Gratitude Friday

Last week I talked about recognising what the important things are in amongst all of the angst of a distraught daughter.  Well this week there has been a huge turnaround.  On Wednesday I heard the four words we all long to hear – “Mum, you were right!”  Now, I understand that as Mums we are pretty much always right, but it’s nice to have it recognised!

“Ok,” you ask, “what were you right about?”  Well, all through Awesome Daughter Number One’s challenge to land herself a permanent teaching job, I have maintained that whenever she is turned down it’s because the perfect job hasn’t yet come up for her.  Perhaps the age of the children don’t fall into her preferred age range (she likes to teach eight year old and above), the geographical location of the school would make it difficult for her to commute, it might have classes with a high number of children, or she might find it difficult to get on with certain of the head teachers.  I have always been sure that the perfect teaching position would come along for her and asked her to trust that it would happen.  I know that when you feel like everything you have worked for is conspiring against you that trusting is the hardest thing to do, but that is the time you most need to do it!  And so “Mum, you were right” signalled the end of this particular journey for her – a job in a lovely school, with the right size of class, the right age group and, what sounds like, a lovely head teacher.  All right!

On top of this, Awesome Daughter Number Two, who has also had her challenges – four years of working a job to finance her way through University and many hours in the Lab or the library has resulted in a Class 2:1 Honours degree in (wait for it…) Biomedical Sciences specialising in Physiology!  Another BSc in the family!  She graduates next week and I’ll be there, heart swelling with pride!

Then, as if all this wasn’t enough, Awesome Daughter Number Three came home with an envelope full of certificates!  The Lower School prize giving takes place during school hours and parents don’t get to attend, and so, unexpectedly, she came home with seven Merit Certificates, a Gold Award (one of only six in her year) and a Certificate of Achievement for a project that she and a group of classmates took part in over the year to investigate the efficacy of a Biomass Plant and which they presented to two sets of judges!

How can I not be grateful for the blessings I find in my daughters!  I love that they are so much more than I was at their ages.  They know their own minds.  They know how to think for themselves.  They seem to know exactly who they are.  They are all building successful lives of their own.  And the amazing thing to me is that they come to me – for advice and support.  Equally amazingly, they highlight to me many lessons that I need to learn (usually unwittingly) and so, while I am able to support them on their journeys, they support me on mine.

 So, Thank You girls.  I love you!

Quote adapted from Laurel Atherton

I Believe 8

Photograph by bell wether interiors

I believe that we are meant to be happy.

We were born happy and I believe that we are meant to stay that way.  Unfortunately, layers are put on top of this – expectations, societal standards, parental/family influences – and it’s easy to lose sight of where our happiness lies.

My Mother, for the 51 years I’ve been alive, seems to have been permanently in a bad mood.  She complains all the time, is very negative, imposes her own standards on others – and objects when they aren’t met and appears to delight in nagging my Dad.  He puts up with it – even seeming to accept it – and I’ve always wondered why he never left such a nagging woman who seemed to find fault in everything he did.  But then again, she seemed to find fault with everything I did!

So I spent my life trying to be the person I thought I should be based on her standards.  Actually, I believed that her standards were the only standards.  Her dominance was so far reaching that I had no conception that life could be any different.  I got a job when I left school and met the man who became my husband.  I had a daughter.  All the things a girl like me was expected to do.  I knew I wasn’t happy.  I shifted furniture around the house.  Bought stuff.  Got into debt trying to sort what was wrong.  Then suddenly, like one of those focus pull cameras, my perspective changed and I realised that the one thing that was wrong was my marriage.  It took three years and another child before I plucked up the courage to announce that I was leaving – and even longer to tell my mother!  Once I had moved out, I was on top of the world.  I was 32 and a year into a four year Psychology course at University and I felt like I had the world at my feet.  But the remnants of the expected standards were still there, and because I felt that I could never meet them, my work suffered.  I gained my honours degree, but at a lower class than I expected.  By now I had met my soulmate and things should have been wonderful, but we were short of money, struggling to find jobs and then within two years of graduating we had a baby.  A hungry baby who didn’t like to sleep!  Five of us were squeezing into a one bedroomed flat – life was not easy.  All I could see were the things that were wrong.  We moved into a bigger house (provided by our local authority), but the area wasn’t the most salubrious and there were times when we didn’t like to go outside – incidents with guns, knives and baseball bats occurred among our neighbours.  And so we moved again.  A lovely big house with room for us all, in a nice neighbourhood.

