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family

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How You Spend Your Time Reveals What’s Really Important to You…

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How do you spend your time? What happens to all the hours of your day? 

More importantly, what happens to the minutes? They can disappear into hours without you even noticing. A few minutes frittered away on this, a few more on that, and poof, they add up to hours wasted and your life is vanishing before your very eyes. Every grain of sand in an hourglass is like one of your precious minutes. As each one passes from the top to the bottom, the remaining ones become that much more important.

Do you talk about the things you want to do, plan to do, or intend to do? Do you keep saying you'll call this person or make a date to spend time with that one, but it never seems to happen?

If something really super over-the-top once-in-a-lifetime fabulous comes up that you'd absolutely love to do, is it easy to drop everything and do it? I'm guessing "Yes." 

And what about the time you spend on social media, or staring at your phone or other screens repeatedly, even when there's nothing new but it's become a habit to keep checking? For many people, this is going to be a "Yes," too.

What about everything in between? That course you'd love the take, a place you'd love to see. What about those relationships that you think can wait? What about time with your family or your dearest friends? Even if it's as simple as a short phone chat or a more fun video connection where you can smile at each other. It doesn't have to take a lot of time but I can guarantee that it's much better for you to spend that little bit of time connecting with loved ones than mindlessly staring at screens.

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It's so easy to think people will always be here, even though we know they won't. Whether disconnections happen, people drift apart, someone dies or moves away, eventually every single connection that you have with the people in your life right now will end. 

And you don't always get any notice that it's going to happen. They're here one minute and gone the next.

Sure, you know this in your head. But what are you doing about it? 

And as for all those things you say you want to do, are planning to do, or intending to do, those opportunities won't always be there either. You never know what lies around the corner. A single "tick" of a clock can change everything. 

Those grains of sand in your hourglass are quietly slipping away…

We will always, always, always make time for the people or things that matter to us. If you pay attention to the way you spend your minutes, you'll soon discover what's really important to you.

I wonder how you'll feel about what you find... 

If you'd care to share, please let me know in the comments below.

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"Family": An Emotionally-Charged Word

Sometimes family can be furry, too...

Sometimes family can be furry, too...

The free "prize" that goes with purchases usually looks okay on the surface. And it will usually serve its purpose in a pretty basic way. You might find yourself wishing it was the model with this option or that one, a few bells and whistles, and boy, if you could have chosen which one you wanted in that line, it would have been one of the upgraded versions.

You eye that nicer model somewhat wistfully, thinking "Mmmmm, I wish..." and going over the list of options that are so appealing. It does this and it does that, and then it does this, too! Wow... yours only does this and that.

"Ah, well. It works," you tell yourself in an attempt to feel satisfied with what you were given.

We slide out of the universe, landing straight into a pile of people who are pretty much your standard issue family. Maybe a bell and a whistle, perhaps a few extra options, and most of them have some cracks, dents or broken bits. They still work but for the most part, they are not the upgraded versions that you'd really love to have.

Many of them will be in your face, jamming their noses into your business with every other heartbeat. Some of them might not give a rat's @$$ what you do - or don't do.

Your mother may drive you absolutely mental. She calls it love and nurturing. You call it suffocating and neurotic.

Your sister steals your make-up, your clothes, your boyfriend. You want to chuck her off a bridge but you don't realise that she admires you, looks up to you, wants to be just like you.

You might have landed in a blended family, or one that is missing various members, probably for a variety of very painful reasons. Perhaps it's an extremely toxic family and it makes you sick right through to your soul.

But whatever it is, warts, poisons, neuroses and all, it's your family. And you might well be wishing you had one of the upgraded versions you've seen in other people's homes.

In a way, you can have one of those models. You can do a sort of Mr Potato-head thing, taking several parts and putting them together to create your Potato-family. This can help to heal the parts of your own that are missing, broken, dented or damaged.

I was given a bunch of mothers in this life (in an assortment of birth, foster and adopted). Yet I never knew what it was to feel "mothered". This caused me a lot of pain for a very long time and my agonising attempts to win that motherly love I craved were utterly futile and self-destructive.

But I've had the extremely good fortune to be given mother-substitutes throughout my life, women who were very maternal, nurturing, soothing and comforting. They gave me a taste of what it's like to be mothered and it's really delicious. Many times, I've been moved to tears by the ease with which these women offered their beautiful mothering gift to me - one in particular, a lovely woman with the biggest, most nurturing and maternal heart I'd ever been blessed to know.

As for my adopted family, my parents and only sibling are dead. I have no relationship with anyone else, apart from a beautiful aunt who lives thousands of miles away (thank God for internet).

Beautiful Aunt Debbie on the left

Beautiful Aunt Debbie on the left

Luckily, I have some very loving birth family members in my life, although at a distance. I hope to develop closer relationships with them someday.

Then there are a bunch of informally adopted family members, my 'Mum', sisters, a brother or two. There were even a couple of grandparents thrown into the mix, too, a long time ago but they died some years back.

