I’m having coffee with someone (let’s call her Person A) when she informs me that someone else (the imaginatively named Person B) said certain things that Person A took to be jabs at her and at me. I feel hurt and angry. Person A must sense this because she tries to change the subject and make small talk. I find it difficult to talk about trivial things at times like these. After a few moments, she asks if I’m okay. I tell her how I feel and say that I just need a bit of time and space and that I’ll probably be fine in an hour.
Afterwards I get into the car, put on the new Daft Punk album and take myself off for a drive. I am fuming and tears threaten an onslaught. I park in a quiet spot and sit with what has just happened. The only thing that would make me feel better would be to understand why Person B said those things and also why Person A decided to tell me. I take out a pen and paper.
I make three lists. The first list has the title: “Why Person B said what they said.” The second is called: “Why Person A told me.” I am fully aware that I am engaging in guesswork and mind-reading but understanding where these people may have been coming from helps me realise why they said what they said, which, in turn, makes me feel better. Some of the reasons include jealousy, worry, resentment, hurt, control, and even speaking openly without thinking of the consequences. Already, I feel better about the whole thing.
The third list I make is: “The benefits of this happening.” I manage to come up with eight of them. But what is most revealing of all is when I question what has actually been said. All I heard was what Person A had heard and internalised and then repackaged in her own fears and projections. Not only that, but then I had internalised all of that and sifted it alongside my own insecurities and sensitivities.
Fact looks very different from imagination. What had Person B actually said? Who knows if this person meant to cause any pain? And even if they did, that’s saying a lot about how they’re feeling. If it is important enough to me to find out, I can go straight to the proverbial horse and poke around in its mouth but, for now, this exercise has been sufficient.
This whole process has highlighted to me that I still have a bit of work to do on myself, especially when it comes to caring what my nearest and dearest think of me. I recognise that this area is usually quite challenging for most people. I give myself permission to have human emotions and reactions. I also understand myself more now and I realise that having a time-out is essential for me to process how I’m feeling, thus enabling me to learn and grow and have healthier relationships.
I close the notepad and, without even trying, I remember something that Person B did for me recently that was extremely thoughtful. Oftentimes, we’re so blindsided by something somebody just did that we obliterate his or her positive attributes. Or we fail to understand that sometimes people do things out of fear or insecurity or because they’re feeling so bad that they want someone else to hurt too. Other times, they are unaware that what they say or do can have a huge impact on another person.
I’m not suggesting that you should accept abusive behaviour but, in many cases, understanding where the other person is coming from and distinguishing fact from emotional hearsay can help make you feel better. Because they only thing you need to do is look after how you’re feeling. And everything else will come right in time.
Posted in Personal development, Positive Thinking
Tagged actions, agendas, anger, beliefs, challenges, confidence, consequences, control, daft punk, driving, emotions, fact, fear, feelings, growth, hearsay, human, hurt, imagination, issues, jealousy, learning, maturity, music, openness, opinion, pain, personal growth, questioning, reactions, relationships, resentment, resilience, self-esteem, sensitivity, silence, strength, time, time-out, understanding, upset, worry, writing
I was telling someone close to me what that woman had said to me last weekend. In a nutshell, it was about finding it hard to practice what I preach. How I know it all in theory but do I really feel it in my heart? That I should lead by example. And other inspiring yet hard-to-hear clichés.
My friend commented that, about a year ago, when I used to approach her with things I was struggling with, she was incredulous. “But you’ve got all the answers in your most recent blog post,” she’d exclaim. She observed that I have since put all of those things into practice and that I now have new challenges to contend with.
I remember someone informing me that, often, the problems your clients will present you with are the issues you need to look at most yourself. The Positive Living group I taught last night included many tips that would help me immensely. One activity I gave the class was to write a letter to your 15-year-old self. I got the idea from this blog post. Afterwards, one of my students remarked: “I just read over my letter and it’s all advice that would help me now.” I quickly scanned my own letter. She was right. Another class member mused: “I found it sort of sad. I wish I’d had someone to tell me this stuff when I actually was a teen.” “But you have someone now,” I replied. “Do I?” she wondered, confused. “Who wrote your letter?” I asked. “Oh yeah,” she smiled.