But I couldn’t see it.  Still all I could see was what we didn’t have – the highly paid jobs, the nice cars.  Then depression reared its ugly head.  Treatment sorted it and I went back to University to study Nursing.  I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse and went into a job that I enjoyed, but Tech Guy was travelling lots for his job so we moved to the town where he worked and I transferred to another hospital where I felt excluded and undermined.  My health deteriorated further – both physically and mentally and once again I was not meeting the expected standards.  This time medication didn’t work and the depression didn’t shift.  I lost my job.

And found my life.  When I re-read the above I realise that my life has never been as bad as I’ve made out, but I was unable to see it – I was so busy focusing on what was wrong that I was unable to see what was right.

I hadn’t been able to see that we always had a roof over our heads and food on our table.  We may have been five living in a tiny flat, but we were a family together.  I was unable to appreciate how lucky I was to have three beautiful, clever, funny, loving daughters and I believed that I needed ‘stuff’ to make me happy.

When the medication I was taking for my depression wasn’t working I realised that I would have to find some other way to get better – and so began my spiritual quest – my journey to find myself.  I understood on some level that things could be better – I just had to work out how.

I searched for like minded people on the internet.  I explored my psychic side (with not a huge amount of success) and bought loads of self-improvement books.  I tried affirmations and I bought (still blank) journals.  I had tarot readings and Reiki and Angel Healing treatments.  Then, one day I had an experience that taught me that I could trust myself, that my judgement was ‘good enough’.  If my judgement was good enough then maybe I was.  I found out about Gratitude and began looking at the good things in my life.  I tried keeping a journal, but it kept falling by the wayside – it felt like I was just writing lists of the things I should be grateful for rather than actually feeling the gratitude in my heart.  But slowly, as I allowed my heart to begin opening I could feel this gratitude.  I still compared myself to others, but was able to use this in a constructive way – they may have had a big house or fancy car, but I had wonderful days with my Tech Guy and was home for my youngest daughter during school holidays.  I was learning to appreciate the birds, nature, the sunshine and the rain.

As time went on, I realised that I was no longer depressed.  Things still get me down – usually about lack of money, but not that ‘black, hide in my bed, run away from it all’ kind of down, and it is relatively short lived.

Over a period of three years I have formed questions that I’m now beginning to explore and find answers to.  Answers which are helping me to be comfortable in my own skin and which I am allowing myself to write about.  I am coming to the conclusion that, more often than not, I’m happy – and I’m happy with that!

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

Intention 3

Reflecting on my Gratitude post last week, I have realised that I live so much in either the past or the future – in my ‘stories’ – that I miss much of what is happening now.

At the moment I am sitting in a coffee shop while I wait for the car to be repaired – I don’t know what is wrong, but I’ll worry about that when I do!  I love the ambiance of this coffee shop.  It’s cosy and always feels friendly.  It sits in what was once Montrose jail and still has the three-feet thick walls, low doorways and recessed windows.  There is a stone floor and lovely old beams support the roof.  I can hear the low thrum of conversation and snippets of them as the voices of the people around me occasionally rise or burst into laughter, and I can smell the scent from my chamomile tea and the beginnings of today’s home-made soup (sweet potato and red pepper).  I walked here in a roundabout way from the garage, doing errands on the way and I can feel the tingle of my muscles not used to moving so much.  I feel the softness of the cushion that I’m sitting on and I enjoy the flow of my pen as it moves across the page recording these thoughts.  Outside, it’s a beautiful warm, sunny day and the cool water that I drink is refreshingly welcome before I have my tea.

All of this is in the ‘now’.

