Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

While standing in the queue at a local supermarket I saw the guy behind me roll his eyes and sigh. I understood why. There were only two isles open and both of us had one item each. The woman in front was not only purchasing the entire supermarket (at least it felt that way) but returning some items. I tried not to make eye contact with the man behind me; I didn’t want to get caught up in his frustration but then I heard my own thoughts and they were no more patient than his. Here I was judging him for the very thing I was doing. That’s one enormous log in my eye! I too had been sighing and shuffling my feet and it occurred to me that whether I show it or speak it or think it, I complain a lot! So I started trying to figure out why, and believe me there was plenty of time to do that. As far as today’s incident goes, I could blame it on being time poor, inefficient supermarket operations, the lady in front of me but exactly what will that achieve? She is being served, there are two isles open, I have no choice but to wait and there is not a thing I can do about it. All the huffing and sighing and shoe shuffling and eye rolling and making that non-verbal “this is ridiculous” look with the guy behind me is not going to achieve anything but to make me hot under the collar. And I’ll just look like the impatient grumbler that I so readily judge everyone else for being (while doing it myself). Perhaps I have a saw mill and not just a log in my eye!

I have come to realise in the last few weeks that I spend an awful lot of time complaining about meaningless, pointless things when I have ten thousand more things to be grateful for. And today was one of the many reminders I’ve had lately. Slowly, slowly my thinking is shifting.

  • How can I complain about housework when I have a house and not a single room tin shed that I share with my entire family?
  • How can I complain about mowing and weeding when my backyard is not a rubbish tip or a laneway filled with sewage?
  • How can I complain about washing my windows when I don’t have to walk miles to collect dirty water just to drink?
  • How can I complain about the wait at the doctor when I have numerous GP’s and hospitals within 50km of my house?
  • How can I complain about the cost of electricity when I can sit down in front of my TV for hours on end while playing with my computer, iPad, iPhone, kindle, MP3, playstation etc…
  • How can I complain if the kids say they are bored when my child hasn’t been kidnapped and forced to become a child soldier?
  • How can I complain about the piles of laundry when I have enough clothes that I could wear 50 outfit combinations a day and still not have gone through my entire wardrobe?
  • How can I complain about the queue at the supermarket when I have more groceries to choose from than some people would eat in a lifetime?
  • How can I complain about my old car when I don’t have to walk miles to work or school with the threat of being raped or robbed?
  • How can I complain about traffic congestion when I have an abundance of well-constructed roads that will get me anywhere I want to go?
  • How can I complain about overcrowded classrooms when my children are guaranteed education?
  • How can I complain about my wage when I haven’t been sold into slave labour?
  • How can I complain about the cost of lamb when there are those who don’t’ know if they’ll eat today?
  • How can I complain about my minor cold when I’m not faced with the daily threat of rabies, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV or dysentery?
  • How can I complain about the queue at the fast food store when my child doesn’t look like a skeleton?
  • How can I complain about how cold winter’s been when I have jumpers, jackets, an electric blanket, doona and heater and I’m not sleeping under a cardboard box?
  • How can I complain about the heat of summer when it’s not going lead to a severe shortage of crops, loss of livestock, starvation, dehydration and death?
  • How can I complain about how long this blog is when, by the time I’ve finished writing it around 600 people living in poverty will have died, half of them children under five?

In our first world countries we are not without problems but for those of us doing ok, many of our “problems” are associated with our luxuries. Our roads are congested yes, but they are congested with people going to work, to visit family or friends or to go shopping. Some of our classrooms might be a little overcrowded but our kids have easy access to education. Our cost of living is rising and for some that is more than a challenge but for most of us it just takes away some money we would have spent on ourselves anyway. We live in a consumerist society, we want more of what we already have and envy what our neighbours have even though we don’t want it. We overfill our bellies, decorate our houses and amuse ourselves with whatever new gadget has come out. I am pointing the finger directly at myself here. I can get frustrated sure, but it’s time to get over it real quick and look beyond my frustration at my blessings. As someone who is blessed, abundantly blessed, what right do I have to complain about the results of those blessings? Because I am so far removed from those who live without it often seems only a tragic story. What can I possibly do for those in my nation and those overseas? There are things I already do but I can do so much more and it starts with my attitude.  I can change my thinking and as I change my thinking, I believe my attitudes and actions will change. I want my gratitude to grow legs in my community and beyond!

