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Living intentionally

Reasons for living: looking for the beauty in a messy world

looking-for-the-beauty

 

I’ve been feeling haunted lately. Overwhelmed by the frequent visits of the ghosts of anxiety and depression.

 

I’ve unlatched the windows and left the doors wide open. I’ve welcomed them in and made them tea. We’ve curled up on the couch together and I’ve let them talk me into the same old habits.

 

The moping. The dreading. The hiding.


 

I have always liked the quote by Rumi…

 

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

 

In this bittersweet world of heartbreak, delight, suffering and awe, finding this balance becomes a matter of survival.

 

I need to hold on to the sweet, the good, the lovely and the joyful. These things are like a life raft, the only barrier between me and the freezing waters below.

I must let go of the bitter, the sad, the unfair and the awful. Because holding them too long scorches my hands, blinds my sight and cripples my whole being.

 

It sometimes seems cruel to me that we were created with such inquisitive minds, yet left with so many unanswered and unanswerable questions.

 

I so often wonder why… but I am old enough to know now that there are somethings we don’t know.

Perhaps everything doesn’t happen for reason. Maybe some things just happen.

 

So as I’m wrestling with my confusion and trying to make sense of the mess I see around me, I have decided that I will refuse to let the darkness win. I won’t be overcome by sadness, emptiness or numbness.

 

Right now, I am choosing to live.  I am searching for beauty in the midst of this messy world, in the middle of my messy life and here’s why I think you should too…

 

Reasons to live:

 

One.

When you hold someone you love so much that you cannot help but squeeze them tightly. Willing them to never let you go. And that precious feeling of realising that they are squeezing you right back.

 

Two.

Sitting outside in the summer with clear, blue skies above you. The sun warming your back and penetrating its warmth deep down into your soul.

 

Three.

Going to the beach and feeling the salt cling to your skin. The way it leaves your hair matted and lingers on your tongue. The sand that squishes in between your toes, gathers in your towel and spreads absolutely everywhere.

 

Four.

Jumping into a bed covered with freshly washed sheets. So crisp and clean you feel like royalty.

 

Five.

Biting into a soft dinner roll that is still warm from being in the oven. Spreading butter lavishly across the bread and watching as it sinks in beautifully.

 

Six.

Staying outside to watch the dusk melt a glorious sunset into the dark night sky.

 

Seven.

Getting dressed up to go somewhere fancy. Feeling like a million dollars.

 

Seven.

Watching a delicate butterfly dancing lightly on the breeze.

 

Eight.

That fluttery, stomach-sinking feeling of talking to someone you like very much.

 

Nine.

When it’s cool in the winter and you can see your breath billow around you like smoke from a dragon.

 

Ten.

When you share a special smile with someone that only the two of you understand.

 

Eleven.

That floopy feeling you get when drinking cocktails on an empty stomach.

 

Twelve.

Bagels that are toasted, smeared with thick layers of cream cheese and boysenberry jam.

 

Thirteen.

Thawing out your fingers beside the fire after braving the icy wind outside.

 

Fourteen.

Napping in the afternoon and waking up feeling all cozy and yummy.

 

Fifteen.

Finding a cafe that makes a perfect cup of coffee. Inhaling the soothing scent and buzzing when the caffeine finally wakes you up.

 

Sixteen.

The satisfaction of eating something you grew all by yourself in your garden.

 

Seventeen.

Back rubs and side hugs.

 

Eighteen.

Coming home after a very long day and kicking your shoes off your tired feet. Putting on comfy slippers that melt beneath each step.

 

Nineteen.

Watching a thunderstorm roll in. Feeling the rumble of thunder echo in your chest. That violent terror that shakes you with every bolt of lightening.

 

Twenty.

Being out in the middle of nowhere on a crisp night and seeing millions of stars twinkling high above you.

 

Twenty one.

Finding that deliciously soft spot of fur behind a dog’s ears.

 

Twenty two.

Toasting marshmallows over a campfire so that they blister and crisp perfectly on the outside while remaining gooey through the centre.

 

Twenty three.

Fresh tomatoes that carry an earthy scent. Rosy-red cheeked and sweet to eat.

 

Twenty four.

Kisses that almost stop time. Making you forget where and who you are for a teensy tiny second.

 

Twenty five.

The fresh start of a new day, a new month and a new year. A blank page full of possibilities.