With this in mind, my intention this week is to stop and smell the roses.  To bring myself back from future or past, what might or might not have been, and focus on what is in front of me.  Right here.  Right now.

Will you join me?

Rosa ‘schoolgirl’

Gratitude Friday 2

This post was written for Gratitude Friday, but the handfasting celebrations of my fabby  friend and a shopping day out with Tech Guy, have postponed it – so in the spirit of the kindness I have promised myself, I present it to you now – a day late, but no less sincere!

Written  on Thursday 21st June 2012

Cheer Bear. My eldest daughter’s favourite toy

It’s 2.00am and I’m struggling to sleep.  I had a phone call from Awesome Daughter Number 1 earlier this evening.  She was distraught and 120 miles away.  Feeling like her life’s dream is being taken away from her.  From the first day she walked into primary school at the age of 4½ she has wanted to be a teacher.  Her whole school life was dedicated to gaining the qualifications she needed to fulfil this dream.  She qualified with flying colours and embarked on her career.

Teaching in Scotland is currently a precarious profession.  There are 300 applicants for every job that comes up in Edinburgh where she qualified, but undaunted she has taken temporary posts to gain as much experience as she can.  She has worked extra hours and has undertaken extra-curricular activities and yet five years after graduating she still does not have a permanent teaching post.  This past year she has had a long term, temporary position at a school she likes.  She loves the children and has made friends with the staff.  She missed out on a permanent job last year, but thought that this year – with her experience and dedication – her time would come.  But no, the jobs were given to less experienced and less dedicated teachers.  And so, this evening she was on the phone breaking her heart, doubting her abilities and asking if this was the Universe telling her that she was on the wrong path.  Questioning how many rejections must she take before she accepts that it’s not her interview technique, or the interviewer that’s the problem, it’s her.  Not being able to follow her dream is making her ill – enough for her to consider giving it all up.

My beautiful, talented daughter feeling like there is something wrong with her – and I can do nothing to help.  I can listen to her sobbing but I can’t take away her pain.  So here I am.  Not sleeping, feeling powerless.

The TV is on, showing a programme about Great Ormond Street Hospital – a children’s hospital in London where they embark on experimental surgery and treatments.  I’m hearing about a young girl whose trachea is so narrow that she can barely breathe and babies whose rib cages are not growing so their lungs are compressed.  Without surgery these children will die.  With surgery they may die anyway.  Their parents are having to make decisions – not about whether their children will die, but about when.

These parents are worrying about their young children.  I am worrying about my adult daughter.  Yesterday I was worrying about being short of money and today I am reminded of what is truly important.  I am grateful for my daughters, their health and the opportunity to be there for them in whatever capacity I can be.

I Believe 7

Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack, Orkney Islands, by Patrick Dieudonne

I believe that everything is impermanent.

I read this question from Teresa Deak on Facebook yesterday.

“I’m fascinated by the story behind this beautiful poem by Kelly Letky  and I’m curious about your own definitions of impermanence…. what are your stories?”

I didn’t really answer the question because it sent me off in another direction.  Off I went for a ponder.

My definition of impermanence is, I imagine like most people, ‘not permanent; transitory’.  But when I thought about it, I couldn’t find an example of anything that is, actually, permanent.  Everything changes.  Edifices weather and crumble.  The granite boulder is eroded by the sea to join millions of others that make up the sand.  The seasons cycle.  Flowers grow, bloom, seed and die.  I am currently experiencing the joy of watching young chicks as they fledge nests and develop into adult birds.  Cells are being born, growing, dying.  Even Tech guy – who I expect to be a permanent fixture in my life, for the rest of my life – grows and changes.  Virtually every cell that existed within his body seventeen years ago when we met has been replaced.  His neural pathways have extended, increased, formed and reformed.  His hair has got greyer – and shorter, and longer and shorter again.  My three awesome daughters are not babies any more – they too have grown, learned, developed and have become accomplished young women in their own rights.  Every experience or encounter that we have changes us in one way or another.

Have you ever met someone whose kindness brightened your day?  Or found that, no matter how positive you are at the start of your work shift, the negativity of the people you work with drags you down into a depression?  Each of these experiences impacts on us and changes us in one way or another.

