21 Amazing Lessons You Will Learn With Mindfulness

mindfulness summit, meditation

Through my study of the world wisdom traditions and my journey into mindful living, I have learned many valuable lessons which have brought me greater peace, joy and fulfillment.

Here are 21 of the greatest spiritual lessons I’ve learned:

1. The world’s wisdom traditions have one central message that I have learned to live and know to be true. Happiness (and when I say happiness I mean a deep and lasting contentment, a sense of being at peace and at ease within and feeling a deep connectedness with life (a happiness that words could never fully capture)) cannot be found in external factors but can only be found within. Happiness comes from abiding in our natural state.

2. Thoughts are not facts.

3. I’m not who I think I am.

4. The moment I leave the present moment I leave myself. The moment I leave myself, I leave the source of all true fulfillment. Nothing ‘out there’ in the world can bring that sense of fulfillment back… but in a heartbeat I can choose to return to myself and the present moment.

5. Everything is alive. Everything is connected. I am a part of an incredible, vast, outrageously magnificent and mysterious evolving cosmos.

6. There is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.

7. When I drop desires and expectations about how people should be, about how life should be, about how I should be, all things are wonderful as they are.

8. Love, compassion and reverence arise naturally when I am fully present with any person, place or thing.

9. Taking care of myself is a gesture of love and kindness towards all life.

10. All fears ultimately come down to the fear of death. We don’t need to get rid of this fear but we do need to acknowledge it and extend compassion and understanding towards it. We also need to develop courage and vulnerability in the face of fear so we can live our lives authentically.

11. All that arises passes away. Observing and accepting this from the still, silent, changeless depths of my being, peace rushes forth.

12. What other people think of me is none of my business.

13. Our  minds are the bottom line for how we feel, what we think and how we act. Change our minds and we change our whole lives from the inside out.

mindfulness, peace14. Trying to change the world without changing myself is futile.

15. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

16. Resistance is futile.

17. Gratification comes and goes, contentment stays with you forever.

18. Beliefs shape our perceptions, just like sunglasses color what we see. Mindfulness lifts the glasses off our face so we can see things as they really are.

19. What makes a human being most unhappy is mind wandering. What makes a human being most happy is being fully present in the moment. Therefore the most intelligent thing to focus on (once survival needs are met) is being fully present in the moment.

20. There is no such thing as a mundane moment. Only mundane states of mind.

21. The only thing that keeps us from being at peace is the stories we tell ourselves about why we’re not at peace. Without the story there is only peace.

Do you have some of your own spiritual lessons to share with us? Share your own wisdom in the comments section below.

mindfulness summit, meditation

No such thing as a small act of kindness

No such thing as a small act of kindness

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Scott Adams, Creator Of Dilbert Comic Strip

kindness, plato, be kind, patience, love

“In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with.”
Brian Tracy, Motivational Author

 

“The best portion of a good man’s life; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
William Wordsworth, Poet

No such thing as a small act of kindness

Forgive, let go and be free

Forgive, let go and be free

forgive, let go and be free

 

Too often, we carry around those things from our past that hurt us the most.

Don’t let past pain rob you of your present happiness.

You had to live through it in the past, and that cannot be changed, but if the only place it lives today is in your mind, then forgive, let go, and be free.

~Doe Zantamata

What are you carrying around that you could let go of today? Who are you feeling bitter towards? Forgiveness does not mean you have to have the person who wronged you in your life, just that you learned a hard lesson and can move on from it without remaining attached to the emotional pain. The beauty of it is, when you free them, you free yourself.

Forgive, let go and be free

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

In this speech, Kamal Ravikant shares some wisdom on why self-love is really what truly matters in life. He then goes on to talk about the importance of truly loving yourself.

This is a raw, honest, 20-minute video summary of how a highly successful entrepreneur and investor was forced to re-evaluate his life. Kamal beautifully connects the left-brained world of Silicon Valley, with the world of the heart.

love yourself, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, kamal ravikantIn his book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, Kamal talks about how not loving yourself causes crippling depression, even if the outside world sees someone successful. Kamal goes on to teach how to reconnect with your authentic self, realising what is truly important in life, and how being true to yourself can bring you back to unbreakable success.