 

looking for beauty, life is beautiful, finding happiness, how to be happier, looking for the good, loving life, appreciating beauty, reasons for living, encouragement,

 

And on and on I go, counting my blessings and remembering the reasons for living. Remembering all the wonderful moments sprinkled throughout the mundane in my every day.

 

This world is vast.

 

It stretches on further than our minds can grasp.

There is so much to explore, so much to experience, so much to beauty we have yet to see.

 

I know that the bitter is very real. Burning our throats as it goes down. Pulling the curtains and blocking the sunlight. Turning our whole world upside down.

 

But let us not forget the sweet. Let us not become numb to its gentle caress. It is the sweet that makes life worth living.


 

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. So many promises to ourselves and to others.

But for me, there is only one resolution I will be making.

 

To search wholeheartedly for beauty in my everyday life.

 

To shut the door on anxiety and depression. To seek help when I need it and give myself grace in abundance.

To refuse to cling onto the bitter but instead, to remember the sweet.

 

A year in the life: the lessons I have learnt and the blog posts they inspired

a-year-in-the-life

 

I cannot believe we are already standing on the brink of a new year.

 

It doesn’t matter how long I have lived,  I am always taken aback by the way the days, weeks and years tumble into one another and how easily I lose track of them.

 

In my room I have a box of journals. Some incomplete. Some impossible to read due to the padlocks I insisted on using. Some filled with nothing but drawings, doodles and childhood dreams.

 

This summer I want to clean out the bedroom I used as a child but I fear it will be something of a challenge.

Mostly because of that pink, sparkly box filled with my journals.

 

I hate getting rid of things. I hate choosing what things are important enough to keep and what things hopefully won’t be missed.

 

I can’t bring myself to get rid of the journals. Etched on those pages, immortalised in those words is me. Me at age 8, 13 and 16. Me growing up, finding myself and becoming who I am.

 

I couldn’t throw away those journals any more than I could wipe this blog off the internet. The memories are too precious. The snapshots of my life too rare.

 

I’m so thankful for that sparkly, pink box. I’m so thankful for this wide, open space. This blog that enables me to pour myself out, fill you up, and keep who I was at that point in time, frozen forever.

 

Please indulge me with this one very long, final post. These are the lessons I have learnt this year. These are the blog posts I have written. This is the person I was in 2018.

 

A year in the life…

 

January:

The month you never got to see. I was in a mad scurry to get this new blog up and running.

I was also hunting for a new flat for us to live in, going to a billion flat viewings and feeling increasingly discouraged as our options grew slim!

 

Thankfully, I managed to find a perfect place that absolutely exceeded all of my expectations. And we made the place our own right before the end of the month.

 

February:

Hello and welcome to the new blog! I launched meganhallier.com and finally had an online space that matched the dream I had inside my head.

 

After moving into the new flat I decided this year I absolutely HAD to get to know my neighbours. So I took them some muffins and forged new friendships.

We got ourselves a dinner invitation with one of our neighbours who unfortunately didn’t speak English. This meal sparked my first post: The gift of our diversity.

 

I also started a new job working at a charity store which I fell in love with immediately. I got to work with clothes every day which was a dream come true!

 

But I also faced a secret battle with anxiety as my fear for the future became overwhelming. This inspired my second post: There is enough.

 

a-year-in-the-life

March:

This month I learned the importance of slowing down for the first time. I realised that for my three years at university I had been rushing, straining and striving which was no good for me.

 

I took comfort in the familiar motions of being in my kitchen which is why I wrote: I’m not in a hurry.

 

I went to a leader’s retreat for church and as I watched the most glorious sunset I began formulating the words for my post: fighting the fear of missing out.

 

But March also saw me truly wrestling with my faith for the first time. I lost sight of who God is and how He fits into my life but just as quickly as I abandoned Him, I found Him again. Which lead me to write: beauty for ashes.

 

April:

In every spare moment I had, I began to write. In the hour before work, in the silences between serving customers, in the evenings after dinner.

 

I discovered that once I released myself from the “lifestyle blogging” box I was free to write with abandon. To dig deeper, to push myself harder, to reveal more than ever before.

 

And after watching and falling in love with the movie ‘La La Land’ I wrote: Here’s to the ones who dream.

