Tuesday, December 6

My 'Smile' Moments

Here we are at the end of yet another year, season and time. Almost at the end of the 365 days that began only yesterday. As sure as there are regrets and unfulfilled dreams, so are there moments which, no matter how small or how few and far in between they are, do make us smile. I recall a few: one of them is my chime, the thought of which makes me smile secretly.

I had wanted a chime for the longest time and when I finally stumbled on one it had to have a teacup, no less. I mean, for someone who actually likes tea, it was the perfect thing. 
But on the day that we put it up, there was no breeze! Nothing moved! It was so quiet I got really worked up. All I wanted was for it to immediately begin to chime! Back and forth the window I went, peeking at it, wondering if we had hung it right. Maybe they aren’t aligned such that the tiniest sound can come through? I wondered why tonight of all nights there was no breeze. But I wasn’t going to go to sleep that night without hearing that thing! But finally, I did. Gently, quietly, those pretty, slim, pink cylinders came together in the sweetest sound I have ever heard, and I smiled so hugely, and the thought that popped in my head was ‘that is the promised sound!’ That is exactly what the chime is meant to do. No matter what part of the house I am in, I can always hear that very pleasing twink twink, however faint, and it never ceases to amaze me.

Finding those moments, making those sweet memories out of the small things and not necessarily waiting for the big ones, is important. And so, The Chime, which I have named The Sound of Promise, as well as my little Christmas tree, are a few of my favourite things. They automatically provoke a smile, and are a constant reminder that no matter what is going on, when the time is right…the time is right.

And just last night, I was remarking to someone that I hadn't heard that twink twink in a while, and right on cue....there it was. :-)

What are your ‘smile’ moments? If for some reasons you have none, create them and ….

…be free oh.

Photo Credit: Me.

Thursday, November 24

Thankful (yeah, that word!)

And today is Thanksgiving in America. What a coincidence! Well...

While it is a good thing to be consistent in these things, I want to believe that our giving of thanks, and this has nothing to do with religion specifically, is not something that we reserve for a special day. That it becomes special only because we want to be elaborate about the things we are thankful for and the reasons behind them.

In this year alone, so much has happened. In fact, sometimes we think we have seen it all, then even more horrific happens and we wonder. So much has gone down in this year alone; from continents, to nations, to homes, and individual lives. But, are we hopeful for a better next year? Oh absolutely. Surely we must keep hope alive? And we should be thankful that in spite of all that has happened we are still here to recount the tale.

I therefore hope that our giving of thanks has not become a routine, like saying ‘thank you’ out of politeness, not necessarily because we are truly grateful for something that someone has done even if it was a service we paid for. I hope that our giving of thanks does not become decades-old tradition that has somehow lost its true meaning, but which we carry on because, well, we just must. That today (and tomorrow, and always) we will make a deliberate effort to muse on gratitude, for things that we have, who we are, even for those events that have unfolded or that are unfolding, including those that do not seem to be in our best interest. I hope that thanksgiving will become something we are deliberate and consistent about...daily!

Be free oh. And thank you for reading.

Tuesday, September 20

When all is said and done...

I don’t get why we feel that nothing can happen because we have done all we can or need to do to cover all bases. However, the thing about life, which we all know, but which still confounds us when it happens is, anything can happen. The forces do sometimes conspire to remind us that we cannot always be in control of everything.

So, a few days ago all the operating systems in my house shut down. Completely. I arrived home after a tiring journey to find that there is no power, the inverter, generator, cable TV, internet, everything had shutdown. I could not recall that ever happening, nor could I explain how or why.

I had two choices: lose control at why this should be happening now, or take it in my stride and accept that it is one of those things that I can do nothing about at that moment and go to sleep. It was difficult, but I chose the second option.

But I learned a few lessons. One, no matter how much insurance I have in place, systems do fail. Secondly, the way I react in the face of that failure is purely my choice. Negative energy depletes, remaining positive helps me able to take a step back and re-strategize. And thirdly, while a bad experience might not leave me totally unscathed, I would have learned something, one way or the other. The way we react in the face of the small is a reflection of our reaction when the big things happen. With so much happening in the larger world, why sweat the ‘small’ things?

After all, what guarantee do we have in life? According to Joel Osteen 'you can’t control everything around you. Be your best and trust God to take care of the rest.' 

I vote we rest and be free oh!

Thursday, June 30

The Phone...

Our phones, our lifelines, literally!

The phone is like a second skin to some people, the thought of not having it on their person is incomprehensible and unacceptable. It is unbelievable to think we were without this device a few short years ago.

Sadly, only a few people have an ongoing battle with the phone being the center of their lives. I am doing my best not to be too attached. Again that is easy to do because I work with someone who is understanding; it is okay to forget the phone at home, and not move heaven and earth to get it on account of work. It is also okay to have it off and be unreachable sometimes.

We cannot afford to lose the human touch, physical relationships and our connection to the real world. But sadly, that is what is happening; we forget to call and actually speak with people on their birthdays and anniversaries. As long as we send a an online message and post photos, our 'duty' is done.

This torrid affair doesn’t stop even when we are with other people socially. Oh, it is worse when we are alone at events. We dive into the phone when we are bored, alone, shy, embarrassed or just don’t want to talk to other people. Sometimes we pretend to be on a call (Oh, I do that too) just so we are not forced to confront ‘aloneness’ at events, or be forced to speak to other people. I keep wondering, what did we do when we didn’t have this 'life companion?'

