Checking in …

 

ID-100127686.africaI have been away from the blogging world for a few weeks for several reasons and thought I would check in briefly to let you know those reasons and what I have been up to.

# 1. I spent two weeks at my mother’s place with my sister, writing return thank-you cards and sorting out some of my mothers things.

# 2. I had a knee injury for a few weeks so could not sit at my desk. All is OK now.

# 3. My internet connection became too slow and it was irritating waiting and watching that swirling little circle. Sending an email with an attachment took forever. Writing a blog-post became frustrating. Uploading a picture became impossible. So for a few weeks I gave up trying. It is amazing all the things I have achieved away from my desk and the internet!

# 4. My son and his wife will be doing house extensions. With temporary accommodation lined up but the building construction delayed, an opportunity arose for me to spend some time in that accommodation for the two months before they have to move in. So two weeks ago – like an excited teenager – I loaded my car (station wagon) with trundle bed, linen, kitchen gear etc and went off on an adventure to Hobart. It was fantastic staying near the grand-children sharing in their daily lives yet having my own space. I will now be spending every second week down there until early December.
Alas! There is no internet connection in the flat and trying to connect via phone hot-spot is too expensive so there will be no chance for me to sign in when I am there either.

# 5. I have been helping my son with some aspects of a book he is writing.

# 6. I closed the company down. That could not be done until all the financial transactions of the company had been completed which happened on 30 September. The company was closed on 07 October. That was the last step of legal separation from my husband.

# 7. I have been clearing out the shed. The 600 boxes are now down to 260!

Most of this has been business records to either burn, dump or archive. This has been a massive task for me and something that I have been putting off. It is the thing that has taken up most of my time over the past two months and probably deserves a post of its own. In summary for now, it has been a positive thing to finally start on this as it represents me letting go of my old life. I needed to do that in order to move on. I am now really wanting to get that task done. I need to get rid of my old life in order to make space for the new. I am motivated. It is the vision of my new life that is driving me to now get this done.

# 8. I have been keeping up with my H.E.A.L.T.H.plan and will up update you soon.

# 9. I have had my hair done, spent time at the library, had some health-checks, started on some early Christmas shopping, spent time with my children, spent time on the phone chatting to people, and spent some time cooking and experimenting with meals.

# 10. I have been doing a lot of reading and research. A lot of this is in preparation for the next chapter in my life. That is where I want to be at the moment – getting ready. How fantastic to have so much time to spend on reading. That is the me in the picture at the top (except I have blond hair). See the smile on my face. That is me in my element.

What have you noticed about all the above points?

They are all NORMAL things.  🙂

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Images.courtesy[Africa]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

My H.E.A.L.T.H. plan – H for headstrong.

ID-100239270.PrawnyAt the beginning of the year I wrote an initial post about how, in this first year of my new beginnings, I wanted to focus on me and getting my health and fitness to a level I was happy with. I devised a H.E.A.L.T.H. plan for myself of

Headstrong Eating and Active Lifestyle Transition Habits

My plan captures everything I want from life. Good health. Sensible eating. Becoming more active. A balanced lifestyle of self, family, stability, relaxation, social connections, career, creativity, home, celebrations, and community. I decided to give myself time to transition into my meaningful life, find my life’s purpose and form habits so I could do this for life!

The lapse in my writing has been that it has taken me a while to decide what the first ‘H’ would stand for. Now that I am seven months down the track I realize my plan began with devising it, thinking it through, and researching the best ways of becoming fit and healthy for my age and lifestyle. All that happened in my head – the logical part of me.

However, my head is also the part with little voices that sometimes do me undone. Those voices that say ‘what is the point’, ‘you have tried before and failed’, ‘you are not strong enough’, ‘you cannot fight your genetic make-up’ … and so on. There are also voices of other people and society-accepted norms pushing me into dietary or lifestyle choices that do not serve me well. I needed to find the strong voice inside me to counteract that which had previously dragged me down. I did that by creating a vision in my head of a healthy and fit me, and a prevention of diseases of affluence such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. I devised my own dietary and lifestyle plans with choices that would benefit me and lead me to my vision. I believed in those choices and became committed to my vision of a healthier me. That conviction was so strong that the voices within me also became strong – strong  enough that I no longer became swayed by others or unexpected events or my own inner negative voices that tried to pull me against my choices. I became strong enough to defend my choices.