Find Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Symptoms are a sign: they help you back on track

Symptoms are a sign: they help you back on track

Symptoms are a signEven positive thinkers go through some tough times, and I don’t mind admitting that I’ve had a pretty crappy several months. Everybody has them, the key to being positive is to think, “So what can I learn from this to help me move forward?”.

My energy level dipped so low, and I have seen and felt this reflected in just about all areas of my life: health, home, finances and personal relationships. I have really beaten myself up even further at times because with all I have learned the last few years, I tell myself I should know better. “It’s easy Di, just keep laughing,” I tell myself, but then the laughing stopped, until I hated myself for feeling so self-pitying.

Many people feel low over the winter months, and I have come to realise by my own experience how much more this can affect people with chronic pain and illness, for whom the cold and dark winter months become so much more isolating.

I have made so much more effort during the summer months to build up my energy levels – eat well, socialise as much as possible, take meditative time out in nature – that it came as a shock to me just how far my energy dipped this winter. I was doing really well until September when, for medical reasons, I lost my driving licence for a few months, which led to me being confined to the house much more than usual. It took some much appreciated effort from my doctor to retrieve it. However, the stress did me no favours and I felt the downward spiral, from which I didn’t recover too well. I have written about these downward and upward spirals previously and how they work in our lives, but even I was really struggling with it this time. My pain levels were sky-rocketing, sleep pattern was non-existent (lots of it but erratic and non-refreshing), and depression was smothering me.

About six weeks ago, just before I went to Spain, I told my doctor I felt I had really lost my grip. I’m fortunate to have a doctor who supports the more holistic and natural methods I have discovered, even if she doesn’t completely understand them. She thought it a good idea to do some blood tests, so I asked if I could have the full lot done, including vitamins, which aren’t routinely tested here in the UK.

On my return from Spain (part of which holiday provided further evidence of my low energy frequency), a letter informed me I needed to contact my doctor about the blood tests. After chatting about my holiday and how I could not get the pain and sleep back to a manageable level, she told me that the blood tests showed me to have severely low iron ferritin and vitamin D levels. I had to have been running low for several months for the levels to become so severe.

The low iron would account for the increased fatigue and low energy, and the low vitamin D would be causing increased pain and many other symptoms. Anyone with fibromyalgia knows that increased everyday pain is not good. By the way, vitamin D is not strictly a vitamin but is a hormone.

This really made sense to me. Not going out so much would deprive my body of natural sunlight which provides the vitamin D. Not shopping for the fresh food that is more available in the summer, and not paying enough attention to dietary requirements, eating much more convenience food over the winter, was depriving my body of much-needed good nutrition, including iron. These are factors which I imagine would affect many people restricted through disability or infirmity. As energy levels dip, it becomes even more difficult to take care of oneself properly, and so the downward spiral begins and propels itself.

Ordinarily, I would listen to these results and say, OK I need to get out in the sunlight and need to do something about my diet. However, I had to recognise I am not strong enough to do that at the moment, and have appreciatively welcomed the intervention prescribed by my doctor of a 3-month supply of iron and vitamin D tablets – a relief to my doctor I believe as she does know my level of reluctance to take medications, as I see many as a band-aid over a deep wound. As a precaution, we’ve also added in some magnesium supplements as that helps the body with absorption of other vital nutrients.

My message here is one of taking notice of the symptoms. Symptoms are not meant to make you stay where you are. Symptoms are a sign that you need to do something different, change direction. They tell you when you are not treating your precious body correctly. If left unnoticed, they can cause permanent damage to the cells of your body, and store up further problems for the future, not only physical damage but emotional damage in the way you start mentally treating your body and mind too with negative thoughts.

Fatigue, pain and low mood are not always something you can cure with positive thinking, and are not to be taken for granted. They should always be checked out. As mine was, your body may be crying out for some loving nourishment.

Personally, I am still a reluctant pill-taker, I believe nature provides everything our bodies need, and we’ve got to feed ourselves properly. However, for the moment, I’m going to stop beating myself up that I should be able to positive-think my way out of it. I’m going to be kind to my mind, as that needs emotional nourishment too.