Sometimes we rail against change – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – and often we can’t see the positive in a change.  New technology moves forward at an, often, alarming rate and echoing in the back of my mind are the words of my parents, “in my day…..”  In my day we wrote letters, had to be at home to make a phone call, had respect for our elders, said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, wore school uniform.  We paid attention, did our duty and conformed to the standards of the day.  But we also didn’t have a voice, were ‘seen and not heard’.  We were clipped around the ear for talking back (which often was just having a different opinion to our parents) and were taught to learn facts and figures rather than critical analysis.  So, things change. No longer do people have to hide their sexuality, they can speak out about abuse and injustice.  They can leave unhealthy relationships.  We have choices that our parents never had.  We survive illnesses that past generations possibly would never have contracted because they didn’t live long enough.  Without change the world would be populated by dinosaurs instead of people.

Change brings us huge benefits as well as challenges. It serves us well to remember that since things change, when we find ourselves in an intolerable situation – this too will pass.  The pain of the death of a loved one recedes over time, broken bones and hearts mend and suffering caused by past experiences can be released if we allow them to.

The problems arise when we take these things to be permanent.  Stories that we have carried from our past.  I once asked a patient of mine why it was that when she received dozens of positive affirmations of her worth and one negative one – that was the one she chose to believe.  Is it innate that we believe the worst about ourselves – despite evidence to the contrary?  Certainly I am much more comfortable seeking evidence to support the negative idea of myself.  I learned from a very early age – at two years old, having spent a couple of weeks with my Grandmother while my mother was in hospital giving birth to my younger sister – I screamed and fought not to go home.  My Mother believed that I had been spoiled by my Nana – it did not occur to her that it was preferable to me to stay in a small, one bedroom flat with my elderly grandparents than go home to what awaited me there – constant reinforcement that I was not good enough – and here was another child just to prove that my Mother needed one that was better than me.  Experiences over the next fifty years did little to negate these beliefs and so, I hung on to my story.  It formed my identity and informed every encounter and experience I had.

Then I found the internet.  Halleluja!  I found blogs and articles from people who felt the same way I did and this gave me the hope that things could change – and more, that things could change in my favour!  And so I am learning self love and self acceptance.  But letting go is harder than I hoped.  How do you let go of something that has been the basis of your identity for over fifty years?  If that goes, then what is left?  And actually, how do you let that go?  It feels like all of me is woven into that belief – like a mat in the earth that has the roots of the grass and plants so entwined in it that it has become part of them.

Well, I’m hanging on to the ‘everything changes’ theory and directing my change.  Sometimes it feels like I’m getting nowhere and other times (like last week) it feels like I’m making huge big leaps.  But I’m aware now.  I’m more able to understand that resistance, suffering, anger and judgement are expressions of an unmet need and I can examine them and learn from them – and you, lucky reader – get to go through all of it with me!

So, I still believe that everything is impermanent unless we choose otherwise.  And Teresa – I hope this answers your question!

Clematis

Intention 2

Awesome daughter number 3

On Saturday we had a ‘phone’ incident.  The second ‘phone’ incident in as many months.  Awesome Daughter Number 3 has a mobile phone – on contract which she pays for out of her pocket money (along with insurance – her idea) and she’s had it for about three months.  One month in, she was messing about with her pals when it got dropped and the screen broke.  Bye bye phone.  Response – screaming, shouting, threats of grounding and questions about whether she is responsible enough to have a (smart) phone and whether or not she deserves to have a good phone when she clearly can’t look after it!  That would be my response.  Her Dad, on the other hand, took a deep breath, pulled out the insurance documents made a few phone calls and Hey Presto! a new phone arrived within the week.  All good except for a few missing phone numbers and all her favourite music.  Calm was restored.