So one of the things I am learning to do is put it out of sight when I am with people. And if I end up alone at an event, I try not to make it my +1, but try to create an interest in the event or the goings-on, generally try to be ‘normal’ and actually initiate a conversation with the next person, that is, if they are not engrossed with their own phones!

Now I also put the phone away when I am driving since I almost ran into the car in front of me because I was trying to take a call a few weeks ago. The after-effect of that near-miss is not something I wish to experience ever again. Imagine if it weren’t a near-miss...

As people do ‘get away’ to de-stress and reboot, learning to consciously stay away from the phone is a habit that needs to be cultivated. I give advance notice to all my stakeholders, and off goes the phone, for an hour or two, or a day etc. You will be surprised that there will be no fire, and no one would have died on account of the fact that you were unreachable. That should teach us to think we are indispensable.

Think about it in another way, you would have had time to do things that doesn’t involve the phone. And if, even then you find that you actually have no life outside of it, perhaps it is time to create something worthwhile?

Be free oh!

Photo credits: Google Images

Wednesday, May 4

....then, do Something

As some of you know, I follow Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at the Sky. Emily has this slot on her blog posts where once a month she writes on 'What I learned Last month' and invites all and sundry to share. I confess that laziness kept me from putting my thoughts on there...but let me share it here with you. Very simple. Teeny tot...

Recently, I learned that though I should pray about everything (and I like to add 'no matter how small'), I really must go a step further by adding works to faith - 'faith without works is dead' and all, you know? For more than a decade, I have had to put up with this painless 'infection' on my toenails, one worse than the other. It is a 'long straight tear' down the nail, and no matter how fast they grow, they 'tear' off and look really unsightly. 

Now, the strange thing was that it never occurred to me to seek treatment for this problem. I prayed about it. Yeeesss...I prayed...and prayed, and watched the problem persist...then prayed some more. I never researched the problem, never thought to seek medical help, never discussed it with anyone, nothing, just moaned and prayed.
Then one day, I was with my sister in Brussels and we saw an advert for the treatment of toenails, we looked at each other in wonder and decided to try it out. 

To cut a long story short, I cannot believe the transformation and repair of my toenails in two short weeks! Then I got upset with myself. How is it we are so ignorant and suffer needlessly? The fact is that we have all that we need to resolve a problem, if only we would wake up to the fact. I didn't have to have suffered through the displeasure of a less-than-perfect toenail for so long. God is never going to show up in person to solve our problems. Pray, YES, but He has given us brains to think, and tools with which to work things out, but He blesses those steps as we take them. That is my own understanding, again. 

Lest I bore you with long readings, this is about my toenails, but then again it is not. Whatever it is you are obsessing about, perhaps its time to have a chat, perform a Google search, take some simple practical step, and then all will be well with you, and I dares say, the world!

Be free oh.

Thursday, January 14

I Want Popcorn!

I don’t know about you but I do not have a new year’s resolution. Not even the remote thought of one. No. I slid into the new year just like you might another day. Resolutions? Scary things for me, because they don't last past the first week.

So why are we on about New Year’s Resolutions? Well, because I had a terrible craving last night? Because I read a piece on gluttony this morning from a blog I subscribe to? Or it could be because what is flitting through my subconscious is to eat healthy, and be committed to exercise. Or could it be that what I want is to be healthy because, really, it is not about size, but rather that we should be committed to taking care of our bodies, not only in terms of ‘beautifying’ it but actually looking after it. After all, we can’t go anywhere without it!

I am not exactly a fan of popcorn, I eat it at movies, but mostly stay away  because when I start, I usually don’t like to stop. I knew I didn’t have any at home, but I went into my pantry anyway and checked, willing one to miraculously pop up (no pun intended) but alas. But then I became agitated, distracted and restless. I looked at the time, 8.36pm, and I seriously considered either putting the movie I was watching on hold and go find popcorn down the street. Self-control? Patience? Not an option right now, ok?

But while I was debating on what to do, a ‘miracle’ happened! My cousin called to say he was on his way to see me, and yes, I mandated him to not show up without popcorn!

You do realize that this is not really about the popcorn, right? But about our (sometimes inordinate) cravings for things we know are bad for us but which we absolutely must have. We all crave something. And we are so easily helped along because everything we desire is just a finger, a phone call away...accessible…have you seen the number of networks dedicated to food on our TVs?? Who wouldn’t want to try out all those menus, and just…eat? And failing the ‘try out’, order in and binge away? 

I am afraid my will is not strong enough to stand against all of these forces no matter how good my intentions. Then, having made a nonsense of my will, they pile up feelings of guilt, then depression. I would never know if I would have indeed driven out to get that popcorn, but what are the odds that my cousin would chose the day I am trying (well, yes, trying!) to avoid temptation to come see me? 

I have no answers to how we can be diligent and stay true when we are confronted by our 'original sins', but I know that if I start by thinking moderation is key in everything and that small, tiny portions are an option, then summoning up the will to actually have that tiny (omg) portion is a step. Then, taking one day at a time, and not beating myself to a pulp if I fall and give in,  surely I would make progress?

What more can I say? Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, and God did say He would not allow us to be tempt for more than we can bear…meaning...I gave in only because oh, I wanted to.

What is your ‘popcorn?’

 Be free oh. Be healthy.

Popcorn photo credit: Google.

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