I am looking forward to feeling physically healthier, and I have given myself a task for this year, to build a collection of some simple recipes, with easily-accessible natural, nutritious ingredients that will fulfil all my dietary requirements to keep me healthy in winters to come, and ensure I go for some time outside, no matter how cold the weather is.

Symptoms are a sign: they help you back on track

When things go wrong … (part 3)

When things go wrong … (part 3)

how you reactFollowing on from When things go wrong … Part 1 and Part 2

I slept for what seemed like only a few minutes. It was about 4:30am when I awoke.

Remembering that my hired car was parked where it shouldn’t be, I started worrying I would have to move it before about 8am if I was to avoid a run-in with the Spanish police. I didn’t want to go walking down dark streets at that time of the morning, even though I have never felt unsafe in Spain. Going back to sleep could be risky. I may or may not wake in time. The crazy thing about narcolepsy is my ability to sleep ‘on a washing line’, as long as it’s not at night when sleep is supposed to happen!

I got up and explored my room more thoroughly, as I hadn’t had a chance before flaking out after the events of last night. As I’ve come to expect in Spain, my room and en-suite shower room were immaculately clean. Wondering why my basement room would have curtains, I looked behind to discover an open patio door, leading out into a small courtyard, only about 2 metres square. At first I worried that the door had been open while I slept, then I realised my room was the only access to the courtyard, so I was safe. It added to the cuteness of my room.

I put on my coat and decided to go look for the kitchen up on the roof terrace I remembered vaguely being told about, and see if I could make a cup of tea. I grabbed my cigarettes, Kindle and headphones. I have some guided meditations stored on my Kindle, maybe one of those would help tame the negative thoughts I already felt creeping back.

Tea made, I found the roof terrace a quiet, serene place to sit. The sky was a blanket of stars, many more than I could ever possibly see over my cloudy hometown back in the North-East of England. One star in the East, right ahead of me, seemed to shine ten times brighter than all the rest. Something about it made me feel less alone.

The anger from the previous evening pushed into my thoughts now and again, but the serenity of the night helped my soul to tame it. I turned my attention to what I have learned, and what I would be advising someone else who described such a thing happening to them.

The first thing that came up was “You have to stop the anger”. My ego argued, “Why should I stop it, I have a right to be bloody angry?”. My soul returned, “you’ll only get more of it”. Of course this made sense to me: I knew that if I continued to carry this angry emotion around, my negative energy vibration would result in the attraction of more negative consequences to myself. It wouldn’t affect him one bit.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Gautama Buddha

when things go wrongI thought of several other of my mantras I use when facing tough times:

  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • It always works out for me.
  • Things don’t always work out as we planned, but they always work out right.
  • I may not be where I expected to be, but I am where I’m meant to be.
  • At the times when its hardest to think it, you have to remember there is a blessing in Everything

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” 
― Wayne W. Dyer

Repeating these, and feeling the energy of the stars, the universe, and my guardian angels, really smoothed my frayed edges and blunted the spiky thoughts. I felt altogether more peaceful and sat there under the stars for a couple of hours. I played a meditation audio, I read some soothing words from one of my many Kindle books, smoked a few ciggies and had another cup of tea. I decided to check on a flight home later on when I could get a wifi connection.

Then I realised, I was awake early enough to watch a beautiful Nerja sunrise, a rarity for me. I’m not a morning person, and it had been many years since I had watched the sunrise from a beach here. What a treat! I headed down to the Balcon de Europa, just a 3-minute walk away, at about 6:30am.

Although the Balcon was deserted when I first arrived, I was surprised to see quite a few people arrive so soon after, a couple of obvious tourists – like me, with their cameras – and several Spanish people. How lovely, I thought, that they still make the effort to watch the sunrise, they don’t take it for granted, as many do of the beautiful scenes right at their doorsteps. It felt very spiritual, to see so many individuals, not talking to one another because each was absorbed in their own reason for being there, yet we were all connected in the soaking up of the energy of the morning. As the sun beamed “Good morning,” that bright star in the East whispered “Goodnight”.

nerja sunriseThere was a family there: they could have been grandparents, or they could have been mum and dad who had their two young sons later in life. The two adults were taking turns taking pictures of the family with the sun rising behind them. I thought, what a shame if they can’t all be in the same picture, so I walked over and gestured that I would take a picture of them all together with their camera. Happy with this, they returned the favour and took a photo of me with my phone. Language is no barrier to kindness, a smile speaks every language.