This morning, I contacted a friend in need. “Thanks Sharon, that’s the best advice I’ve heard in a while,” the person responded. I reread my text. Yet again, the message of my message could be directed right at me.
If you followed your own advice, you’d be doing well. Because you have all the answers within you. You don’t need to look outside yourself in order to know what to do. Only you can decide what’s best for you. Because you are you.
The classes I teach, the blogs I write and the advice I give helps me first and foremost. Luckily, it also benefits others. I teach what I need to learn. That’s probably why I’m drawn to the subject matter in the first place. At least I am learning. Sometimes slowly, usually surely. One life lesson at a time.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged 5 lessons in life from dr. seuss, advice, blog posts, coffee & countries, dr seuss, helping, james dunn, learning, lessons, life lessons, positive living group, teaching, understanding, writing
A big thank you to Lisa from Random Encounters of an Inquisitive Mind for the Liebster Award! I remember seeing this award a year or two ago and thinking how deadly it’d be to have someone praise your blog with a super cool award like this. I must have attracted it my way with all my positive thinking
So, here’s what I have to do…
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award Presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been chosen.
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.
11 Random Facts about me
- I prefer to sleep with the curtains open.
- I usually have a few books on the go at the same time.
- I don’t have television channels in my home.
- I start my mornings by giving gratitude and spending about five minutes in silence.
- I love the ocean, sunshine, cupcakes and belly laughs.
- I teach a Positive Living group once a week.
- I started this blog because I was feeling depressed over a man and I got the idea after watching Julie & Julia.
- I still have my blankie (which was once my grandma’s house coat).
- I’m half-Greek, half-Irish, and three-quarters mad.
- I was reading before I started school and I wanted to write so badly that I used to fill copy books with squiggles.
- For years, I had my little brother believe that his dolls and teddy bears could talk. They each had their own personalities. His favourites were two Glo Worms called Scrumptious and Snuggles. They were really bold.
My questions to answer:
- Why did you start blogging? Oops, I already answered this in Random Fact number seven.
- Would you consider yourself a writer? Yes. It’s been a part of me since before I could actually write. Check out my blog on this: Being a writer (and being the only one who knows it)
- If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? A lot of what I’m doing now (writing, teaching, alternative health) but getting loadsa cash for it
- What type of music do you like? Anything that makes me feel the musician’s passion.
- Do you believe in love at first sight? It’s probably more often lust-at-first-sight but yeah, it can happen.
- Who do you love, and why? Ooh Lisa, I’ll have no secrets left! I love my family and friends and the people in The Lifeflow Centre.
- What is your most favourite thing to do? I’m not kidding when I say writing but also being in nature and having a bit of craic with friends (just to clarify, I’m Irish not a drug addict).
- What morals do you live your life by? Be present, enjoy life, do your best, share with others your joy and/or whatever will help them.
- Whats your favourite movie? The most recent one I fell in love with was Untouchable.
- What is your favourite quote? “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Questions for my nominees:
- What makes you laugh?
- What are you passionate about?
- Why did you start this blog?
- Who inspires you?
- Where’s your favourite place in the world?
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
- What good TV series would you recommend? (Okay, I’m being selfish now.)
- What’s one of your favourite words?
- Tell me something about one of your firsts (first kiss, first time you fell in love, first holiday…)
- Tell me a joke.
- What are you going to do with your award?
And now *drum roll please*, the Liebster Award goes to…
Okay, two things: some of the above may well have more than 200 followers but because I am a follower, I can’t seem to find how many others there are… And I really need to start checking out more new blogs. I’ll put that down as a goal for March.
Thanks for reading, thanks for following, and thanks again to Lisa! You’ve just rocked my Friday night!
It’s almost the end of another year. Twelve months ago, I was upset over (you guessed it) a man, so I started this blog to make myself feel better. That man no longer has an effect on me but I’m blessed to still be able to share my passion for writing with the world.
