evening, the sun sets and rises with each and every dawn.

I’m trying to revel in each day as if it could be my last, because one day, it will be. I’ve acknowledged, then packed away hurts from the past, now they can only cause pain if I allow it – and I don’t. My life is simple, nothing exhilarating, but enough for me to find contentment. I’m so grateful to realise how lucky I am.

I’m fortunate that I can still afford to buy lemons – Lemonade anyone?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I’d be happy if you’d ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ my posts . It can feel lonely writing with no-one to read my words.

Health, Peace and love to one and all

Rosie xx

Food for thought

Why me?

I began this blog, bursting with positivity. I intended to write a post, at least weekly, hoping to inspire others, but despite good intentions, I wasn’t organised enough. Posts were written sporadically, occasionally two in one day, then perhaps a month or so before another. It wasn’t what I’d intended.

I was filled with recriminations, yet no matter much I blamed myself, nothing changed. I told myself I was a failure. I considered giving up, but before I could make that decision, life set it’s own rules. A succession of personal and health difficulties took away my choice. After a period in hospital, I expected things to return to normal (or what passes for normal in my world) within a few weeks, yet somehow, it’s been almost almost 18 months.

Since that period I’ve been unable to write anything worthwhile. My books, short stories, even my newspaper column fell by the wayside. Many times I’ve tried to find my muse, yet it seemed to have deserted me.

Already in the throws of deep depression, I felt bereft. Why couldn’t I write? It had been my coping strategy, helping me make sense of the world, but for some reason, I was left stranded. My self-esteem and confidence were dragging along the floor. Life seemed pointless. Two years previously, I’d been riding high. I live with EUBPD (emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder) so life can be a rollercoaster but this felt different. A long battle with DWP over my PIP entitlement had left me frail and exhausted, a mild heart attack soon followed. There was no point in writing- I had nothing interesting to say. My depression worsened, yet I couldn’t see that it was probably the cause of my writing block.
It took anti-depressants, good friends and a lengthy period of counselling with a wonderful psychologist before I faced reality.

I’m not Super Woman.

No matter what I’d like to be, I’m a disabled woman in my late 60s, living alone, doing my best to make a good life in difficult circumstances. Once I reconciled myself to those simple facts, things began to make sense. The fog began to clear.

There is nothing to prevent me from writing. I may not be Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but I have a gift and people tell me that my words help them, furthermore, my disastrous life experiences mean I have plenty to share with the world. So here I am, back again, writing my first blog in an absolute age. I’m a little rusty and not without a bucketful of nerves, but I’m doing my best.

Once I’m back in the swing of things, I’ll attempt to post regularly, but won’t heap unnecessary pressure on myself this time.

We aren’t given a life rule book, we just make it up as we go along. No one has any other choice. A fortunate few seem to have a comparatively easy ride, sailing through life with barely a blip, while others are constantly on the verge of collapsing under the weight of responsibility. Allowing the pressure to suffocate us is futile.

As far as I know, none of us has superpowers.

In life, some have been dealt a good hand, others not, but while some thrive on stress, others can barely cope. Yet even in the hardest lives, there is something positive to grasp.

We can’t all be highly successful or wealthy, yet we can still be proud of ourselves. Almost certainly you have a special talent. Are you shaking your head?

Let me show you…

Are you reliable?

A good friend?

Perhaps you are creative?

Are you extremely patient with children or the elderly?

Do people turn to you in a crisis?

Is your shoulder always available to cry on?

Are you loving and caring?

Perhaps you gave a natural affinity with animals?

Do you volunteer to help, or raise money for charities?

Are you passionate about the environment?

The list is endless. You might not find it easy to blow your own trumpet, but that doesn’t take away from your success. If even one person truly cares about you, you are a winner.

If you believe you’re failing in some aspect of life, don’t allow it to define you. Illness or circumstance can knock any of us off balance, but it isn’t the end. Lick your wounds if you need to, then get back up and continue your fight. For you, that might mean quietly, perhaps behind the scenes. Do it your way. As long as you don’t trample on others, how you get through your life is unique to you. You might be overlooked, even loved ones may fail to recognise your positive attributes, but don’t let that throw you off course.

You are a wonderful, unique person. Even if you think no one else believes in you – believe in yourself. Stoke the fires to keep your shining light burning brightly.

You are worthy, just as I am. We deserve the best possible life. It’s there for us, we just need to grasp it.

If you want life to change, you need to change it. If you sit and feel sorry for yourself (as I did), opportunities will pass you by.

Remember, success doesn’t need to be measured by income or status.

A good, kind person us worth far, far more.