After moving my car to a better parking space, I returned to my room. I knew I needed to sleep and would not be checking out in time, so paid for another night. I would look for a flight home later. I slept all day.

when life throws you a wobblyWhen I awoke late in the afternoon, I looked for a flight. As it was such short notice, the flight prices were really quite high. I couldn’t change my existing flight, which was more than another week away, as I had already checked-in online and printed my boarding pass. I would have to pay for a new flight. It would take me way over my budget I’d saved for my holiday. After consideration, I thought if I was going to have to hit the credit card anyway for the flight, I could probably get a less expensive hostel over the other side of town, where it would be easier to park my car, and for the week it wouldn’t be too much more than the flight, add meals and spending money … Oh, blow it! The more I listened to my heart, the more I realised I HAD to stay. I hadn’t had a holiday in so long. I didn’t know when I would be able to afford or physically manage another. And my main reason was that I should not go home feeling like my holiday was ruined, not because I would blame him, but because I would blame MYSELF. I had options. While getting into debt is not something I would normally do for a holiday – being medically retired, unexpected expenses can be worrisome – it is something I felt I needed to do for peace of mind, and a week of straightening out my energy in such a lovely place. I decided I was not returning home full of regret, or blame for anyone, least of all myself.

After visiting a hotel just a couple of doors away from my favourite Irish bar, with plenty of free parking outside it, and getting a good deal on a week’s stay, I arranged to move in the following day as I’d already paid for the hostel.

I spent my last evening at the hostel focussing on the good things in my life: I was in a beautiful place. Several people had been helpful and caring in the last couple of days, this was the natural order of things. I was safe and as comfortable as I could be, despite the ongoing pain in my body which I have come to expect and manage the best I can. I was grateful to have hired the car, what would I have done without it? I was grateful that I had the emergency backup of a credit card. I decided this was going to be a lovely week ahead. I drifted into one of the most peaceful sleeps I had had in some time.

On arrival at the hotel the next day, I received a warm welcome by a young lady receptionist I had not met the previous day. She greeted me by my first name as I approached the desk as if I was an old friend. I appreciated the friendly informality.

I spent the week relaxing, chilling out, looking for things to appreciate and reasons to feel grateful, and I found them everywhere. The trauma of the event that brought me here faded into insignificance. I took walks along the beach, stopping at the regularly-placed wooden benches to sit and read a while, and to just watch the temperamental ocean.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” 
― Wayne W. Dyer

I sat at a beach bar for a coffee and a group of three Englishmen at the next table invited me into their company by asking me about my Kindle. They were new to Nerja, and asked if I could recommend some good eating places. I mentioned a few restaurants, but assured them they couldn’t really go wrong: I had never had a bad meal here. Knowing I was in town on my own, they invited me to join them for dinner. I thanked them for the invite and graciously declined, happy to just float along in my own little world this week.

The next day, sat on a bench reading, I happened to look up just as two of the men from the day before passed by. “Hey Kindle lady”, they stopped to chat. I realised we had not introduced ourselves by name yesterday, so I introduced myself and held out a hand to shake with John and Mike. “We’re just going for some lunch. If you’re at a loose end, you’re very welcome to join us,” John offered. “That’s very kind of you. Really, I’m fine thank you”.

I continued to sit and focus on all the lovely, kind, friendly people in the world, and in my life. This is the best way to deal with the occasional unkind, unfriendly person, by realising that they are not the ‘norm’, we will bump into them occasionally for whatever reason, but to focus on unkindness will only attract more of that, so to counteract that negative energy, you look for the good in people.

