Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

I hate that feeling when I know that I am doing something right but it still makes me a little uncomfortable on some level. Part of me wishing that I did not know about anything and could just ignore it. I guess the term is being “blissfully ignorant”. And blissfully stupid. Treading outside the usual comfort zone.

It occupies my mind a lot lately. I know there is always the option to just walk away and ignore but I am not that kind of person. Walking away from something, which I know to be a good thing to stand up for, just because it is outside my every day comfort zone… well that would be much worse to live with. I could not face myself in the mirror, knowing I walked away because I was too chicken-shit to rock the boat.

Taking a stand against or for something is not as easy as it sounds it seems. I mean, look around; every day we are encouraged to just go blindly ahead with our ordinary lives, in an ordinary way, not causing any trouble, not upsetting the order of things. – Who decided the order though?

Go to work and invest your life, give 110% in work because that will make you successful and then you will get somewhere. – But go where and how will that fulfil your life? Working until you are burned out and then what? Will any corporation actually give a toss or just as easily replace you?

Watch TV, preferably a mind-numbing TV reality shows where you can say “well at least my life is not that pathetic”. Watch the news, see how others live and how they mess up so that you can feel good about yourself. – But it is becoming more and more clear that even the news these days are angled for some agenda and no longer unbiased.

With our minds numbed from work, exhausting us to earn money for someone else, to one way TV fed information, telling us that you should focus on consumerism and a superfluous living, why should we care about anything else?

To me it seems that independent thought and a willingness to stand up for others is something that is frowned upon today. Don’t rock the boat.

We have become complacent in our lives. Nothing fazes us any more because we will not acknowledge anything that is uncomfortable to know or hear about. If we do not acknowledge it then we do not need to look into it, we do not need to make a stand for or against. We do not need to care. It has become too easy to not care.

All through-out history people fought for freedom, rights and the very lives that we are privileged to live now.

Does that mean that we can just sit back now? That we are done and we can leave others to whatever end?

There will always be evil in the world. There will always be injustice. There will always be a need for someone to say “stop” and help. If that someone is joined by another and then by another then we can all act together and make a better world. It may sound very altruistic but really, if no-one tries then how will anything change for the better?

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” – Dalai Lama.

But no, it is not easy to rock the boat. On the other hand knowing I can help rock the boat and make a positive difference, however small, also means that turning my back on it would be even worse.

Complacency is the worst evil in this world. Look around you and be that someone who reaches out and says “stop”.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. “ – Edward E Hale

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One of the best advice I ever got was to write down my thoughts when things felt overwhelming. Initially I could not see the benefit of this. Why would I do this? How could it help me? How would that give me any answers? These were questions I asked myself.

At the time I knew I could no longer express how I felt to others. Not because others did not care but I started to feel like I was a burden. How many times could I repeat the same lament? How many times could people bear to listen?

It is strange when all you want is to feel happy but you just don’t. When you know you need to “snap out of it” but you can’t. I knew I was stuck and I felt like a broken record stuck on repeat. So I stopped saying how I felt. I stopped trying to talk about it. I could not pretend to say things were OK because I just did not have the energy to even do that. I stopped.

With no answers I started to write. Longer pieces, shorter pieces, letters addressed to no-one. Sometimes I pretended I was talking to a friend. Sometimes I just wrote down a mass of words jumbled together. I did not receive any answers but somehow it lessened the tightness in my chest. Piece by piece what I wrote down lighted the burden. Maybe it was because I could be brutally honest. Not having to take into consideration how others might feel. Not having to think about not wanting to worry anyone. I just wrote.

How I felt then and how I feel today is vastly different. Today I look at life and smile. I have a curious positive outlook forward. There will always be down days of course but in general I feel pretty damn good.

I am not trying to say that writing down how I felt back then made me all happy now. There are so many things that made that happening but I am not writing about those changes today. What I am trying to say is that writing down my inner most feelings and thoughts when I was at my lowest helped me getting through it.

Recently, for the first time in a long time, I actually dared to look at those entries that I wrote back then. It was both a scary and emotional experience. I had forgotten how low I felt. I am glad that I once again can put them back in the box. Not forgotten but eased out of mind with a few lessons learned.

Sometimes a simple advice can make all the difference. An advice I will be eternally grateful for.

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Autumn has most definitely arrived in Dublin. The rain has not stopped since yesterday afternoon and the trees are still showing off their leaves. The world is looking colourful. It is beautiful.

Now those who know me, will know that rain is not one of my favorite things in the world. Normally I spend rainy days under a blanket, planted on my sofa with a good book and cup of tea. However today I decided to go outside and take a few pictures before the next autumn storm will scatter all the leaves and just leave us with bare branches for the next few months.

I readily admit that I do not know a thing about photography. If you start talking to me about ISO, white noise and shutter speed settings you will just receive a blank stare from me (you might get that on other occasions as well but lets not go into that…). Which also means that half the settings on my camera are a mystery to me.

You see, the thing is… I spent an afternoon a while back looking at old pictures. I used to only take pictures of people – different gatherings and parties and so forth (if I remembered to bring the camera in the first place). I still love those pictures because they bring back fun memories. However I realized that I hardly ever take pictures of what is around me. It is easy to take all that for granted.