A lot has happened in my life since then. I’ve made great new friends and discovered interesting new hobbies. During the summer, I meditated in the Scottish Highlands and hill walked in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
I spent a wonderful few months with a new guy. We camped by the shore in Kerry, chanted as we traipsed across the fields in Meath, picnicked on living room floors, and practised yoga in front of an alarmingly curious herd of cows. I learned a lot about myself and about relationships. Then, we broke up, and I learned even more.
Come to think of it, I’ve learned a lot of things these past 12 months. Here are 12 of them…
1. You don’t have to be qualified to help another human being. Don’t worry about not knowing the “right” thing to do or say. A hug, a touch, or simply sitting with someone while they talk or cry is more than enough.
2. Let your guard down. I was feeling incredibly depressed one day and instead of staying in (as I usually would) and waiting to face the world until I felt and looked good, I asked for help. As I sobbed in front of a friend, my hair unwashed and my face naked, he held my hand and told me: “It takes incredible courage to allow yourself be vulnerable.”
3. Life is all about sharing. Be open and you’ll never be alone.
4. You know you’re only human. Admit it to others. They will love you for it.
5. Allowing yourself to grieve is enabling yourself to heal.
6. The worst thing you can do is take yourself too seriously. A sense of humour is a magnificent tool. Use it as often as you can.
7. Breathe. Deep breathing creates a sense of calm and gives you energy.
8. Love. Freely and openly. Don’t hold back.
9. Alcohol is not your friend. No matter how many chances you give it, it will always let you down.
10. Don’t be afraid to give. Give love, presents, compliments… The more you give, the more you will receive. Abundance is all around us.
11. Be present in everything you do. Taste. Experience. Feel. Observe. Enjoy.
12. Honesty will set you free. Be honest with yourself and with others. You’ll be surprised at how easy life becomes.
Here’s a bonus one… It is Christmas after all…
- You will never find true happiness if you seek it outside of yourself. Save yourself heartache and frustration and just stop looking.
Writing this blog has taught me a lot too. I love it and I find it therapeutic. I’ve also learned that it helps others, which makes it all the more worthwhile.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for following my blog. Your comments, encouragement and support mean so much to me. A very merry Christmas to you all.
Posted in Events, Personal development, Random
Tagged blog, break ups, christmas, coldplay, depression, encouragement, friendship, grief, have yourself a merry little christmas, healing, help, honesty, humanity, laughter, learning, love, passion, relationships, sense of humour, support, therapy, vulnerability, writing
I recently received an email from an old friend, who’s living abroad. She was writing to tell me that my blog has really inspired her to stop and look at life and has made her realise how lucky she is. She continued:
“Today, I was rushing to get to the shops before they closed when I saw a man, alone in the snow. He was shaking. I was a bit apprehensive but I thought: ‘I can’t leave him. It’s minus 10 and instinct tells me he needs help.’ So, I stopped. It turns out he had Parkinson’s and had hurt his arm. I phoned for a taxi and paid the driver to bring him to the hospital. The look of relief in the old man’s eyes when he sat in and shook my hand was heart breaking. I really think reading your words has changed my way of thinking. I’ve always had a lot of empathy but it takes courage to do something about a situation that’s a bit intimidating. Thanks, Sharon.”
This story brought tears to my eyes. Only days previously, another woman had told me I should stop publishing my work on the internet because I’m not getting paid for it, and on top of that, somebody could steal it. But this unexpected email reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Not everything we do has to result in monetary, or even personal, gain. Occasionally, people surprise us by giving, without looking for anything in return. The other day, I stepped onto a busy Luas (Dublin tram) when I felt a tap on the shoulder. I looked around at a dishevelled young man, who carried a sleeping bag under his arm. He said:
“Sorry, luv. I just wanted to let you know that your bag’s open. Be careful ‘coz someone could snatch your purse.”
I thanked him and zipped up my handbag. We then chatted about his life as a homeless person. He spoke about how he tries to rustle up enough money each day to stay in a hostel. Otherwise, he sleeps on the streets. I waited for him to ask me for some change (of which I had none – I’d given my last few coins as a tip to a waitress) but at the next stop, he simply said, “See ya luv” and was gone. “Take care!”, I called after him, feeling helpless yet totally moved. Yesterday, it snowed. I hope he’s okay.