Don’t just dream it. Live it. Remember, you have the world in your hands. Cherish it.

Rosie x

*********************************

Thank you for taking time to read this, if you enjoyed it, please like and hopefully follow me.

Food for thought, General ramblings

Never too old to Learn.

Like many people of the older generation, I was brought up to believe that once I’d exceeded my ‘best before’ date, new knowledge wasn’t something to worry about. Our poor old shrivelled brains don’t need to be bothered with such things.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY DISAGREE!

Agreed, information isn’t absorbed as readily as in youth, however learning anything can be invigorating and can keep life interesting, as well as helping to stave off the ravages of some forms of dementia.

Since I reached my 60s, now nearing my 70s, my thirst for knowledge has actually grown, even though I am unable to process/ retain some information due to stroke damage. However, by accepting certain limitations and changing direction in my quest, I’ve learnt that practical rather than academic subjects, are more readily stored in my brain. Favouring subjects with more relevance in my life, has been a real brain stretcher.

As someone who left school, aged 15 without qualifications, I always intended to attend adult education classes to gain at least the most basics certificates. With all good intentions, a large family & manic home life got in the way and when I was finally able to spare the time, my confidence had deserted me. I told myself that I was obviously stupid & would probably never have passed my exams, besides, how relevant could it be anyway? I can now see I was just making excuses to cover up my fear.

Shortly after my 60th birthday, my life changed dramatically when I found myself single again. With a little used brain & disabling depression, I felt like the village idiot. Try as I might, I was unable to retain anything. I was stupid!  But I knew I wasn’t! I’d simply limited my abilities for self protection. If I didn’t stretch myself, I couldn’t fail, could I?

Once I fought my way out of the depression, I needed to find something to keep me stimulated, to prevent the likelihood of a recurrence. And so my love of learning began….

It started on a very small scale, dabbling with pottery and art, with plenty of home reading. I became obsessed with holistic healing ( something I’d always even interested in.) Shortly before my divorce I’d surprised myself by training as a Reiki therapist, going on to become a Reiki Master, although I wasn’t really convinced of my worth. Once single, I began to relearn & gradually added to my list of holistic abilities. Lack of confidence was by far the biggest challenge, but no books could really teach me, knew I had to discover it for myself. Once I had achieved that, nothing seemed an impossibility, I could attempt anything that I wanted. Suddenly succeeding seemed less important than having a go.

With a lot of encouragement I became a flexercise leader ( I thought it was an easy option), but soon knew I didn’t want to stop there. Certain things were unrealistic due to health restrictions but I have since accrued a list of practical qualifications. Through my voluntary work I have taken training in Mental Health studies, courses in Life Coaching, first aid, food hygeine & safety. I am a Tai Chi Instructor, Food Waste Champion, set up a writing group and even led a women’s friendship group. I have written books, learnt to self – publish, even became a motivational speaker for a while. I can set up basic websites, and, for several months wrote a column in the local newspaper. For the last five years I’ve dedicated my spare time to a child cancer charity ‘Young Lives vs Cancer.’ I volunteer in one of their charity shops and absolutely love it.

Phew! I’m exhausted just reading that list. It’s as if it has happened to someone else, not me. Not stupid, unqualified me? Me who was only capable of making good cakes & looking after children?  Me, who thought that I was a write off!

I still don’t have academic qualifications. I enrolled on an English Grammer course, but soon realised that I was doing it for other people, for their acceptance and approval, not for myself. At my age I don’t need a certificate to prove my worth. My life is doing that!

Not every pensioner willingly shuts down their brain on retirement, many aim for continuing achievements, however far too many aren’t.

I’m not advocating that everyone follow my path. There isn’t one right way. Everyones’journey is different. However I wanted to share this with you all, to prove that nothing is impossible. If I can encourage one person to achieve something that makes them swell with pride, I will be delighted.

Life is very different for upcoming generations, where women in particular are more self – assured and able to follow their dreams more easily. Pre 1960s,Women were mainly required to be proficient housekeepers, wives & mothers, perhaps reaching the exalted heady heights of shop assistants once their children had left home. I was none of these. Thankfully that is in the past.

We are fortunate to live in a Country where we have many choices. Few live in squallor, in fact most are able to live reasonable well, in comfort, even if not in luxury. However, it breaks my heart to see so many older people, resigned to a life of loneliness & misery because they feel unworthy of anything more. Their latter years are filled with little more than a television for company. Too many don’t strive for, or expect to achieve anything more, believing they aren’t capable of anything else.

Three words : YES YOU ARE!