Another thing I have realized lately is that there is beauty to be found everywhere. If you only open your eyes and look. There is enough ugliness in the world as it is – let us not spend our days trying to find more to add to the pile unnecessarily.

So out I went with my umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other – getting strange looks from people hurrying past me as the rain kept lashing down. I can honestly say, I had a great time.

Now… I think I will find that blanket, grab a book and a cup of tea and relax on my sofa.

 

Sometimes it is too easy to focus on all that is annoying and frustrating out there. When you look and all you see is the frustrations in work or school. When you focus on the people who are getting you down. When all you can say are smartass comments about someone’s stupid behavior.

Look around you. What do you see? Everywhere are comments that point out how dumb, stupid and bad someone else is. Everywhere there are programs focusing on people behaving badly. Everywhere someone is saying that someone else did something wrong.

Well… criticism is all well and fine. If it is constructive. Questioning your surroundings and the people around us is something we always should keep in mind. If we do not question, then how can we right something that might be wrong? BUT… when the questioning and criticism just becomes a way to spew out our own shit then what are we accomplishing?

Oh I am no angel and God knows I am guilty of spewing shit with the best of them. Sometimes however I need to pull myself back and remember that if I only look for the bad and spend my time pointing it out then I am also really missing out on all that is good. Funny how we seem to forget to point out things that are good eh?

Sometimes it is easy to forget the good things and the great people in the world. So this time I will remember just those… a few of the good things.

  • The years have flown and much has happened but some friendships just grow and will always be fabulous.
  • Walking out outside and seeing how beautiful Ireland is (even in the rain, horizontal rain at that).
  • Hopping in the car and going to a new place.
  • Getting lost and not giving a damn. (Not that I ever get lost or anything… really.. ever… I’ll deny it).
  • The woman who let me in when I jumped the queue at the turn-off from the motorway (I was late for work… at least that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it…).
  • Seeing the mountains every morning when I drive to work. A sight that always puts a smile on my face.
  • Meeting up with old friends and making new friends. Never a thing to take for granted.
  • Furry kitteh cuddles (even those headbutts that can cause a concussion… what can I say, he is a big cat).
  • Reading Calvin and Hobbes (always makes me laugh).
  • Looking at someone and bursting out in laughter at the same time.

I hope the weekend is treating all of you well and that you will have plenty of laughs. This made me smile:

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Waves crashing against the cliffs, the spray covering my face with tiny salty droplets. Hundreds of seabirds are hovering in the blistering wind. Threatening clouds race across the sky as the drama of the storm unfolds.

A lonely cottage huddles behind some windswept trees. The flickering light from the small window is beckoning. As I enter, the warmth washes over me. All I can hear is the spitting of logs in the fireplace and the muted sound of the wind howling outside.

I sink into the comfortable armchair. A book in one hand, a cup of tea in the other. As I swirl the golden liquid in the oversized cup, I cannot contain the contented sigh that escapes.

Here I can rest. Here I can recharge. This is my place. One day.

 

I know this has been around for a while but I just recently saw it again and for some reason it struck a chord. I printed it and put it up on the wall at my desk. As I sit here I am trying to describe what reading this makes me think and feel but I seem unable to do so. All I can do is share it with you:

a detail of a page from William Morgan's 1588 ...

Image via Wikipedia

I see myself as a pretty well-educated woman. I went to a good secondary school and after that continued to university and have two degrees to show for it. Was I a top of the class student? No. I am no genius nor am I intellectually challenged. I enjoyed learning and it did come to me pretty easily. When I left school I could have a conversation in 5 different languages, translate texts from Latin, have discussions about philosophy, history and in-depth sociological analysis etc. I devoured scientific magazines and was pretty aware of the state of the world in general.

All good yes..? So what has happened? Today I have lost the ability to communicate in 2 of the 5 languages I once knew. Forget Latin. I stumble when I try to remember what I once learned. It actually feels like I have become dumber. The only focus is to learn new things that are work related and even there I sometimes struggle. It is like my brain has developed a teflon shield that makes all new knowledge slide off into oblivion.

It is easy to say “oh just start reading up on everything again and it will come to you in no time”… well that is part of the problem I guess. I have no time to do so or I am so tired that I just cannot focus after work. I really admire anyone who studies in addition to holding down a full-time job.

So at one stage I developed this theory that working actually makes people dumber. In school you are constantly challenged in  many different subjects. There is always something new and wonderful. You discuss, analyze and apply what you learn. There is a never-ending stream of knowledge. In work-life… you focus on your work and the skills needed there. That is all you focus on. It becomes one-sided. Unless you can find a way to continue to grow your knowledge in other subjects and exercise your brain – the ability to learn and adapt is diminished.

I feel I have definitely fallen into this stage for a long time now. It has gotten to a point where I feel embarrassed. Feeling stupid is not something I do well. The worst thing is when a discussion is started and when I KNOW that this is something I used to know a lot about but the words fail me or the details do not appear. Ugh… hate that!

I think I will have to dust of those old books from university and actually make myself reconnect my brain cells again. Because moaning about it is not going to help really is it now…

Now why did I not stay in uni and do a PhD instead…?