So the first step on my road to better health began with my mind, creating my vision, devising a plan, committing to it, and developing a strong voice within me to persevere with my plan and defend my lifestyle choices.

My first step was to become headstrong.

My journey continues …

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Image.courtesy[Prawny]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

spring into summer

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After over three and a half years of looking towards spring with hope and optimism while still trudging through the mud of a cold bleak winter, I feel that winter is finally over. Spring is here. Summer is on its way. More importantly, the trudging is finally over. There is now a spring in my step. This is a warm bright place to be and I am singing.

I have therefore changed the name of my blog from ‘Almost Spring’  to ‘Spring into Summer’. I am no longer looking towards spring, I am in spring and I am bouncing.

I have altered the tagline from ‘transforming my life from we to me’  to ‘finding my voice and speaking my truth’. I have also revised the information in the pages and sidebar. I feel that these changes more correctly reflect where I am in my life.

Spring is a season, not only for new beginnings, but also for shaking off the winter blues and getting ready for the warm summers ahead. I see this time in my life as one in which to spring-clean or tidy up my old world, letting go of anything that does not serve me well; as well as planting seeds ready for their bloom in the summer to come. I see it as an exciting time of trying out new things, as well as planning and readying myself for the vision I have for a wonderful future, a vision of living true to my own beliefs.

The planning stage for that vision is finding my voice and speaking my truth.

My journey continues. I hope that you will join me on the path ahead.

 

 

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Image courtesy of [africa] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I see the light and the light is me

 

ID-100207722.KROMKRATHOGIt is the new year and a time for reflection.

My thoughts travel not so much to should-have-could-have-would-have regretful reflection but one of pondering accomplishments achieved, challenges overcome, and opportunities that lie ahead. In many ways, 2014 was a long and difficult year for me and there are still challenges ahead in 2015. Nevertheless, as I approach another fork in my journey of life, I can honestly say I am looking forward with eager anticipation to choosing which way I now need to go, and I am excited at the prospect of new adventures that await me.

I have been reading others’ thoughts on beginning the new year. One blogger invited us all to think of a word for 2015. Another blogger went further than 2015 and invited readers to look inside their ‘destiny’ box to view their future. That made me think of three things – the place I am currently at with the darkness now behind me, my aims for 2015, and my future destiny. In each of those places, I thought of light.

These are my hopes and dreams for me for now, for this coming year and for my future –

  • To reach towards and follow the light out of my darkness and pain…
  • To embrace the light in the day-break of my own new beginnings …
  • To see the light by gaining insight, understanding and awareness …
  • To experience the light of new Ideas, opinions and ventures …
  • To have a light in my eyes, for my eyes to sparkle with joy …
  • To have a light disposition by becoming cheerful and engaged …
  • To carry a light weight by being less burdened by baggage …
  • To reflect the light of inspirational people …
  • To show the light of hope to others less fortunate than myself …
  • To be the light – to guide, to inspire, to ignite …

I see the light.
I feel the light.
I am the light.

 

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ImageCourtesy[Krotkahog]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Foundations of freedom – freedom to celebrate even when there seems little to celebrate

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As indicated in my last post, I decided to stop for a while. The problem is when you are trudging through mud and you decide to stop for a while, because you are in mud, you start sinking again. So while the concept of allowing myself time to have a rest seemed to be a good idea at the time, the reality was doomed to failure.

Doomed to failure because it gave me time to think and face some realities which distressed me.

Doomed to failure because of how I was defining success and failure.

I read a post this morning from Val with a quote that is self-explanatory and which opened my eyes.

“If you build a house it takes a few days, a few weeks or a few years. And everyone can see the result. But when we create something in the spiritual realm neither you nor anyone else can see anything. So nothing is certain. Nothing is clear. And you become unsettled, uncertain and assailed by doubts. And that is why after a while you want to abandon everything and do what everyone else does: Throw yourself into an activity where everyone can see a result.” Omraan Mikhael Aivanhov

The quote got me thinking. This ‘trudging through mud’ (AKA ‘dealing with the divorce settlement’) appeared to be getting me nowhere and was taking a lot of effort for no reward.

That is because I was looking at ‘reward’ as how our modern society judges rewards – in terms of success, fame, fortune, or glorious materialistic or creative achievement.

So today I have taken my thinking right back to very early after separation when I made a resolution to myself. I resolved that I would not let this transition period of my life destroy who I was inside of me or crush the values that I wanted to live by. I made an aim that day to reaffirm those values and strive to live by them. That was my goal.