I heard someone quote rule one of the “10 rules of being human” by Cherie Carter-Scott this morning. Rule 1 says:

Blue-Banded Hermit Crab (Pagurus samuelis) spo...

Image via Wikipedia

“You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period”.

Ahhh! And here I was thinking that eventually I would morph into some gorgeous Gisele Bundchen or Elle McPherson! I have never been happy with my body. When someone asks me what feature I like about myself I have always answered “my feet”, not just because I think I’d be a pretty hot foot model – I mean you want to see some shoes really look good in a magazine, use my feet – but because for my whole life I have had a great dislike of the body I was given. It doesn’t matter what people say or what my eyes actually see in the mirror, I see something else, something that deserves my disdain. And the ridiculous thing about it that this hasn’t changed even when my body has.

Hearing the above quote got me thinking, really , what am I so concerned about? The human body is nothing more than a shell. It does not define me despite what the world would have me believe. Consider the hermit crab; as he grows he need to crawl out of his shell and into a slightly bigger one. The new shell may look entirely different but he is still the same hermit crab. Of course I’m not suggesting the hermit crab has a whole individual personality like humans but you get my point. If I could remove my body, my shell, would I suddenly be without a personality, without character (whether flawed or not)? Would I become catatonic, just existing until my last breath? Absolutely not! The essence of who I am is found not in the flesh and muscle that make up my exterior but in the inner part of me. Of course the superficial aspects of a person’s personality can alter somewhat as their body does but not their entire character. I’ve never heard it said that someone had so radical a personality change that they became an entirely different person in every way when they lost or gained weight, had plastic surgery, became disfigured or lost a limb. Aspects of their personality might change, even if only temporarily, but their true essence is the same. A blind person for obvious reasons discerns your character by the way you speak, act and react; looks have no impact what-so-ever and nor should it for the rest of us.

And so, how to love the body we are given? Well I could ream off a half-dozen principles, philosophies or practices that could work but clearly that’s a case of not practising what I preach because I still only like my feet! However recently I started reading a book called “Who switched off my brain” by Dr Caroline Leaf. She discusses what research is now showing us about the chemical effects toxic thoughts can have on our life, so much so that not only do we come to believe the things we say about ourselves it also affects us emotional, mentally, spiritually and physically. I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says nor do I think it’s as simple as may be implied but I appreciate very much the theory she discusses. I am keen to finish the book and start looking at some of the tools she offers in this book and her new ones. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of defining my character by how I look and I hate it even more when I hear other people, especially young girls, constantly put themselves down or reject compliments, whether about their looks or their personality, based on their distorted perception that “body ALONE is beauty” and defines who we are. I am given one shell, for life. I may as well accept it and get on with living rather than try to climb out of my shell and into another. I am not a hermit crab!

Australians, until perhaps the last decade, have not been flamboyant when it comes to displaying pride in their nation on Australia day. Our style has been to simply relish the public holiday with a BBQ, family and friends. More recently though Australia day has become more about acknowledging who we are as a nation and expressing gratitude for all the things that make Australia a wonderful place to live. As well, our national flag is making an appearance as a hat, a towel, a t-shirt, out the front of homes, on cars and so on and  I would have assumed it is because of the pride people have in their nation, but I heard this week that there are those who consider it an act of racism. I can not for any amount of thinking, understand how this could be deemed so. I understand that there are both individuals and groups who consider themselves superior to others, who would, if they had their way, banish anyone not of their liking from living in Australia but they are not the majority and nor do they speak for the majority. I also acknowledge that we have had some dark periods in our history where we have treated others in abhorrent ways and of course this could indeed lead people to thinking that we are a racist nation but it is simply not so.

How can I as an Australian, celebrating Australia day possibly be considered racist by displaying the flag of my nation on my national day of pride? I have a few little flags around the house and some flag tattoos for the kids but I do this because I love my nation, with all her faults, and this is my day to show it.  By doing this I am not excluding those from other countries; I don’t care who you are, where you came from, what language you speak, or what colour you skin is because it is those very things that makes this nation what it is today. An “Australian” is not defined by colour, race or language, I embrace our multiculturalism and when I fly my national flag I do it for all those who consider this country their home whether permanently or temporarily.