Speaking of looking for change, check out this inspiring short film…
‘Tis the season of giving presents to our loved ones but how about, this Christmas, giving or doing something special for somebody who really needs it?
Posted in Modern Society, Random, Spirituality
Tagged blog, change, change for a dollar, christmas, dublin, generosity, giving, good deeds, gratitude, help, injury, inspirational, kindness, luas, money, parkinson's, presents, robbing, snow, stealing, winter, writing
Some of you will delight in me writing this. Others will be too indignant or alarmed to read on… Some will presume I’m having it off with Jim Corr and switch off. And then there are others, who will breathe a sigh of relief that, finally, somebody normal is speaking out about their thoughts and fears regarding what’s going on in the world. Someone without a background in economics or activism, politics or finance; somebody regular who’d never even heard of a default or a foreclosure or an NWO up until a year ago.
We can pretend like nothing’s changed. We have offices and kitchens and children to attend to. Christmas is fast approaching. And The X Factor final is on this weekend. But we cannot ignore the growing dole queues, the increasing break-ins, the persistence of the Occupy movement, and the unfair Budget cuts. Our children are growing up in an unprecedented era. Forget about the Púca - it’s the IMF that’s got everyone really scared.
Dole Queue in Cork
There is talk in certain circles that the economy is on the brink of total collapse (no surprise there). Some people are forecasting (and gleefully anticipating) the breakdown of all of society’s major institutions, which are finally losing their grip on the power they’ve wielded over the obedient public for far too long. Even prime time television is warning that we might have to revert to the punt. And if that happens, what little money we have left will be almost worthless.
If this actually occurs, so much will have to change. We won’t be able to afford oil or petrol, thus limiting trade and transport. We won’t have the option of buying new clothes or technology. We’ll have to return to self-sufficiency, which would be no bad thing.
These difficult circumstances would force us to come together as communities. We’d have to rely on agriculture and fishing. The long-suffering Irish farmers would be granted a new-found respect. Our lawyers and accountants and PR executives would have to be taught how to sow seeds and cut trees. Our scientists would be able to dedicate their time and genius to work on tapping into alternative sources of energy.
Fishing in Connemara
When I hear these outlandish but strangely plausible predictions, I try to imagine such a future. I guess we’d have to ration our food and our firewood. We’d only be able to afford enough petrol for one vehicle per village. We’d work in the daylight, and sleep beside one another in large fire-warmed living rooms. We’d have to darn our socks and put patches on worn sweater elbows. We’d drink fresh milk and eat lots of stew. We’d go back to natural remedies and energetic healing. We’d have time to sit with each other, to knit and play games and tell stories.
Is such a world even conceivable? And what about technology? Would our phones suddenly stop working? Would electricity fail? Without the companies that connect us, would the internet perish?
Oh, I’m all for getting rid of money-hungry, ethically challenged governments, multinationals and pharmaceuticals. And I look forward to the day when the food we eat isn’t laced with hormones, pesticides and preservatives. I would gladly embrace a time when we are content to live off the land. When we inhabit a world that refuses to be dominated by mass-produced fear. When we take the time, effort and courage to inform ourselves and think outside the government-constructed box. When we recognise real health and call a halt to the pumping of too-trusting populations with vaccines and medication and other hidden chemicals. I long for a land of free thinkers, where open minds and creativity are a valued commodity.
Despite my idealistic hopes, I also have doubts. I worry that, if things really do go belly up, not everyone will react favourably. Many will be shocked and scared, angry and incredulous. Parents will fight for their food and children will steal. The streets will see violence and riots and looting. Some will go hungry. Others will go mad.
Dublin City © Gearoid Muldowney
And I can’t help hypothetically grieving all the materialistic luxuries I currently enjoy. How would I cope without my car and my holidays abroad? What would I do without the ability to discover new music at the click of a mouse? How would I feel about the loss of lipstick and mascara? Could I welcome a world without the internet and blogging? And if money disappears and I can no longer pay rent, will I have to move home? Or would my landlord accept payment in poems and potatoes?