The next day, after a short walk, of long duration with my many stops, I passed by a couple of familiar bars, but there was a big rugby match on the TV’s so I didn’t stop, I headed back to my hotel room. However, something made me stop at my Irish bar, despite the rugby projecting from the big screen on the terrace, and I ordered a pot of tea. I was reading my Kindle, and my attention was drawn to a lady sat at another table. She had a hat beside her on the table and it reminded me of my favourite aunt, a boho, hippie-style lady. After a few minutes, she turned and saw me, and said “What beautiful nails you have”. “Thank you”, I said, and we began chatting. As it turned out, Amanda had been travelling on her own around Spain for six months, and she was a writer/blogger. This connected us further, as it has long been a dream of mine to travel around Spain, and more of Europe. I don’t know how the subject came about so quickly, but she mentioned a couple of people had suggested she read ‘The Power of Now’. “Oh, Eckhart Tolle,” I said. “Yes,” she said, “now I know I must read it. I keep bumping into people who know of it”.

Amanda and I got along famously over the next few days. We had read many of the same or similar books, we held similar beliefs about the powers of the universe, we were on a similar life path. I said wasn’t it funny how I had stopped at the Irish bar even though I really wasn’t interested in the rugby. Amanda said the same: in the several weeks she had been in Nerja she had rarely been to that side of town, and she wasn’t interested in the rugby either. Amanda was going home next week too. It really felt like one of those ‘invisible threads’ I have read of, and have come to know to be true. Our souls really connected.

Amanda introduced me to an Italian restaurant I hadn’t been to before: delicious and a budget-traveller’s dream. We had some serious discussions about how our beliefs had pulled us through some tough times, and we had some right big laughs about the synchronicities and the fun games we had played with the universe and our angels.

I may not have ended up where I expected to be but I was in exactly the best place where I needed to be. I had not only made peace with where I was and how I had landed there, but I had made the conscious decision to attract the good world I wanted to see, and so it was.

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
Wayne W. Dyer

Read – When things go wrong … Part 1 and Part 2

When things go wrong … (part 3)

When things go wrong … (part 2)

When things go wrong … (part 2)

So, following on from yesterday’s post, there I was – struck with the shock of it all. I was in a foreign country, I didn’t know anywhere or anyone else in this town, I spoke little of the language, and it was after 11pm. The worst shock of all was that someone I liked and trusted had let me down like this. My body was immobilised for some time apart from the tears falling down my face …

What was I going to do now?

when things go wrongMy spirit was trying to look for solutions, but my head, my conscious and my subconscious human ego, kept interrupting it with thoughts of “How/why did this happen?”, “What did I do to deserve that? I did nothing to deserve that”, “They’re such an asshole/jerk/(insert whatever derogatory description you can think of here, I probably thought every one of them)”.

I could feel the adrenaline and cortisol, hormones produced by fear and a sense of panic, coursing through my body, When this happens I know it isn’t going to end well. While the fight or flight response was designed to protect us, I have come to know it as a precursor to intense fatigue and pain. Much of my learning over the past few years, many of the tools I have learned, such as meditation, EFT tapping, positive thinking, has been with the aim of controlling this automatic bodily response, with varying degrees of success.

However, this was a new situation to me: I was not in, or near, my comfortable home, to where I could retreat and shut out the rest of the world and concentrate on me. This was an emergency situation: I had to take effective, practical action. Sitting for an hour or two tapping, listening to a guided meditation, and drifting off into a nap was not an option at this time, unless I wanted to spend a chilly Spanish night in a hired car. While the adrenaline was keeping me awake for now, but wired and filled with anxiety, I knew it wouldn’t take long for narcoleptic sleepiness to take over (I could feel the stinging in my eyes and heaviness in my eyelids), and for the cortisol surge to start griping at my fibromyalgic muscles (my toes and neck were already feeling the familiar vice-like grip that would come to meet as it spread throughout my body), and I needed to be in a safe and comfortable place before that happened.

After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only about 20 minutes, the friendly but commanding voice that said “Di, you have to get through this”, began to take control. I started the car. I used to visit Nerja, the next town about 10 minutes along a single road along the coast, quite regularly. I knew a couple of British bars there that would probably still be open. So I headed for there.

Along the winding coast road I realised only the sidelights were working on the car, but when I turned the knob, instead of the headlights coming on, the lights went out completely, so I turned it back again. I realised I did not know how to work the lights in the unfamiliar car which I hadn’t driven at night before. So, hoping not to bump, literally or figuratively, into the Spanish police, and hoping there were no traffic cameras along that stretch of road that would catch me with inadequate lighting and result in a 100 euro penalty being deducted from the £300 deposit I had paid, I slowly and carefully progressed along the road, careful not to go over the ridge at the side into the Mediterranean ocean.