 

I also went to talk on the enneagram. Learnt I am a four. And got punched in the gut with the things my type does badly. For instance, constantly longing for the future instead of enjoying the present. Cue blog post: living in the now and the endless longing for the not yet. 

 

year-in-the-life

 

May:

As my friendships changed after college I found myself craving community. So I got more involved at church and more invested in my relationships.

A volunteer at the charity store was telling me about a quilt that her and her friends were making which inspired the metaphor in the post: Craving community and the cost of real connection. 

 

In May I finally graduated from college which was one of the proudest and happiest moments of my life. But around the same time I unfortunately was replaced at my job which broke my heart and so I wrote: That familiar feeling of a changing season.

 

My anxiety continued to simmer beneath the surface so I took the very brave step of going to see a counselor. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and it inspired the post: Healing from the past; unraveling our stories and struggles. 

 

June:

In the dead of winter we went ice skating and my wobbly legs on the slippery ice encouraged me to write about: The fear and thrill of the fall. 

 

Around this time I was job hunting and managed to get a few interviews but the number of rejections began to get me down. The searching felt endless and so I tried to encourage anyone else in the same boat with the post: Facing up to the fear of rejection.

 

Then with my self esteem plummeting I did what any sensible person would and picked up a Brene Brown book. Her inspiring message about the power of vulnerability helped my pick myself back up and I wrote: Daring to be vulnerable and my fear of feeling joy. 

 

year-in-the-life

July:

I was so lost. Jobless and sad, I couldn’t manage to write and so the blog got placed on the back burner in favour of my mental health.

 

August:

I finally found a new job! Working as a retail assistant in a cafe. I was delighted to work again and keep myself busy but I felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. So I wrote: Feeling like a failure…when life doesn’t go as planned. 

 

But I also learnt the importance of being myself and I managed to flip that feeling of failure on its head. And I wrote: Authenticity and finding happiness by being myself. 

 

One weekend, I watched the Netflix movie everyone was raving about- ‘To all the boys I’ve loved before’ and I decided to write my own blog post about my past loves: To all the boys I’ve loved before.

And it was this post that prompted me to finally admit (what was probably clear to everyone else) that I was in love again. This time it was mutual!

 

year-in-the-life

 

September:

I’ve struggled with all kinds of insecurities but the very worst one has always been around my weight.

 

This year I finally began to look my myself in the mirror and actually LIKE what I saw. But nevertheless, the bad days still came and the ugly insecurities still arose. So I wrote about my body positivity struggles in my post: My body, my home.

 

October:

I started to really enjoy my job and the people I worked with but I still found myself longing for something more. I figured that I spent far too much of my time wishing for another time and place.

And I wrote the post: When wishing for the weekend becomes a way of life. 

 

November:

After being moved to a new store and having to start all over again, I realised that my job was making me totally miserable and I so I finally plucked up the courage to quit!

 

I worked out my notice and walked out the door without looking back! And I wrote about it: Doing something brave even when it scares you. 

 

year-in-the-life

December:

After tossing and turning for months, feeling really unsettled and unhappy, I decided that perhaps it was my surroundings that were bringing me down. The big city got too much for me and I packed up all my stuff and moved back home.

 

But in doing so I was forced to say goodbye to some very important people in my life which is why I wrote: The painful realisation that growing up means saying goodbye.

 

And lastly as the year came to a close I found that I needed to leave old mindsets in the past and make some space for new things to come. So I wrote about: Minimalism; clearing the clutter and living simply. 


 

Too long didn’t read ( I forgive you!)…

 

Thanks for supporting my blog this year.

Thank you for every kind comment you’ve left, every like you’ve doted upon me and every minute you’ve taken to read the words I write.

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year will be wonderful.

 

If you have a second it would mean the world to me if you took my reader survey.  Every bit of feedback I get is unbelievably helpful for the future posts I will write. Because ultimately, I write not just for myself, but for you too.

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See you next year!

Minimalism: clearing the clutter and living simply

minimalism-clearing-the-clutter

 

I feel as though I am constantly adding more things into my life.

 

I’m finding more recipes for the same chocolate chip cookies. I’m buying more pyjamas because they are cute and festive and I couldn’t resist. I’m putting more things on my to-do list because being productive makes me feel less insecure and lost.

 

More, more, more.

 

Perhaps it’s because we have this need to fill up empty spaces. We have to colour in every last square, fill every bit of silence and cover every inch of our counter tops.