Two words : TRUST YOURSELF.

One word: BELIEVE!

Rosie x

**********************

I hope that you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to let me know.

Please ‘follow’, ‘share’ or ‘like’, it will be greatly appreciated. I really value those who read my ramblings. Thank you.

 

 

Food for thought, General ramblings

The power of self belief

As someone who lacked self confidence until fairly recently, I was plagued by doubt over whether I was worthy of true friendships. My faith being pushed to breaking point when my (ex)husband and best friend had an affair. This tore away any little shred of confidence that I had. Following that came my well documented breakdown and lengthy period of agoraphobia.

As can probably be understood, it took me years to trust anybody again.
When I found strength to re-launch myself into the world as a newly single woman, one of my biggest difficulties was how to make friends & of course, how to trust them.

I made aquintences fairly easily but couldn’t take the next step. I decided to resort to Using a positivity aid. I basically used a statue of a circle of women & kept a candle burning in it, asking the Universe to send friends into my life.
It worked extremely well but of course, drawing people into my life was only part of the battle. I needed them to want to remain. I thought long and hard about it, wondering what I needed to do. I read endless books and meditated yet the only answer I seemed to get was self belief. How could I believe in myself, when really I didn’t?

For a long time I struggled,never really understanding why people were hanging around, convinced that they would soon move on. I was really worried about how I’d cope without them.

Then a lightbulb flashed on!

I had been trying so hard to be what I thought people wanted, that I forgot about the possibility that they may ( just possibly) like me as I was.

This seemed too radical to accept at first. I had always tried to be what other people wanted. But my meditations kept telling me to trust myself and to simplify. Eventually I could fight it no longer. I took the huge leap of faith and decided to be myself, warts and all.

I stopped apologising for my inadequacies and tried just being me, pure and simple.
That act of belief and humility changed my life!

I treat people with respect and no longer try to second guess them. Who was I to think that I knew what they wanted?
I learnt to show gratitude for their friendship and realised that it was a two way street.
People now tell me that they feel comfortable with me and that they trust me. That’s all I needed to do- just be myself.
Friends can’t be conjured up, or coerced or forced, they stay because they like you as a person, irrespective of flaws. Once I learnt to respect their choices and respect myself, it all began to fall into place.

I am so fortunate to have some wonderful friends and I thank the Universe daily for sending me the wisdom of learning to trust in myself and to be true to who I really am.

Our uniqueness is one very special gift, one we should treasure.

Until next time, take care,

Rosie x

Food for thought, General ramblings, Inspirations, Uncategorized

Security in self belief

Two friends visited today, as I have been unwell. One of these is a newly found friendship, hence this was her first visit to my home.

Strangers tend to be taken aback by my decor, as it is eclectic to say the least! Goddesses, Buddhas & Native American Indians vie with each other to find their place amongst a rather excessive collection of crystals. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that I am what can be called ‘alternative.’ Living in a retirement flat, my choice of decoration doesn’t appeal to many of the other residents, but thankfully I’m comfortable enough in my beliefs not to worry about their opinions.

The new friend who visited already knew about my chosen path, just as I did hers, however it was refreshing to hear her opinion of my chosen deities. She follows a diffent path, although we are both pagan, in fact until a few years ago, my chosen route was similar to hers. We had an enjoyable conversation, It was really interesting to discuss why I do what I do & having a slightly different viewpoint was stimulating.

After they had left, it set me thinking about the confidence that I have & my way of expressing it. For too many years I attempted to ‘fit in’ & even more recently I felt the need to explain or justify my beliefs. I no longer do that.

Is it an age thing,I wonder? Certainly my confidence has grown with the passing years but I think it’s more than that. I feel comfortable in my own skin now. I don’t need to appease anyone or attempt to justify anything. This has released me from the constraints that I had grown up with. I’m not just older ( & single) I’m emotionally free to be myself. I don’t need anyones’approval to be who I am. It is so liberating!

As long as I don’t hurt anyone or intentionally offend, as long as I can like myself, look in the mirror & see a friendly, kind person looking back, then I know that I am on the right track. The right path for me. I don’t need to conform to anyone else’s ideals because I’m strong enough in my own. It’s a lovely place to be.

I hope that you are able to feel even a tiny bit as contented with your choices, if not, think about why you live as you do, maybe you could consider changing? but only for yourself. Being true to YOURSELF is the key to happiness & ultimately inner peace. I hope that you are able to find it.

I wish you love, peace & joy.

Rosie x

*********************

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please ‘like’, follow & share it with your friends & contacts. Let’s try & fill the world with positivity, happiness & harmony x