I got to my favourite Irish bar in Nerja, and was welcomed by the same owner and barmaid I had known on my previous visits several years before. I asked for a coffee (‘wired’ was definitely a better state to be in than sleepy at this point). I was still visibly upset, and although they were empathetic and tried to be helpful, they didn’t know of anywhere open this late at night.

A brief visit to the English bar around the corner, and a chat with the owner, whom I also knew from yesteryear, also yielded no suggestion of a place that would be open at this time, now after midnight. I returned to my car and again the tears flowed. By now, I was thinking I may have to sleep in the car, but also worried that if I did so, the pain which was spreading rapidly, would be unbearable the next morning and would likely result in the need for Spanish hospital attention. And, I would be needing the bathroom very shortly as the coffee made its way through!

I remembered a discovery I had made just the day before: my old Kindle had a free 3G facility on it. I had only used it for Facebook but I wondered how it would fare with searching on Google (it’s not the Fire type, it’s the e-ink version that doesn’t show any graphics but just plain text). I searched for hostels, and found one that said it had a 24-hour reception. The thought crossed my mind, “how fortunate that I discovered this feature on my Kindle just at the right time, thank you my angels”. Armed with a map I was given in one of the bars, I made my way to it, just a couple minutes drive away, but the difficulty was where I could park the car nearby. I ended up parking illegally, but had to be close enough to walk to the hostel with the tightening vice crunching on my feet and legs, and the crushed-glass-like feeling beneath my soles, my neck and shoulders screaming that they would make me pay for forcing my arms to pull this suitcase along a cobbled street, every stone shooting an agonising lightning bolt through me.

I rang the bell of the Hostal Bronce and a young man emerged from a room and opened the door. “Do you speak English? Can I get a room here now?” I croaked from a throat barely open enough to speak. When he said “Yes”, the relief that surged through me accompanied a buckling of the knees, and a torrent of tears and sobs. He gently touched my arm and guided me into an office, where a young lady appeared and kindly offered me a cup of tea.

After showing him my passport and eagerly paying for a room for the night, the gentleman showed me to my basement room, which was homely and perfect, and had it’s own bathroom. I could not have felt more relieved and grateful if I was in a luxurious palace. Then he carried my suitcase down the flight of stairs for me.

Collapsing onto the bed, I reached into my bag for my painkillers, which I took with the most delicious cup of tea I ever tasted and, fully clothed, I closed my eyes and thought “I am safe!”.

I knew it wasn’t over yet. I would have to decide what my next step was, how I was going to move forward from what had happened. How was I going to deal with the anger I felt at having my much-needed and eagerly-awaited ‘relaxing’ holiday ruined and, even worse, my trust broken? I’d think about that tomorrow, but I reminded myself that at this very moment I had everything I needed.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns;
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he struck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow;
You may well succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the Victor’s cup!
And he learned too late, when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near, when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It is when things seem worst you must not quit.

Author : Unknown

Read Part 3 here

When things go wrong … (part 2)

When things go wrong … (part 1)

When things go wrong …

when things go wrongIt’s a while since I wrote a ‘proper’ post. That’s because I have been on holiday – yay!!!

I don’t get to go on holiday so much these days, for various reasons. My last holiday was over 2 years ago. Due to health challenges, it can be physically difficult, not to mention the budgetary requirements. So when I received some offers to visit friends and family in Spain, I appreciated and gratefully accepted the invitations.

I hired a car. For the amount I travel these days, buses and taxis as I needed them would probably have been more cost-effective, and the buses in Spain are very reliable, comfortable and inexpensive, although the bus-stops can be a fair distance to walk to. So I figured the convenience of having a car at my disposal, even for short journeys to the shops and the beach, as I can’t walk very far without pain, would make my holiday more pleasant as I would be less likely to overdo things and end up wasting a week or more of my 3-week holiday in bed in pain.

