It is a late autumnal afternoon and I am walking with an attractive man. We arrive at the canal. I stop at a railing and gush, “I love it!”
I continue: “I know I can get very enthusiastic but there’s something about the water and nature and this time of year and the red-brick buildings. I love beautiful things.”
He faces me. The railing is between us. He states: “Nothing is perfect, Sharon.” I look at him and answer: “I didn’t say perfect, I said beautiful.” He leans in to kiss me.
A moment later, I move in to kiss him. He would need to inch a little more forward. He doesn’t. He turns and keeps walking.
I awaken. It is very early and the wind is howling outside. I fumble for a pen and paper. I feel this dream contains an important message. Something that’s come up a few times recently about how I still think I have to be perfect in order to be accepted and loved. And more importantly, in order to accept and love myself. I’ve also just realised that I place the same ridiculously high standards on any potential partners and on the relationship we may have.
Thankfully, the last couple of times I’ve become aware of this, I’ve recognised that there is beauty in imperfection. There’s honesty, truth and authenticity. There’s humanity and openness and connection.
Maybe next time, I’ll have that kiss.
Posted in Love, Personal development
Tagged attraction, autumn, awareness, dream analysis, dreams, imperfection, issues, love, lust, men, nature, perfection, perfectionism, relationships, romance, women
The last few courses I’ve done have included the four different styles of learners. While reading through the descriptions, I learned that I am an Activist. I don’t think any of us fits perfectly into just one type of learning style. I am also a bit of a Reflector, even a Pragmatist, and less so of a Theorist. But I am mostly an Activist.
Activists are all about experiencing life and immersing themselves fully in activities. They enjoy trying new things and they move enthusiastically from one project to the next. I embrace this aspect of my personality. And I regularly encourage the students of my Positive Living classes to really live and enjoy life too.
So this morning, as I drive home to do some class preparation, I spot a sign for Donadea Forest and decide, on a whim, to go there. It is a clear, crisp October day and I, as the Activist, seize this opportunity.
However, there is a traffic diversion along the way and I become quite lost. Suddenly, I see a sign for Ballinafagh Lake. I’ve never been there before. The adventurer inside me whoops with excitement.
I pull into a small car park in the middle of nowhere. I get out of the car and start walking through the dew-drenched grass. My feet get wet but this doesn’t stop me from exploring this new landscape.
It looks like Hallowe’en, smells like Christmas, and reminds me of primary school nature tables. The lake is still and oh so tranquil. I place my ear against the bark of a tree and am amazed at the sounds of its inner stirrings.
The sight of red berries delights me. I tread upon a boggy carpet of autumn leaves. Deceased but still so beautiful. The constant cycle of nature is both thought-provoking and comforting.
This walk has nourished the Activist within me. I return to the car feeling energised and inspired.
What type of learner are you? (Click here to find out.) And what can you do today to honour that part of you?
Images: Author’s Own
Posted in Personal development, Random
Tagged activist, adventure, autumn, ballinafagh lake, beauty, being present, christmas, countryside, death, donadea forest, enjoyment, enthusiasm, excitement, experiences, fall, flow, four styles of learners, hallowe'en, honey & mumford, ireland, journey, kildare, lake, landscape, learning, life, living, lost, nature, newbridge, nourishment, opportunity, positive living class, pragmatist, prosperous, reflector, reserve, theorist, water, wildlife
There is something about the wind in the leaves this time of year. It reminds me of the fizz of the ocean as it races up and down the strand. There is an entire symphony up every bark. A final farewell before journeying into winter.
This is my meditation music. I discard my iPod and tilt back my head. Leaves swirl from the heavens and blow across my path. Someday, I might understand the hum, hiss and chatter of the trees. If I stop awhile and listen.
Autumn is the perfect artistic expression of impermanence. Yesterday, the sky was charcoal. Today, it is cornflower blue. The sun is bright yet the breeze is cool. The light dances playfully on the water and between the leaves, revealing itself before hiding briefly in the shadows.
The trees show off their newly tinted crowns of copper and auburn, burnt yellow and orange. The wind gently shakes the branches and the trees toss down their leaves, like demure Rapunzels bestowing us, all princes and princesses, with a rust-coloured carpet to climb upon.
Nothing stays the same. There is beauty in the before, in the after, and in the transformation of it all. Everything changes. I breathe in this awareness.
Right about now, people are starting to complain about the cold weather and shorter daylight hours. “Oo, it’s getting wintry,” they’ll say as they shiver and rub their hands together forcefully. Some of us have not so happy memories of low moods during the long, dark season. Spring and summer are like autumn and winter’s bubblier, more popular cousins; the ones we long to be around and can’t wait to see. However, autumn and winter do have their own unique, positive attributes. Here are some tips for surviving (and enjoying) this time of year:
- Follow in nature’s fashion footsteps and treat yourself to some autumn-coloured accessories.
- Wrap yourself in cute woolies and go outside. Who needs makeup when you’ve got fresh air to blush your cheeks and brighten your eyes?
- Walk through a park or by the water and watch the leaves dance.
- The most important thing is to continue getting exercise and daylight so, if it’s raining, pull on the waterproofs and connect with nature.
- Take a good book to your favourite café and allow yourself to relax and enjoy just as much as if you were on holidays.
- Put together an amazing costume and throw a Hallowe’en party for adults. Except do all the things you used to do as a child – play bob the apple, eat coconut and colcannon, watch movies and buy stuff in for the trick-or-treaters.
- Make plans. If you’ve something to look forward to, it’s less easy to fall into an apathetic mood. Book a January sun or snow holiday or a city break. Or buy tickets for an upcoming show or gig.
- Grab your best mates for a comedy night or get all dressed up and go for dinner followed by dancing.
- Join a dating website and use the never-ending nights to chat up some potentials. Then, line up a few dates.
- Enrol in a new class like pilates or flower arranging or take the time to learn a new language or instrument. Or be proactive and start your own book or film club.
- Keep warm. Light a fire and snuggle up in a blanket with a mug of tea or hot chocolate.
If you’re worried that you have all the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), get support from loved ones and professionals. Then, to help yourself further, try out alternatives like homeopathy and acupuncture, take a vitamin D supplement, and do some research on purchasing a lamp. Also, make sure to get at least 30 minutes exercise in daylight each day.
And if it’s (dare I mention it) Christmas you’re (already) dreading, take the pressure off by buying the odd present here and there, starting from today. Or even better, suggest a Secret Santa arrangement so you only have to buy one or two presents each. Remind yourself that Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones, many of whom will travel home from abroad. So, you can look forward to being together, to fun nights out, good food, movies, hilarious board games, magical fairy lights and the inimitable scent of pine.
And just remember, if it weren’t for the cold, dark times, you wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine, would you?
Posted in Health, Modern Society
Tagged accessories, acupuncture, appreciation, autumn, christmas, daylight, depression, enjoyment, exercise, fashion, friends, galileo, hallowe'en, holiday, homeopathy, lamp, mood, nature, outdoors, plans, relaxation, sad, seasonal affective disorder, support, survival, tips, treat, walking, winter