Fast forward to Saturday evening.  Last weekend it had been the birthday of one of her friends and Alex had missed it because of other commitments (though I’m not even sure she had been invited – but that’s a whole other mess of self acceptance on my part!) so she invited some of her friends here for a movie night.  She baked and decorated a cake and made some cookies.  The girls were staying for a sleep over and the boys went home after the film.  She had cleaned her room for the girls staying over and she had cleaned the sitting room for them watching the movie.  All in all, she made a huge effort to make sure that Jaz had a great night.  Then she discovered that her phone had been damaged again – and again the screen was broken.  She held off telling her dad and me until the boys had gone and then she waited for the fall out.

To her surprise – and mine – I took a deep breath and didn’t shout.  I explained the consequences – no phone until we can get it replaced (and that won’t happen until we have the funds to pay the insurance excess) and if she doesn’t have her phone, then her social life is curtailed.

My default response of taking the incident personally and feeling angry and in pain because things have not gone the way I believe they should – and then shouting screaming and blaming so that she feels as much pain as I do – disappeared.  I was able to see that she was already in pain, that shouting and blaming won’t fix the phone and that railing against what ‘is’ won’t change anything.  And so I accepted what was.  I was able to put into practice all the things I’ve been working on over the last four weeks and understand that resistance really is futile!

Even better, I’m not just sitting on anger, huffing with a simmering bad mood.  I’m able to hold her in my heart and send love to her – and hope she realises that an accident happened that wasn’t her fault and that it doesn’t diminish her in any way.

And so my intention for this week is to maintain this attitude of kindness – to myself, my husband, my daughters and anyone else that I have encounters with.  Mmm… not so sure about those unsolicited sales phone calls though…!

What is your intention for this week?

Gratitude Friday

life-of-a-london-intern.blogspot.com

Well, it’s Friday and since gratitude has been playing a large part in my life recently, I thought that this might be an appropriate opportunity to reflect on the good things in my life!  With this in mind I’d like to make this a regular feature here on the blog – Friday Gratitudes – a chance to reflect on the week that has passed and to consider what is good in my life.  I’d love you to join me in expressing gratitude for the good things in your life!

When life is challenging and difficult, it’s all too easy to focus on the negative.  However, this way of thinking can just pull us into a spiral that can ultimately result in depression.  What helped me to break this cycle was to begin switching my focus to those things in my life that were good.  They didn’t have to be big things – a really good cup of coffee, the intense colour of the flowers in the garden or the tiny detail in the markings on the birds at the local nature reserve – but they could be as huge as the love I have for my husband, the admiration for my daughters or the beauty of the full moon!  There is always something to be positive about.  One friend has a son who has challenges – but finds joy in his smile, another lives with a frail and demanding parent – but appreciates her time on the beach with her dogs.  When we change our focus, life seems better.  We can even change our perspective on the challenges we face if we can see these challenges as lessons which, when learned, will enhance our lives.

And so, today, I express my gratitude for my unstintingly supportive husband; my beautiful, accomplished daughters; Amy Palko whose Beautiful Beliefs project has had a huge impact on my life; learning to trust that I am good enough; the rain – because without it we wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine and oh, remember that cup of coffee….?

My cuppa!

I Believe 6

Break of Dawn by Dominic Kamp

I believe that I am beginning to believe that I am good enough.

I used to wonder what was wrong with me.  I continually used to ask ‘who am I?’ Until I suddenly realised that who I am has always been here, I just hadn’t uncovered her.  I have always disliked what I saw in the mirror – and came to realise that this was because I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.  I had the belief (deep seated for most of my 51 years) that I was not good enough or important and I needed validation from others – praise for a good job from those I worked with – pandering from my husband to prove that I am important, acquiring ‘stuff’ to prove that I was as good as other people.  I was afraid of attracting attention because if anyone ‘looked’ at me they would see me for what I am – not good enough, wanting – and then they would reject me.  I thought that I didn’t have the life I wanted.  My sisters are successful in their professions and financially secure – this is what life is supposed to be like, right?  Well, I’m not successful in my career and I’m definitely not financially secure – again, not good enough.  It’s only really since I had to leave my job through ill health (stress and depression caused by the job itself) that I began my journey to find myself – and it’s only in the last few weeks that I feel like I’ve properly moved forward.