 

I think the blank spaces make us uncomfortable.

 

The empty and quiet feels unsettling. Those places leave room for possibility, a chance for the unknown…and fear hates nothing more than the unknown.

 

So we fill, fill, fill until we are bursting at the seams.

 

And the abundance, the overflow, the lack of blank spaces makes us feel safe.


 

Ever since I noticed this about myself, I have found the concept of minimalism fascinating.

 

The idea that less could actually be more. That blank spaces, emptiness, and quiet could be the keys to happiness.

 

And the more I subtract, the more I let go, the more I welcome blank spaces…the happier I find I am becoming.

 

It’s not just the physical clutter that I’m letting go of, although that certainly helps too. It’s the emotional and mental clutter that I’ve been learning to sweep out my front doorstep and slam the door shut on.

 

minimalism, minimal living, simple living, simplify, clear the clutter, declutter, mindfulness, minimalist lifestyle, minimalist,

 

I’m learning to…

 

Let go of “shoulds”

 

The ones that I place on myself and the ones that others place upon me.

 

Like those niggling expectations of what our lives should look like at this point in time.

I should have a real job…

I should go traveling…

I should be saving to buy a house…

 

Because as Brene Brown so wonderfully puts it, “expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

 

There is no formula. There is no exact route or set plan. Your life is up to you. You have the freedom to chose to live it however you like.

Your story may look different to someone else’s but that’s excellent. Because that is what makes us such an interesting, diverse species.

 

Releasing myself from burden of all the “shoulds” has felt like a weight lifted off me. Instead of spending so much time looking over my shoulder to see how everyone else is doing it, I’m free to just figure things out my way.

 

Accept things as they are

 

Realizing that these are the cards we have been dealt. This is the body, the person, the life we have been given and choosing to make the most of it.

 

Accepting that our shyness might make some people dislike us at first, or our skin might be paler than we would like, or our occupation might be less glamorous than we had hoped for.

 

Sometimes happiness feels like taking a moment to just appreciate instead of needing to justify.

 

I don’t always understand why things happen. I don’t always know what I could have done differently or how something can be fixed.

 

But I do know this: I am where I am. I am who I am. That is all.

 

Just be present in a moment

 

Instead of giving into my natural tendency to think ferociously forward to the future.

 

I’m learning to enjoy the surprises and spontaneity that life throws at us. To just be happy living in the now.

 

Gazing up in wonder at the starry sky when we had to pull off the highway to fix the car. Stopping to smell a rose as I’m wiping tables down at work. Tasting every bite of the meal that took me hours to prepare.

 

It feels frustrating when I just want to get to the good bits…but sometimes the good bits are disguised as the boring, the ordinary and the mundane.

 

Slow myself down

 

Fighting the urge to match the pace of the hustle that surrounds me.

 

Enjoying when breakfast stretches long past midday. Laughing at the fact nobody is ever ready to leave the house when we say we need to go. Celebrating when I manage to tick just one thing off my to-do list for the day.

 

Productivity is sometimes overrated. It can be a crutch we use to keep ourselves occupied so that thinking and feeling are things we can avoid.

 

Slowing down forces us to sit with our feelings. To be vulnerable and insecure and keep living anyway.


 

A word that keeps springing to mind at the moment is surrender.

 

It makes me think of the mighty ocean beating on the shore. Everyone and everything must submit to the great force of the ocean. The severity of the waves, the drag of the tides. There is no place for stubbornness or refusal.

 

And like a piece of driftwood I feel myself being swept up in the ocean currents, flung this way and that, pushed towards the shore and pulled back again.

 

I find peace in surrender. I think minimalism is surrender.

 

Giving up what is easier to hold on to. Letting go when our natural instinct is to cling on tight.

 

We need to make peace with the blank spaces. We need to welcome the cringey, uncomfortable emptiness.

 

Living simply, means clearing out the old beliefs that hold us back from our full potential. Finding freedom in the here and now, accepting things as they are and slowing down a bit.

 

I have come to the conclusion that what I really need to be happy is less. Which is surprising in a world that tells us happiness is more. More money, more friends, more belongings.

 

But having less means having extra time, extra patience and extra room to grow, explore and create. I need less in order to have more.

 

So I’m starting to think this minimalism stuff might just be for me after all.

What things do you still need to let go of before the next year begins?