The first week of my holiday was in Torrox. It was lovely to spend time with my cousin, who had moved out to Spain about 8 years ago, shortly after I had taken her there on holiday. The weather was bright and sunny, but quite windy, which made it too chilly for sun-bathing. In bed at night, I could hear the Mediterranean ocean lapping against the shore, so soothing.

almunecar
Marianne’s terrace, Almunecar

Then I moved on to Almunecar, where I stayed with my Swedish friend, Marianne, who I had met about 6 years ago whilst visiting a friend who was care-taking the villa next door to her and her husband Luis. We had got along so well, we remained friends and kept in touch, despite the generation gap. Marianne is 70 years of age, however you would not think it to see how she looks after her fruit garden and walks down her big hill into town to shop almost every day. This was my 3rd visit to Marianne since our first meeting, and the first time Luis would be absent. Sadly, Luis had passed away in December. Luis was Spanish. His wonderful flamenco guitar-playing and singing was sadly missed.

Luis had often talked about his favourite restaurant, El Capricho, in the village of Otivar, where they make a dish called Pollo a la Manzana (chicken cooked with apple), which he described as ‘the best chicken in the world’. Although Otivar is not far from Almunecar, it is inland along some hilly, winding tracks, and the buses to and from there are few and far between, so a visit by car would be easier. I didn’t get the chance to go there while Luis was alive, as he and Marianne do not own a car in Spain, so I felt it would be a fitting tribute to take Marianne there on this visit.

I asked Marianne if she could call to make a reservation, as was recommended on their website. I felt my Spanish language skills were a bit rusty. She said there was no need: a reservation is only necessary for large parties. When we got there, however, the Spanish waiter told Marianne we needed to make a reservation in advance to order the chicken, they had no extras available. I gave Marianne a mischievous smile, but before we had chance to be disappointed, a lady came out from the kitchen and told the waiter that the party of 27 coming in had just called to cancel one place. Haha this was so funny: whether it was my intention that I was going to have that chicken, or Marianne’s assurance that we didn’t need to order it, either way by the Law of Attraction (or perhaps with the divine help of Angel Luis) we did get our chicken. As there was only one portion we had to share it, however that was plenty for the two of us; Marianne said that when they had a portion each, they would take half home in a doggy-bag. Indeed it was the juiciest, most succulent, tasty chicken I ever had. We raised a toast to Luis and followed the chicken with Creme Caramel and a cafe con leche. Bless you Luis!

Marianne took me to some of the best tapas bars in Almunecar. Tapas vary from place to place. In Nerja, for example, you usually need to sit at the bar with your drink and you choose which tapa you would like from the tapas cabinet along the bar. In Almunecar, however, you can even sit outside with your drink and they bring a tapa to you automatically, for free, without your asking. You never know what you will get, it could be anything from a dish of deep-fried baby octopus to a ham and cheese toasted sandwich or mini cheeseburger. I have rarely been disappointed with the quality of tapas. I have wondered how the Spanish make enough profits to survive when they provide you with a glass of wine or beer and some delicious food for less than 2 euros; I am certain it is their innate generosity that ensures they always have enough.

heartsAs we sat at a tapas bar on the beach, I glanced down towards my feet (actually I think I was trying to shelter my phone underneath the table so I could see the screen to use the camera), and I spotted a little stone shaped like a heart. Two of my favourite things are to look for hearts every day, and also to look for pretty little beach pebbles to bring back from Spain (I have quite a collection now). I consider hearts to be my little messages from the angels saying ‘We’re with you, we love you, you’re OK’.

Then on my fifth and final evening at Marianne’s she went to a dish of pebbles in her conservatory and pulled out a purple ceramic heart and gave it to me, to end a lovely visit.

The following day I moved onto the next, and supposed to be final, leg of my visit to Spain. This was where things went drastically awry. After a somewhat pleasant day, suddenly, in the evening, without warning, one of my hosts (I don’t feel any identification is appropriate or necessary here) began verbally attacking me over something so trivial: my attempt to get the wifi working on my little netbook appeared to be affecting the TV reception. I shut down my computer, but in the minute it took for it to shut down their irritation had escalated into a rage. My attempt to defuse the matter by saying I couldn’t shut it down any quicker and was this really any reason to get so angry, did not work and they said they didn’t want me there anyway. At which point I did the human thing and became upset and angry myself and began arguing back. Not that I wanted to stay – I don’t want to stay anywhere I don’t feel comfortable or welcome, but to try to understand why this argument was even happening. Realising this was not going to change or fix the situation – some people’s behaviour can not be understood, especially in the heat of the moment – I headed off to pack my bags.