Then again, this may never happen and you’ll laugh when you remember the crazy blogger who once ranted about the possible links between sudden poverty and freedom. But if the alternative news reports do prove to be correct, at least I’ll have given you a heads up. To encourage you to spend some of the money that’s lying in fear in your bank account. To get yourself some practical essentials. To give you time to install a stove and stock up on rice and tins of tuna. To buy good winter boots and some quality clothes that’ll last longer than your usual purchases from Penneys. Better silly and safe than stubborn and sorry.
Whether or not this apocalypse-like scenario manifests, we cannot ignore the fact that change is in the air. Perhaps this upset and turmoil is a necessary step in our evolution. Masses of people are awakening and there is a definite shift in consciousness. This could be the New Earth that Eckhart Tolle wrote about. And a new way of thinking and living and being will emerge from the redundant ashes of the old world, like a phoenix, ready to take flight…
Images: http://www.allthingswhisky.com/?p=499; http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92133; http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/fishing-connemara; http://www.flickr.com/photos/gearoid/page10/; http://pinterest.com/pin/418493398/
Posted in Modern Society, Random
Tagged a new earth, accountants, activism, alternative health, anger, apocalypse, banks, breakdown, budget, challenges, change, cheese, cheese-making, chemicals, children, christmas, cold, collapse, commodities, community, confusion, crick, crock, damp, default, doctors, dole, Eckhart Tolle, economy, electricity, energy sources, ethics, exports, farming, fear, finance, firewood, fishing, flat, food, foreclosure, free-thinkers, genius, government, hospitals, household chores, imf, imports, internet, jim corr, landlord, laptop, lawyers, looting, multinationals, neck, new world order, nwo, obedience, oil, open mind, pain, penneys, petrol, pharmaceuticals, phoenix, phones, policemen, politics, poverty, power, predictions, responsibility, riots, robberies, scientists, self-sufficeincy, self-sufficient, sharing, society, starving, stealing, stove, technology, the x factor, transport, unemployment, vaccines, value, vehicles, violence, writing
Owls are so in this season.
The smallest-sized Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte costs four euro!
Some people still call hats “bonnets”.
A person can be in chronic pain and laugh more than I do.
A large chest makes you look bigger than you actually are.
The first ever text message was sent 19 years ago. It said Merry Christmas.
If you do what you love, a whole new world will reveal itself…
You will never know absolutely everything about a person.
Everybody goes through times of hurt and grief and self-doubt.
You can love someone but find it easier to stay away.
It takes just one person’s belief in you to help you succeed. If that one person is you, all the better.
Mariah Carey has just done a duet with Justin Bieber on All I Want For Christmas. Good to know. If I avoid the radio, department stores and supermarkets for the next three weeks, I might never have to hear it.
Teenagers use shopping centres as pick-up joints.
Sometimes, you just need space. You’ll come back when you’re good and ready.
If you start being true to who you really are, you’ll stop caring what others think. In fact, it won’t even register with you any more.
Getting into the holiday spirit and hot toddies are synonymous.
Lots of people dread Christmas. It’s too much pressure. I don’t think that’s what Baby Jesus intended…
Others can’t get enough of it. Below is a house in Newbridge. It’s like this Every. Single. Year.
When a shopkeeper asks, ”Is this a gift for somebody?”, it is not because she cares. Or because she is going to kindly offer to wrap it for you. It’s because she’s about to try and flog you a Christmas box.
I could be the next Perez Hilton. Only nicer.
You can’t beat a good instrumental interlude.
Images: http://www.maccazine.com.au/general-information/christmas-lights-competition/; http://alligator-sunglasses.com/post/13780955850/hi-little-fellah; http://liveyoungforever.xanga.com/734450391/want-you-to-make-me-feel-like-im-the-only-girl-in-the-world/?cuttag=tru; www.flickr.com; http://fading-gently.tumblr.com/; http://favim.com/image/225426/
Posted in Modern Society
Tagged blog, break up, camera, christmas, chronic pain, department stores, gift, gingerbread latte, grief, hot toddies, hurt, instrumental, interlude, jesus, journalism, justin bieber, laughter, laura marling, learning, love, mariah carey, mulled wine, night terror, owls, perez hilton, pressure, self-belief, self-doubt, separation, shops, starbucks, success, supermarkets, teenagers, writing
Creativity brings colour and beauty to our lives. Be it a painting, a photograph or a piece of writing… But music is a worldwide currency, a universal language. It helps us feel less alone in our grief and confusion. It can seem like the lyrics have been wrenched straight from our swirling thoughts and splintering hearts.