My reward today, still within this ‘transition period’, is to know that I am still on that path and still successfully striving towards that goal. At the end of the day, if that is my greatest achievement, that is a worthwhile one to have.

“The goal we seek, and the good we hope for, comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest. It is not what we find, but the reason we cannot stop looking and striving, that tells us why we are here.”
Madeleine Albright, Prague Winter

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Image courtesy:[Africa]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contribution and finding my new bike

 

ID-100176056.nongpimmyPersonal roles

Having spent 37 years pouring my heart and soul into being the very best wife and mother that I could possibly be, my purpose in life seemed to end with the ending of my marriage. This happened at a time when my younger two children were spreading their wings. My main two roles in life and the driving forces of my being were suddenly gone.

Work roles

With my world crumbling at my feet, I found that getting up every day for work gave me a sense of purpose. Having meaningful work to do everyday helped sustain my sanity the first year after separation. It also provided me with my sense of normality, as a link to my previous world, and the comfort of a regular routine.

About a year ago I had an epiphany. I realised in that instant the real meaning behind my work had been to provide for my family and that was gone. I resolved that I would change the direction of my life. The drawback to that decision was that it would take some time to logistically change directions and for a while it became a plodding painful process to keep getting up to go into work as my work no longer held meaning for me.

That turned around when I re-framed this current period as my ‘transition to my new life’ and set myself some goals for my transition. One of my transition goals became ‘dignified management of our business’ while-ever it was retained. In that change of focus my daily work shifted sharply from being something that provided me with comfort and stability to one that provided me with an avenue of contribution. Without realising it at the time, my own needs had moved up from the self-focussed ‘I need protection and comfort’ to ‘I need to contribute and give back to society’. In the period since, I have channelled my days at work into being a fair, kind and balanced leader. In return I have received a feeling of accomplishment and contribution.

Community roles

Prior to my marriage ending I had been active in the community by voluntary involvement in an environment group. In my distraught state after my husband left me, I resigned from the group and not not returned. During my cocooning period of reflection when reviewing my beliefs, my mind drew a blank when I reached world affairs I had previously been vocal about. I became concerned my underlying beliefs had disintegrated and I was apathetic and uncaring. I now understand that in my state of crisis, I had to focus on my own survival as a priority. I had to heal myself before I could again begin to help other people.

About a year ago, I found that I had begun again to read articles about national and world issues. It was a defining moment for me. Gradually that moved to reading books, exploring websites and contributing by making comments on other’s blogs. That gave me a feeling of making a contribution, even in a small way. This has fed a growing strength inside me of my need to ‘give’ shifting slowly away from my basic need to ‘receive’ comforts.

My new role

One of my prime instincts within me is a need to care for others. This need was satisfied in my roles as wife and mother. The hole left for my nurturing instincts by my marriage collapsing was deep and painful. I felt my very purpose in life had disintegrated. Whilst I have since channelled those caring instincts into being the best mother, grand-mother, daughter, sister, friend and leader that I can be; I know that is not enough. I know that I have to move on to helping people less fortunate than myself.

Last post I wrote “With the best of intentions of picking myself up, fixing myself up and getting back on the bike; I have come to realise that it is not me that needs fixing, it is the bike.”

My old bike (my drive) was being the best wife and mother that I could possibly be.

My new drive will be to find my voice and promote human welfare.

That will become my new bike.

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ImageCourtesyOf[nongpimmy]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Foundations of comfort – time and focus

 

 

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I have been focussing on self-healing towards achieving a state of well-being and in that regard I have recently read another book on life-work balance. The author gives examples of how to ensure well-being by practicing meditation, tuning into nature, reducing stress, going for a walk, getting an extra hour’s sleep at night, and a myriad of other techniques.

It became obvious to me that some suggested activities the author was applying to her corporate executive lifestyle had helped me juggle my own mother – wife – career previous busy lifestyle; and these were the same or similar techniques that had provided me with comfort during my personal crisis. The parallel had not struck me before.

Then, as I was reading how the author suggested setting an alarm to ensure making enough time for important things (like sleeping); the penny dropped.

This is not what I want.

I do not want to have to set an alarm in order to sandwich my life in between ‘busy’ and ‘stressful’ and ‘other’. I do not want to achieve a comfortable ‘work-life’ balance. I want a life balance. I do not want to schedule comforting activities into a busy lifestyle. My ‘foundations of comfort’ are not what I want for my comfort, they are what I want for my life.