The painful realisation that growing up means saying goodbye

-growing-up-means-saying-goodbye

 

There is this feeling I get.

A dull ache in the pit of my stomach. A tug on my heartstrings. A bittersweet knowing that what once was, can never be again.

 

I feel it as I’m watching my brother’s face grow smaller in the rearview mirror.

I feel it as I wave wildly out the car window to match my parents equally enthusiastic waves.

I feel it in the hugs, the kisses, and the jokes shared between friends I’ve collected through the years.

 

It’s the ever-present, always crushing reality of goodbyes.

 

The fact that no matter what we try to do, we cannot slow down time. We cannot prevent our forward momentum. We are prisoners of time, captive to its sweeping clutches.

And so the ache widens. Numbing my fingertips and prickling tears to my eyes.

But I inhale a little sharper and wipe swiftly at my eyes, because I know this is a feeling I must become familiar with, an ache I must learn to corral.


 

I hate these sudden realizations that startle us in adulthood.

 

I had such sweet hopes and a rosy view of what it would be like to grow up and like plunging into icy water, the reality has been shocking to the system.

 

How could I have known the tears of homesickness that would pour down my cheeks the first night I slept in my dorm room?

How could I have foreseen the way I would miss the ordinary, Saturday morning grocery shopping with mum or standing beside the blazing fireplace in winter with my dad?

How could I have predicted that I would one day become best friends with my vexatious brother and that leaving him would feel like a kick to my gut?

 


But I know now the truth of adulthood. That goodbyes are endless. That death, loss and grief are inescapable. That loving anything or anyone will eventually leave you aching.

 

The older we get, the more pieces of ourselves we leave scattered in different places.

A piece curled up in our bedroom back home. A piece with our college roommate, a piece with the friends we met at church, a piece with our first boyfriends and a piece with the ones after that.

 

And even though I’m moving back home, even though I’m going to be closer to my parents, even though this is what I want, I feel so very sad.

 

I feels as though I keep moving to new places, digging my roots down and then once again I find myself being torn apart as I am are forced to say goodbye.

 

It seems that we are never really whole again. We will always be scattered in the places and people who shaped us. 

 

Wherever we go, we leave loved ones behind.

 

It’s beautiful and tragic.

 

What a treasure it is to have friends spread out across the world like lighthouses. Beacons of familiarity and safety on our travels abroad.

How happy it makes me to find kindred spirits in my workplace. To feel accepted and find belonging among my colleagues.

And how lovely it is to find friends who feel like family, who become your brothers and sisters, who know and love you for who you are.

 

I am lucky to be so loved. I am lucky to love so much.

 

But that doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier.

That doesn’t soften my loss or comfort me in my loneliness.

 

growing up, moving on, change, adulthood friendships, making friends as an adult, relationships, saying goodbye,

 

The painful truth is that growing up means saying goodbye.

 

In this life we will always be shifting through seasons. We will always be in transition. People will always be coming and going; making their mark and subtly changing us.

 

Somehow, I think I’m getting better at saying goodbye.

 

Despite the tightness in my chest and the tears flooding the corners of my eyes.

 

I’ve realised that sometimes a goodbye is necessary for us to grow and evolve as people.

 

I think I have learnt to hold things and people more loosely than I used to. Not because I’m afraid of getting hurt, but because I know that some people aren’t meant to be in our lives forever.

 

I used to cling to friendships and potential love interests like they were lifesavers keeping me afloat. 

I don’t feel that way anymore. I can do this on my own. I can keep floating without them.

 

I’m not afraid of the goodbye because I know there will be plenty of hellos to come. Friendships won’t be the same and that stings but I know I won’t be alone.

Relationships don’t define me because I am whole regardless of whether I am the other half of a couple or not.


 

But for those who are permanent fixtures in our lives, who we put down on our emergency contact list and who own a spare key to our house…

 

It’s never really goodbye anyway. It’s see you soon or see you later.

 

I am cheered by the fact our family and long time friends will never really fade into a blurry memory or become lost in the pile of unread mail. 

 

For there are certain people you just never really say goodbye to. Despite years and distance, there is something that always draws you back. A connection that cannot be broken. 

So I’m holding tightly to that with every last hug and wave out the car window. The ones who matter most of all aren’t disappearing forever. 

 

It’s not goodbye…it’s see you soon or see you later. 