His verbal onslaught was not a short-lived one. He continued to scream at me. In the 30 minutes or so it took me to pack, due to my shaking with shock and anger, and not able to close my case for some time without bouncing on it, I could hear him screaming at his partner, who was trying to defend me and telling him how unreasonable he was being. His answer to her was “If you don’t like it, you can get out too (although in much stronger language)”. When I came back down the stairs, he screamed at me again until I was out the door.

I loaded my suitcase into my car, and sat in the driver’s seat. At this point, I was struck with the shock of it all. I was in a foreign country, I didn’t know anywhere or anyone else in this town, I spoke little of the language, and it was after 11pm. The worst shock of all was that someone I liked and trusted had let me down like this. My body was immobilised for some time apart from the tears falling down my face …

What was I going to do now?

Read Part 2 here

When things go wrong …

 

Reason, Season or Lifetime

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

reason season or lifetimePeople come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

Thank You for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season, or a lifetime

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

The problem is not the problem…

The problem is not the problem…

problem, solution, attitude, problem-solvingProblems are a part of life. They have accompanied us since birth, and will continue to do so until the twilight of our lives. But this is no reason to get upset. In fact, the thought that problems happen to absolutely everyone should come as a welcome relief.

Problems are not the result of being a bad or good person. They happen to good and bad people alike. Sometimes, even despite our best judgements and careful planning, challenges still occur in the most unexpected circumstances.

It can be easy to look around and think other people do not have problems. This is not true; they have just mastered the art of dealing with them effectively and moving more quickly towards the solution. They often recognise there are opportunities to be realised.

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?”
Captain Jack Sparrow

Here are some tips to conquer your problems:

Trace the root of the problem.

The best way to start finding a solution to a problem is to try to figure out how the problem started in the first place. If you find yourself lost in the middle of the road, the chances are that you took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. This is why you need to go back, retrace your steps, and discover where you have gone wrong. This way you would be able to figure out which way you should go, which roads to avoid, and how to get there.

From this, you will learn how to make more effective decisions in the future.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Little problems are best dealt with by giving them a shrug of the shoulder. Having a bad hair day or breaking a nail is not reason enough to break into fits of hysteria. Sure, it is annoying; but get over it! People will be surprised how a little change in their attitude can go a long way in solving their problems.

In fact, a lot of problems people are facing will dissolve if they only change their attitude. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of their lives, and being so cynical, they should instead try to make the best out of every situation. If you are not satisfied with the situation you are in, you should strive to make some positive changes in your life.

When I find myself worrying about some things, I ask myself, “Will this matter in a year/week/day’s time?”. When I hear back the answer ‘No’, it is much easier to let go of the worry and think “This too shall pass”, making space in my head for a solution to manifest, if one is needed.

Confront your problems.

Not confronting problems can lead to bigger issues. Before problems can be solved, they must first be dealt with. For example, a person pretending not to be sick when he very well knows that he is suffering from an illness will not help him solve this problem. In fact, this will only make the situation much worse, if he refuses to seek out the medical attention that he needs.

The problem with choosing to ignore problems is that they can lead to bigger problems. Some who choose to escape their problems may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other self-destructive behaviours simply because they want to avoid the problems they are encountering. This, in turn, becomes a part of the problem. Instead of finding a solution, they find bigger problems.

Ask for help.

Strength comes in numbers. One of the best ways to quickly solve a problem is to ask for help. This is where friends and family come in. Not only will they be physically able to help you, they can also be a source of emotional help as well. Not only that, they would be able to throw in some ideas that just might be the key to finding the solution to your problem!

Having some problems does not mean that it is the end of the world. It just means that you are going to have to work hard at finding the solutions to your problems. By going through this process, not only will you solve your problems, but you can gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom along the way!

The problem is not the problem…