Music adds force and meaning to drama and advertising. A simple song can bring a person to tears. Music unites people and collects them on the dance floor. It gives them license to sing into their hair brushes and whoop from their car windows.
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Berthold Auerbach
Music encourages sharing. When we come across a new favourite song, we rush to post a link on Facebook and burn copies for our best friends. Music is especially delightful when it comes with a really cool video and a voice as satisfying as an impossible-to-reach back-scratch…
In the thought-provoking blog, 365 Days of Gratitude, there’s a section called Resonating Sounds, where the writer uploads some of her favourite tracks. Great idea! And it’s how I came across this fantastic cover of Robyn’s Be Mine…
This may be insensitive of me but when I was sent the following viral YouTube clip, the accompanying song made as much of an impact on me as its tear-jerking message about the unfortunately rampant issue of bullying…
When someone you know pursues their passion and you can watch them make a name for themselves, it’s exciting and encouraging. Carosel’s Michelle Phelan is what sunbeams and angel wings would sound like if they sang…
“Discovering” a new artist is particularly pleasing. Check out upcoming Irish talent, Laura Hughes, here.
Music is powerful. It lifts you up when you’re down, invigorates you before a night out, and motivates you on a run. It can soothe the rawest of emotions, remind you of a lover, and envelope you in a childhood summer. Music connects us and contents us and inspires us…
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." Leopold Stokowski
Share your much-loved melodies too!
Posted in Random
Tagged 365 days of gratitude, be mine, beauty, berthold auerbach, blog, breathe me, carosel, childhood, cover, creativity, depression, ellie goulding, erik hassle, exercise, facebook, inspiration, internet, jonah, lana del rey, laura hughes, leopold stokowski, loneliness, lover, lyrics, michelle phelan, music, music videos, passion, pieces, poetry, robyn, sharing, sia, song, summer, talent, tears, unity, video games, vocalist, whats goin on, words, writing, youtube
So, you may have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot lately. And it’s all down to an irritatingly lengthy episode of El Influenza. I’m like a crazy old lady, rocking back and forth in her asylum armchair, dropping tatty hankies and incoherent references to Don Juan and the surrealist movement. Bless, her mind is still active, though edging ever closer to the perilous terrain of dementia…
Frustrating, when I can barely muster up the energy to prop myself against a quartet of pillows and engage in the most minimal of finger movements. Thank the Andy-Osborne for laptops! Luckily, there’s more coming out of me than snot and sneezes (poetic, right?) I think, therefore I write.
I haven’t left the house in days but I see inspiration everywhere (The delirium’s set in. Hard.) A mere sentence on a page could set me off. A movie character. The theme tune of a crappy television programme. Something someone says/does/wears. Gazing out at the sky, the weather, the strangers silently moving behind their windows… Lying in bed, dwelling upon memories and imaginations, unable to sleep because I’m too bunged-up and yucky-boned (Of course it’s a valid medical description – try not to upset her.)
I will not complain… but do you know how annoying it is to switch on your light at 3 am to jot down a few lines just so you can get them out of your head, only to have to turn it on again a few minutes later because you had a flash of something else “brilliant”, then to plunge yourself into darkness, begging your mind to stop? For the love of the Land of Nod, please stop! And finally, to surrender to writing the damn thing already, cursing and celebrating, in equal measure, what can only be described as creative insanity.
She lies back, relieved and light-headed after her latest purge. Nurse! Get that poor dear a sedative!
Images; http://www.cn-printing.com/6-tips-for-your-writing-journal.html; http://accessdenied-livingwithms.blogspot.com/2011/01/wiped-out-today.html; http://favim.com/image/4371/; http://favim.com/image/6915/
Posted in Random
Tagged adam osborne, cold, crazy, creativity, delerium, don juan, flu, illness, imagination, insanity, insomnia, inspiration, laptop, madness, nurse, ocd, sick, surrealist movement, Tomasz Setowski, writing