When wishing for the weekend becomes a way of life

Wednesdays are the hardest day of the week for me. Mondays tend to get a bad rap but I am not convinced they are really so bad.

 

On Monday I feel refreshed after having two days off. I usually have had more than eight hours sleep the night before, my feet aren’t aching from being stood on all day and most often, I still have the enthusiasm to pack a decent lunch.

 

But come Wednesday, I’ve got two days worth of dishes piling up in the sink, clothes strewn all over the floor and I can hardly keep my eyes open when I first wake up.

 

It takes every ounce of willpower I have to muster the strength to get out of bed.

 

On Wednesdays I always end up questioning what I am doing with my life. I am always especially critical of myself. And I always find myself beginning to long for the weekend.


 

That’s the way it goes.

 

We spend the weekdays longing for the weekend and we spend the weekend wishing the weekdays wouldn’t come too soon.

 

In my family we have a special term for that melancholy, Sunday night feeling. ‘Sundaytitis’ was the simultaneous feeling of contentment from a weekend of rest and sadness knowing that tomorrow work would begin again.

 

The truth is, I spend 5/7 days each week wishing my life away. Longing for the rest, joy and fullness I feel on the weekend.

 

But I don’t just do this with weekdays and Wednesdays either, I’m guilty of doing it with whole seasons of my life.

 

I constantly find myself wishing I could jump past the boring, stressful and painful parts of life and skip to the good bits. I want to fast forward. I want every day to feel like the weekend, like the first day of summer, like the beginning of a holiday.


 

Some days I feel the tears of frustration well up in my eyes because the reality is, we can’t fast forward. There is no skipping to the highlights.

 

We can’t avoid the Wednesdays, the crappy days and the just-plain-unfair-for-no-particular-reason days.

 

To get enjoy all of the wonderful times we must live through the bleak times as well.

 

Life is this infuriating balance of dull and beautiful, dark and light, work and rest. We need the contrast for completeness. We need the variety to keep up our momentum.

 

I feel this becomes apparently clear as the days are getting longer and the air is getting warmer.

 

Summer is romancing us with lavish sunshine and an abundance of blooms. It’s sweet and makes my soul happy but I know eventually I will tire of the relentless heat.  

Soon the humidity will feel overwhelming and once again I’ll be longing for the coolness of winter.

 

We think winter is boring and cold. We are stuck inside and it gets dark far too early and getting out of bed is the worst torture known to man. But in reality, winter is a blessing.

 

A break from the play-filled summer months. A time for the leaves to die off and seeds to burrow down into the soil.

 

A necessary pause in the middle of the year to slow us down as we glide closer and closer to Christmas.

 

Wednesdays are the same. Smack bang in the middle. A chance to pause and catch our breaths.

 

wishing for the weekend, longing for the next big thing, dreaming, longing, hopeless romantic, feeling lost, dissatisfaction, living intentionally,

 

Something my Granny always says is that getting old happens much faster than you could imagine. She often remarks that one day I’ll wake up and suddenly be her age wondering where my whole life went.

 

And every time she says this, I will smile and nod at her just like she did to her grandmother.

 

But I know she is right.

 

Time is no friend of the young.

 

I see the wrinkles appearing already. They start at the corner of your eyes, just when you smile and eventually the creases become permanent, etching outwards towards the tips of your ears.

 

Our time is so very precious. I don’t want to wish it away. I don’t want to get so caught up in longing for the next big thing that I miss what is right in front of me.

 

The wonder in every day. The delight in simply being alive. The gift of another day on this planet.

 

I want to do my best to make every day special. To make every day count. To feel I have participated in a worthy exchange; a day of my life for the laughter, love, and beauty shared.

 

This isn’t easy to do, given how hectic and complicated our lives get. I think it is a spiritual practice, something that takes discipline and a sense of gratitude.

 

An awareness of those elusive, divine moments that are sprinkled throughout every day. If we blink we might miss them, so we have to practice keeping our eyes and our hearts open and receptive to them.


 

Today might be dull. It might be dreary, rainy, slow or somber. But it is a day of your life that you will never get back.

 

So make it count. Search for the goodness, hope for more, keep gratitude at the centre of who you are.

 

Before you know it, you’ll be seventy five telling your grand daughter the very same thing.