About three or four weeks ago, I had a complete melt down about this – I was yelling, screaming, crying that I needed my husband to understand that I feel like this, that I needed him to see what was important to me and act accordingly because that was the only way that I could feel important or good enough.  I had expectations about everything – and if they weren’t met, then that indicated to me that I was not considered to be important – and at that time, the pain I was feeling was almost unbearable.  (This tirade lasted pretty much all morning!).

Bear in mind that I have been reading around this subject for around three years.  I have received Reiki to try and unblock my chakras.  I have learned meditation (not particularly successfully).  I have joined psychic groups and undertaken energy healing.  I have read books and blogs and listened to webcasts and watched videos to no avail – but somehow, this time, a wall seemed to tumble down and I was able to recognise that these feelings were not rooted in truth.

I have realised that I am completely good enough – because if I wasn’t I’d be something else – and as long as I believe that, it doesn’t matter if others think differently (though mostly they don’t) and what they think of me isn’t any of my business anyway!  The only person that has to feel that I am important is me – and just because others don’t show me that they think I’m important in a way that I want them to, doesn’t mean that they don’t think that I am.  But again, what others think is none of my business.

Much of the advice out there about how to have the life you want says to look at what our dreams are.  I have tried to consider what my dreams are – but I didn’t believe that I had dreams (on reflection, I didn’t believe that I deserved to have dreams) – I have no desire to travel to distant shores, paint a masterpiece, be famous – I just wanted to stay at home and not have to go out to work to earn money.  I wanted to have time to spend with my husband so that we could follow our hobby of birdwatching.  Once I began practicing gratitude – looking for the good things in my life, I suddenly realised that I have most of this.  Because I don’t work I get to stay at home and my husband and I have the time that we want together.  The only thing I don’t have is an income that would allow us to do more!  But, two dreams out of three ain’t bad!

Then I started to look at self care and self love.  Again – when you dislike what or who you see in the mirror where do you find self love?

But then I turned it around and thought ‘what if – if I can’t love myself – I just act in a loving way towards myself?  Be as kind and considerate to myself as I would to someone else’.  And so if I catch myself being negative I ask myself – what would I say to someone else who was feeling like this?  If someone else didn’t get their ‘to do’ list finished, would I berate them?  I realised that I wouldn’t.  So if it’s ok for someone else to be not perfect, then why not for me?  Then, as I continued reading around this, I realised that most people (or women at least) seem to feel exactly the same.  And since there is no reason for them to do so, then probably there is no reason for me to do so!

I also realised that not only did I speak to myself unkindly, but I also treated myself poorly.  I believed that I was caring for myself by giving myself time to watch tv, browse the internet, spend hours on facebook – but I became aware that none of this was constructive – and it just gave me another excuse to call myself lazy and good for nothing.  I’m coming to understand that self care is about things like – what I put into my body, how I make my body move, nourishing my soul and how I spend my time – and this only comes from feeling like you deserve to be looked after.  I no longer try to block out unpleasant feelings of pain – I feel them – look them in the eye and ask them ‘where have you come from?  What do you mean to me?  What lesson can I learn here?’

When you feel like you’re not good enough, you think that you are the only one who does – my hope is that this will show that you are never the only one – and that there is a way through it when you are ready.

Please know that I’m by no means there yet – this website calls me ‘A Work in Progress’ – but that now, when that voice says ‘you’re not good enough’ I can say ‘actually I am!’  And when someone asks how I am, I can say ‘good thank you’ – and mean it!

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!

Intentions

*image courtesy of quotable cards.

I live my life with lists, including ‘to do’ lists – many of which never get done even though I love ticking the items off when I’ve completed them!  If I have an event coming up, out comes a spreadsheet and I meticulously plan what items I need for the event to be a success.  A family party will inspire menus and shopping lists and a schedule for cooking, freezing and things to do on the day.  Holidays elicit lists of things to purchase and pack and Christmas requires a list of cards to make and send.  Why then do I fall down when it comes to scheduling tasks and goals necessary to build a business?