We are indeed a multi-cultural nation and if you were not born here but have immigrated her for whatever reason whether because of greater opportunity, to be with family or because of devastation in your own country I embrace you and your culture. I am not asking that anyone change all those things that define their heritage because they bring these things to this country making us the nation we are today. Australian way of life is as richly diverse as the landscape itself and it’s only that way because of the multitude of people from other nations that have immigrated here. So I will not take down my flag because I fly it with a sense of pride in my country and all her people’s wherever they may be from. Happy Australia Day!

A Morning Prayer

Posted: 14/12/2011 in Life
Tags: , ,

A Morning Prayer

As I start this day dear Lord

My little prayer to you

Is that you would walk with me

In everything I do

Whether in valley or on mountain

In desert or by water

Whatever this new day may bring

Please Lord guide you daughter

Guard my heart, your dwelling place

I pray my thoughts stay pure

Fill me with your love instead

Your Spirit’s power to endure

Give me wisdom too Lord

And courage in my trials

Strength to resist temptation

And to frown less than I smile

Help me treat relationships

With a godly love

Strike down pride and envy

Let humility rise above

Open my eyes to suffering

To serve those with great need

Grant intolerance for injustice

Poverty, abuse and greed

May those whom I encounter

See Jesus within me

I pray my words and actions

Bare witness unto thee

May I always walk in your will

Be of service to others too

And when the day has ended

To hand it back to you.

 

© M.S 14/11/2011

 

Life is Beautiful

Posted: 30/05/2011 in Life
Tags: ,

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

Life is so very beautiful, each day a new beginning,

The future holding mystery, yesterday’s memories dimming.

 And as you lay your head to rest and reflect upon your day

 Was there any deed left undone, or something more to say?

 Morning breaks, your mind is filled with tasks yet to be done

 You wonder if there’ll be a chance to stop and have some fun.

 At times you feel like your alone, though friends are all around

 Yet in balance, you enjoy, the solitude of peace, no sound.

 Reflecting on the past can shed a tear or bring a smile

Sometimes you feel through hardships you have walked 1000 miles

Tomorrow can be daunting when you’re unsure where you’re going

And yet sometimes exciting, making decisions and not knowing

Hindsight is a gift of learning and hardships are our growth

They are tools of wisdom if we only use them both.

While planning is important and goals need to be set

The spur of the moment’s exhilarating as long as you don’t fret

And though a sense of serenity can seem so out of range

You are surprised when 24 hours can bring about so much change.

Despite the tears and heartaches, or woes shared with a friend

The fun of relationships building or ones yet still to mend.

Through all the joy and laughter or moral lessons learned

The trials and the triumphs or bridges that have burned.

Counting the gains and losses, regretting what has been

Reflecting on your journey and all that it has seen.

Just live each day the best you can, it’s the only today there’ll be

And who knows of the future, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Remember life is beautiful, entwined happiness and sorrow

No matter what has come and gone there’ll always be tomorrow.

©Mels33 2001

 

As is said in the timeless cliché, another year gone.  2009 looms before me, teasing me with the curious reflection of the year past.  Why does the human race, a still complicated species, expect that life transformation will come with one night, the counting down of a clock, the solemnly vowed resolutions and the reminiscence of another year past.  Does the New Year make us better people; do we really try and remain true to our promise of transformation?  Perhaps the reality is that we start the very minute of the New Year doing those very we swore to change or find ourselves with our head in the toilet, figuratively or literally.

 

As I step off the curb of 2008 onto the road of 2009 with the rest of humanity, swept up in the self satisfaction and arrogance of the 21st century, I want to pause and think about what my real goals are, what do I want people to remember me by?  I will not start a new year by regretting past failures and lamenting over my youth, now only a sunset of memories.  Neither will I stride to the conformities of today’s society.  I am not a radical, shouting for followers, just a girl embracing her thirties, willing to accept the testings and trails of life along with the unexpected joys that family and friendship bring.

 

In regards to those new years resolutions, do I have any?  Of course I do.  It would be foolish to act as if I am different to anyone else, but I want something else at the start of this new year.  I have dreams, heart desires, and passions to fulfil, deep soul yearnings and all these I add to my clichéd list of end of new years resolutions. Happy new year all.