With the best of intentions of picking myself up, fixing myself up and getting back on the bike; I have come to realise that it is not me that needs fixing, it is the bike.

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My Life in transition #1 – Creating Certainty

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Robert Frost

I survived the unexpected change to my life of the ending of my marriage. Initially wracked by feelings of shock and sadness; I pushed ahead with positiveness, looking forward to finding contentment and a sense of purpose somewhere in my future. Now in transition between that sadness of the past and hope for my future, I am confronted by a different set of emotions – uncertainty, resentment, resistance, overload and anxiety. I decided to tackle the first one.

Uncertainty

My life before my change was predictable. I had a stable marriage, security and trust. The sudden ending of my marriage marked by betrayal involved a huge loss of trust. Trust in others. Trust in myself. Trust in certainty. Before, I trusted that I could rise each day, know my role in life, know what I was going to do with my day and know I was protected. After my change, that certainty was lost. Uncertainty threw my life into chaos and I became anxious and scared.

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Certainty

My self-cure for uncertainty was to create certainty and get me back to a basic level of comfort and security. I did not ask for change but I could master my transition from that change. I could build on those things I know I can rely on.

Firstly, I wrote down those things I have been able to rely on my whole life:

  • The sun will come up every day
  • Myself
  • My mother and sister

In the early days of agony it was a great comfort to me to rise each day and watch the sunrise. It has never let me down.

It took me time to accept I could still trust myself and my own judgement. After a year of self-reflection I concluded that I can.

My mother and sister have been two constants for me the whole of my life. I cannot include my two brothers or children on this list as being younger than me they were not there when I was a small child, though I know they are there for me now.

Secondly, I wrote down my methods to build on certainty:

1. Acting on my values rather than my feelings.
I strive to always act with grace (respect for others) and dignity (respect for myself). This has helped me through confusion and chaos. If I always act in that way, it does not matter what turmoil I face, my life becomes predictable. I become my own stability.

2. Channel my actions into valued responses
If I channel my response into four key areas: improvement, appreciation, protection and connection; then certainty and stability will return to my life.

3.Establish a routine
At times of chaos, I return to my comfort of a predictable daily routine of a healthy diet, reflection, daily exercise and connections with loved ones. This helps me keep a sense of normality and I can follow this routine at home and when away.

4. Maintain a schedule
All other responsibilities (work, family, friends, creativity, community) I schedule into my calendar and project ‘to-do’ lists. My calendar keeps life predictable. My lists keep me sane

5. Goals
For moving ahead into my future I have set my transition goals:
a. Closing the property settlement
b. Implementing the property settlement
c. Establishing new career/purpose
d. Reestablish a new home base

Nine months ago, I had moved out of a lengthy period of affirming my values, beliefs, attitudes and responsibilities including a healthy routine. Then I became lost in a swirl of confusion. Having now finally accepted that my life is in the uncertainty of transition has paradoxically given me a degree of certainty. I know now where I am, where I am going, and how I am going to get there. I have moved forward to a written schedule and a commitment to transition goals. While the first two goals are stepping out of the past, the last two are moving into the golden path toward my future. Writing down my transition goals this past week has been significantly motivating for me.

 

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ImageCourtesy[Smarned]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

THE ENERGY OF CHANGE

ID-100152029. artur84I have a vision and I am setting my goals for the future. The clouds surrounding the emotional pain of my divorce are beginning to lift. There is no surer way of ridding myself of the baggage of the past than by focussing on the future. Up until now that has not been possible. Up until now, looking towards the future has filled me with fear and anxiety. Up until now, I have brushed future plans aside. I have instead focused on getting ‘over’ things (the sadness of the past) or getting ‘through’ things (the divorce settlement). Both have been emotionally and physically draining. Today, however, I feel energized. For this reason, I feel that I am moving into the exciting new phase of my future.

My energy levels have been noticeably “less-than-normal” since the ending of my marriage. Whilst they have ebbed and flowed, they have also followed a pattern. When I am in pain, I have no energy. When I am angry (an energy-charged emotion) I have short bursts of activity which I try and direct into something positive but the emotional overtone throws me back into pain and the subsequent negative energy thus cancels out any perceived energy gain. When I am sad or frustrated I have limited energy which I can disguise. That is, I can get things done as long as I look after myself.