There have been so many wonderful people with whom I've shared loving connections and bonds that have felt more like family than most of the people to whom I've been related by blood or by law. The beauty of these family members is they don't offer the same kinds of dysfunctional, enmeshed, crazy-making interference and emotional upsets that "traditional" families do. Bonus!

"Family" most certainly does not have to mean the prize that comes with the purchase, although some of those basic models are quite good and if you're one of the lucky ones who is happy with yours, I'm thrilled that you were so blessed - and no doubt you are thrilled, too.

And if you weren't one of those people, if the word "family" conjures up pain and heartache, or loneliness and emptiness, I hope you've been able to create your own upgraded model, adding the bells and whistles, choosing specific options that allow you to feel loved and supported, welcomed and valued, the way a real family is intended to be.

It doesn't matter what shape or size it is, or where it comes from, or how you stumbled into it, as long as you have a group of people in your life who feel like your family in all the best ways.

If you liked that, perhaps you will like this:

Positively Positive


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If You Knew This Was Your Last Day...

…what would you do?

Yeah, okay, I’m sure most of us would want to spend every last moment with our loved ones – or at least, have them with us while we hurry up and cram everything we can manage into one last day.

It’s all very romantic and lovely to imagine quietly sitting with our loved ones while we peacefully fade away. But what about the Other Stuff? Wouldn’t there be a list of Other Stuff that we wish we could do, too?

I don’t know about you, but after those first powerful thoughts of wanting to be with my family and closest friends, my next thought would be to get rid of everything I don’t want anyone to find.

My mother who is now in spirit always told me to get rid of her underwear as soon as she died. I thought that was weird when I was a kid. But now I understand!

If you've got some that could do with chucking, why not do it now? And while you're at it, what else do you not want people to find? Have you written things you don't want anyone to see? What about photographs, texts, or private journals?

You might want to designate someone to dispose of anything you aren't prepared to destroy just yet...

If it were my last day, I'd have to get a Burger King Whopper with bacon and cheese, and their crispy onion rings too please. And later I would order a fabulous thin-crust pizza loaded with all sorts of goodies and extra cheese. In fact, if you're super focused on healthful eating, why not enjoy a few more treats while you're still able?

I would get into my most comfortable “jams” (is there any other attire that’s appropriate for lounging around in the Afterlife?). And I'd pack up my clothes to give to people who can use them. Hmm, perhaps now is a good time to cull the wardrobe again... it's been a while. How about for you?

I would definitely be playing my favourite music throughout the background of all of this jammy-wearing, burger-eating, last-dayness, with Enigma being at the top of the list. And I’d just have to tickle the ivories for a while, one last time. A bit of Chopin would be in order (he’s my fave) and of course the Moonlight Sonata by the painfully serious Beethoven.

Have you enjoyed your favourite music lately? Or played a long-forgotten instrument? Today is just as good a day as any.

And I’d just have to crawl into my deliciously soft bed and watch ‘Chicken Run’ one last time, preferably with my kids and grandchildren, too (with five of each, I’d better get a bigger bed). A good time to eat that pizza!

Oooo, colouring I’d have to haul out the crayons and colouring books, which my family and I could enjoy with our pizza and Chicken Run.

(Does wine go with colouring books? Yessssssssssss!!!!! if you’re old enough, of course. My driving license says I am but the rest of me thinks I’m four.)

Perhaps I'd write a few final thoughts - or more likely, a few final stand-up jokes, wisecracking about my impending departure. Or I might do one last painting that was colourful and vibrant, summing up the joy I feel about my life (miserable bits included, because they’ve added to the joy in their own bizarre way).

What would you like to say before you go? Or what might you like to create? How about doing it now?

For me, my "last day" would be a day just like any other. I value each one as if it’s my last because the truth is, I never know which one that will be. Apart from chucking my knickers and burning my journals (those will be your jobs, Willow!), I’m pretty much ready to go. I mean, I’m at peace about the whole idea, but I hope it’s not for a very long time because I’m quite happy to be here; I’m having way too much fun.

Have you spoken to your family about burial or cremation? Our culture is so afraid of death we do not discuss these things. But that doesn't make them any less necessary.

I want to be torched so as not to take up perfectly good space on the planet when I wouldn’t really be using it. I heard some time ago that now you can have your ashes made into diamonds (people can even choose the colour they want) and that’s what I’d like to have done to mine.

As I said on my blog a long time ago, pick the word that describes how you want to be remembered and live it. Be it. Do it. I said my word was ‘sparkle’. So if I'm converted into at least a few diamonds, it’s very cool that I’ll be able to sparkle long after I’m gone…

In the meantime, I want to have fun and be silly. I want to find as many ways as possible to leave a positive impact on the world. I want to make delicious memories with people who will keep them safe for me after I’m gone. 

What else is there, really, but the memories we leave behind?

If you enjoyed this, you might also like to click on the posts below:

When Forgiving Seems Impossible

Actions Truly Do Speak Louder Than Words

The Golden Rule: Completely Misinterpreted

How to Love Waiting

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