P.S. If you are looking for a really excellent movie that focuses on the same idea as this post then check out ‘About Time.’ It’s one of my favourites!

Letting go of control and making peace with uncertainty

letting-go-of-control

There is a place for everything

and everything should be in its place.

 

Dinner comes before dessert.

Drinks served before dinner.

 

Jumpers should be folded.

Shirts should be hung.

 

Socks must be matching.

Shoes lined up beside the door.

 

Switches should be off when not in use.

Curtains should be drawn after the sun sets.

 

I find peace in rules and order.

I find rest in the harmony of precision.

 

There is no clutter I cannot tidy up.

No chaos I cannot return to calm.

 

But my rules they are a prison. 

I am chained to them in fear. 

 

Because I hate what is uncertain.

And I hide from what is not clear. 


 

One of the most infuriating realities to stumble upon is a reminder of our lack of control.

 

We merrily amble through life, foolishly believing that we hold all of the keys to our future and we are in charge. But every now and then this fantasy is disrupted by an unfortunate event which leaves us teetering on our tiptoes.

 

With just a single phone call, a simple conversation, an unexpected, interruptance to our day we find ourselves very much in circumstances out of our control and it is utterly unnerving.

 

I find it particularly distressing as I am a grade A, run-of-the-mill, control freak.

 

I crave order, productivity and common sense. I am highly strung and up tight as they come. I need plans and certainty and I don’t work well if boundaries and guidelines aren’t clear.

 

I hate that off-kilter feeling that comes with wading into the unknown.


 

It has been a slow process but I am finally discovering how to let go of control and make peace with uncertainty.

 

I am learning how to delegate. 

 

Because I can’t take responsibility for everything, I simply do not have the time nor energy. I know now that I really do need help and asking for it really isn’t as difficult as I once thought.

 

And when I do pass on the baton to someone else I am trying my best to release my grip completely. Forgoing the temptation to demand the task be done MY WAY.

 

So what if the potato wedges are cut thicker than I would have done them? Who cares if the laundry detergent is orange blossom scented instead of lavender?

 

I can see how silly it is to get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of life when the help I receive is worth so much more than the perfection I seek.

 

I am learning to be less possessive of the things that I own.

 

To share what I have with a generous spirit and to bite my tongue rather than remind the person to take great care with whatever it is that I loan them.

 

And when something breaks as it inevitably does, I am learning the art of shrugging my shoulders and saying, ‘oh well, it’s okay. Mistakes happen.’

Because things are not what are most important…people are.

 

I am learning how to go with the flow.

 

To appreciate that not everything need be done in a rush. Not every hour need be productive. Not every task need be completed today, THIS VERY MINUTE OR ELSE.

 

Taking the time to appreciate my coffee instead of gulping it down. Being flexible when people change plans. Accepting apologies and extending grace. These things are a sign of maturity.

 

See, I am learning to let go of control.

 

I am un-clenching my fists and extending open palms.

 

I am making peace with uncertainty.

 

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Art and creativity have been healing for me.

There is nothing safe or certain when it comes to art. We often start creating without a plan or picture of where we are heading. The pieces fall into place as our paintbrushes strike the canvas and our fingers stroke the keys.

 

Perhaps this is why creating feels so risky to me. Every time I am breaking myself open and waiting to see what spills out.

 

It’s daunting even without an audience, but with a thousand eyes on me the feeling can be described as nothing short of terrifying.  

 

Writing is painful in ways I cannot even express but it has cured me of my need for control.

 

Because as a writer I sometimes feel that I am under a spell. I am simply a messenger and how and when the words choose to come forth are not up to me.

 

There are days when I would love to publish something but try as I might, I cannot write a single word. And then almost arbitrarily there are days where I wake up before the sun and I’ve got so many ideas my fingers can hardly type them up fast enough.

 

So I have learnt that pressuring myself to write is no use. It’s as fruitless as trying to push toothpaste back into a tube once it has all been squeezed out. 


 

Within all of us there is this pull to take control. A natural instinct that beckons us to bow to fear and wrestle for the reins.

 

But evolution calls for adaptability. There is no space for inflexibility.

 

To keep moving forwards we must let go of the monkey bars behind us. We must swing forward, stretch out a hand and hope with all of our hearts that someone thought to build another bar after the last.

 

It seems absurd and careless at times but in truth, abandoning the need for control is the most freeing feeling in the world.