It would appear that building my business falls way down in my list of priorities – somewhere behind catching up with emails and facebook, my favourite blogs, recorded TV shows, days out with hubby and, when things get really bad, housework!

So inspired by ‘A Year With Myself’, I think it’s time to get organised.  To give myself a framework that will keep me straight and guide my posts.  And since Monday starts the week, I thought that would be a good day to set an intention for the week.  On Wednesday, I will participate in Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project and on Friday I will reflect on the week and consider what gifts I have received over the previous seven days.  Tuesdays and Thursdays will be left for me to ponder what takes my interest on those days!  And most importantly, I will retain a bit of flexibility just in case there’s a bit of a cock up!

At this juncture it might be helpful to explore what an intention is and how it differs from a goal.  A goal is defined as “the aim or object towards which an endeavour is directed”, whereas intention is defined as “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result” or “purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct” (Collins Concise Dictionary).

Dana Theus gives a simple personal example. “You may have a goal to leave the office every day by 6pm to spend time with your family. Great goal, but inevitably, if you’re in a leadership position, business intervenes with – stuff. If all you have is your goal, every time the business hands you a stinker, you fail, feel bad, piss off your spouse/boss etc. Who wants goals like that? Alternatively if you have an intention to spend as much quality time with your family as possible, you will still have to deal with those inconvenient work problems, but you have no guilt about coming into the office 30 minutes late the next morning to make time to take your kid to school”.  She suggests that by meeting your intention, you’re giving yourself the flexibility to deal with life as it shows up while still achieving success on your own terms and that intentions give you permission to achieve success where others only see options to fail by not meeting the goal. This distinction is important for someone like me for whom failure feeds into the whole ‘I’m not good enough’ frame of mind!

So, without further ado and it being Monday, today I will set my intention for this week – to give myself time, ahead of everything else, to write.  To research my topics so that I come fully prepared and present to the posts that I write, and to make sure that my readers get the best of me.  Oh, and to ensure that I get two Father’s day cards made before the weekend!

I Believe 5

Image by Karen Blackburn

I believe that the desire or need for control comes from fear.

For me, the fear is that if I have to deal with the spontaneous or the unexpected I’ll be found wanting – I’ll be seen, attention will be focused on me and I’ll be found out as not being good enough or important enough.  I am aware that this desire resides in me and I think it was born when my Mother retained all the control in my life (friends, money, social time) – right up until I married my first husband at the age of 21. Thereafter, being away from the controlling situation, I needed to have control myself. I needed to be right.   I needed to know where things were going and what would happen. I planned things to death, lists were the order of the day and so were tantrums if things didn’t go my way! Over the last year or so – since I began my spiritual journey – I have come to understand that we have no real control over anything other than ourselves (though I do frequently still experience this desire to control, just as I fear being exposed as not being good enough). When I get into this place of resistance (need to control or opposition to what I believe), I feel it as tension, both physically and in my soul. It feels like there is a large, strong, solid fence resisting the wind, and the anxiety, anger, frustration and hurt that I feel is the turbulence caused by the wind hitting this immovable force. When I visualise it like this, I can imagine the fence changing into a tree with beautiful pliable branches, thus allowing everything through. The turbulence stops, and it really does feel like softening, and the anxiety, anger and hurt can dissipate. My soul feels gentler and more able to allow love in.

Photo from http://www.mysticfamiliar.com/library/treelore/willow.html

This really is a work in progress – it’s not easy to break down the walls that I have taken 30 years to build up, but brick by brick I am dismantling them.  Ultimately, they will go and the ‘me’ that I have been afraid to show the world will be there in all my glory – with no need to control, because I will understand that I am good enough and I am important!

This post was inspired by Julie Daley’s post ‘Softening into the Silk of the Soul’. You can find it here -  Unabashedly Female by Julie Daley

This was originally posted as part of Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project at Sunshine on a Rainy Day on 6th June 2012.

This post is published as a contribution to Amy Palko’s Beautiful Beliefs Project.  If you would like to know more about Amy’s Beautiful Beliefs Project, then click here Amy Palko or on the box – it’ll take you straight there!