When I say ‘in pain’, I mean emotional pain which can be as great as some types of physical pain. There is also what I call ‘practical pain’. In the case of divorce, that is the pain of dealing with all the mess (splitting personal effects, property settlement etc). So I have had the practical pain of dealing with the mess and the emotional pain of “it is not fair that I have had the mess to deal with” attitude.

It was not easy but I found ridding myself of the emotional pain has made the practical pain a lot easier. It has still been hard going. I could get things done, even though all the time I was doing those things I knew I did not want to be doing them. At those times, I felt vulnerable and needy. I was living life with a black cloud pressing down on me.

Today I feel the black cloud disappearing, its heavy weight lifting. Instead of seeing those remaining ‘practical’ things as something I begrudgingly have to do, I now see them as a necessary step in order to move into my new life.

In summary, this is how I feel my energy levels have gradually risen upwards as I move into changing my life:

Level 1. I am in pain.
I have no energy, no life.
All energy is directed into mere survival.

Level 2. I have needs.

I have limited energy.
I move as if trudging through mud.
All energy is directed into getting myself stronger.
I focus on my needs and providing myself with a sense of security.
Stability and routine are important. They provide me with a blanket of comfort.
Friends and family are important to me, for me, for comforting me.
I have little energy for giving back to others.

Level 3. I have a dream

I have energy.
I am making choices.
I am making plans and goals.
I am empowered.

Level 4. I am doing

I am energized.
I am creating.
I am acting on my goals.
I am persisting.
I am passionate.
I am strong.
I am achieving.
I am giving back to others.

Level 5. I am being

I am at peace
I am celebrating
I am grateful
I am.

What Level Am I Up To?

I believe i am now in the third “dreaming” phase.
You may ask how I know what the fourth and fifth levels will be if I have not yet been through them.

That is the beauty of reaching the “dreaming” phase.
In that phase I can plan whatever I want for the next phases.
I can choose them. I can create them.

That is my liberation.

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You may also want to read –
Staying Strong by Ian Munro. Leading Essentially

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Image courtesy:[artur84]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My resources for pursuing my purpose

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama, Tibetan Leader.

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Having determined my purpose in life is “living to my highest self and inspire others to do the same”; and in considering how I may go about doing that; I found myself in a quandary when I came across the above quote. I thought I was supposed to find purpose and meaning in my life, then I would become happy. Now I read that I am supposed to find happiness; and then that will become my purpose. I became confused.

Here are another three quotes that added to my confusion:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” Richard Leider

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
Gautama Buddha

So in moving on, I had been wading through trying to work out my life’s goals and aims in order to fulfill my purpose and this had been proving a bit difficult when I became unsure as to whether I should be aiming for happiness or purpose.  (Message to self: it is far better to be confused about whether to pursue a life of happiness or a life of purpose than to be stuck back in pain, anger, despair, fear and turmoil.)

Then I came across this quote:

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”  Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Aah! Light-bulb moment. I think I will start from there – my resources. If I look at what I already have to work with, it may become easier to find out where I need to go.

My 35 years business experience has taught me that, whenever you begin a new project, you should always firstly look at your resources – in business that is infrastructure, money, and human resources. The next steps are to look at what resources are missing, fill in the gaps, then march on to completing the project. The initial step, however, is always looking at your resources; look at your starting point.

In my life’s direction it is a little bit back to front because I am not sure of my actual project and therefore my goals. However, I thought there would be no harm at looking at the starting point – at what I already have to work with.

This post is therefore outlining my new beginning, a first draft appraisal of listing what resources I already have. Later I will explore these in more depth and then move on to my goals. The first 8 in my resources list are my strengths. The last 2 are the people and the tangible resources I have in my life. The beauty of looking at all this from the point of view of my “resources” or the things that I have, is that it makes me focus on my strengths and my positive attributes and the people and tangible assets I already have in my life. This is a fantastic strategy of moving away from that dark place of grief and despair where I was focussing on my losses, my weaknesses and being negative towards myself….

In listing my resources, I have realised that I have got more to work with than I had previously thought.

Here is my list. .

My Resources For Pursuing My Purpose

  1. Character strengths
  2. Personality strengths
  3. Attitude strengths
  4. Talents
  5. Skills
  6. Education
  7. Knowledge
  8. Experience
  9. Support
  10. Security

Onwards and upwards to my new life with enthusiasm and vigour 🙂

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