Tuesday, March 29, 2016
It is important to ~ at least every once in a while ~ listen to our thoughts. Not in order to enter into an inner conversation, but rather listen to the thoughts we are thinking as an honest observer. Without judgement, without guilt. Just listening and observing the thoughts we are thinking. To become aware of the thoughts we are thinking…
Are we thinking kind thoughts? Are we thinking of change and all the newness and positivity it can bring into our lives? Are we thinking healing thoughts ~ for ourselves, for others and even for the world?
Or do we find ourselves thinking thoughts of frustration and anger? Judgmental thoughts directed at those who are not thinking along the same lines as we are? Thoughts of fear, as we see violence in the world around us?
Chances are, when we truly monitor our thoughts for a day or so, we will find that our thoughts are divers. That some of our thoughts are judgmental, while others are compassionate. That we have both frustrated thoughts as well as kind thoughts ~ and pretty much every kind of thought in between.
However, as we become more aware of the thoughts we are thinking, we give ourselves a choice as to which lines of thought we allow to continue in our minds, and which thoughts we choose to interrupt.
For instance thoughts that bring doubt or guilt into our lives, thoughts that make us fear the world around us, we would probably be better off interrupting. Not allowing them to take hold in our lives. Not permitting them to make us doubt ourselves, feel guilty about what we have done or have failed to do.
As our thoughts set the tone for what we bring into our lives; as our thinking shapes and molds our lives into the image of our lives as we are living it ~ becoming aware of our thought-patterns is very beneficial to us as it gives us an opportunity to change our lives. In the most literal sense!
That being said, thinking our thoughts, observing our thoughts, becoming aware of the thought patterns that create our lives is a very personal thing to do. And we are the only person we can direct the thought patterns of… What other people think is up to them.
As is the way they choose to express their thoughts, their opinions, and even their attitudes.
But then again, we don’t have to make that a part of our lives.
It is up to us to either go along with what we are told by other people ~ going along with their thoughts ~ or whether we choose to think our own thoughts, creating our own lives.
Posted by Anne Claire at 1:53 AM
Friday, March 25, 2016
As the time approaches that Europe ~ where I live ~ will follow (most of) the U.S. in Daylight Savings Time, it occurs to me that the name, of not the concept, is a misnomer.
When Daylight Savings Time was invented, the thought behind it was that shifting the clock one hour throughout the Summer would bring major economic benefits. We, the people would not use as much electricity because as the sun would set later in the evenings, we would not need to turn on the lights quite so early. And this is true as well for outdoor sporting clubs, and not to forget street lanterns.
After so many years of adapting to the shift in time, new research has shown that the economic savings connected to Daylight Savings Time are nominal at best.
However it does have its effects!
As the rush hour also starts an hour earlier, it is found that birds have started to sing their songs earlier and in some cases louder, in order to be heard over the traffic noise.
And on a different note, some may suggest that the pollution brought on by rush hour ~ something that happens every day, no matter what convention we use for ‘time’ ~ has more profound ramifications when it happens in the earlier morning hours when Daylight Savings Time is in effect.
The good thing of course ~ especially when you live a bit further to the North ~ is that the evenings really tend to go on for ever before the sun sets, and dusk finally turns into dark.
But what exactly are we saving by collectively agreeing to get up an hour early each morning?
The name does suggest that we are saving time.
But how do we save time?
One could argue that we save time by doing the task at hand in a more efficient manner, so that it takes us less time to get it done. For instance, by combining the errands we need to run, we will do them all in one morning instead of running out for each errand separately; which can take way more time…
So by ‘upping’ our efficiency, we safe time which we can then spend on other things ~ be it having (more) ‘me-time’, or rather being able to get more done in a day.
Yet by only shifting the clock forward in Spring (and backward come Fall) there is no sense at all of making ‘better’ use of our time ~ of ‘saving time’. We still take the same time to perform the tasks at hand, do our chores; it is just that we do them a bit earlier in the day…
Posted by Anne Claire at 3:35 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
We greatly value our freedom to express ourselves, and rightfully so!
However, it does bring up the question whether we should actually say everything that comes to mind, or that perhaps we ~ personally ~ or eve the world in general are better of when things are left unsaid.
It is an interesting perspective as there are many things in the world right now that are happening ~ sometimes truly horrific things ~ that no-one knows about because all those who are involved are holding their tongue. And for the majority of these situations it would be a very good thing when there are people who would dare speak their minds and bring it out into the open.
Because the world needs to know about it before it can be resolved.
On the other hand there is nothing to be gained by putting people down, by bullying them into a space where they can be controlled. On a personal level, it makes you a bully ~ and who would want to be a bully? ~ and it is more telling about the bully, his or her insecurities and angers toward others and themselves, than it will ever tell about those who are bullied into submission. On a global level, domination through fear doesn’t instigate control, it instigates revolts. People can only take so much before they eventually will stand up for themselves…
So what makes people to step up into the lime light in order to speak their minds, when what they are thinking is hurtful, even hateful? And what makes other people admire that?
Is it just a cheap shot to get all the attention a person never got from their parents when they were a toddler? Is it about bullying and building a fear against certain groups of people who are perceived to be easily subdued? Or lies the answer more along lines of refusing to look inside ourselves as to what we can do to make our own lives better? A sense of it being easier to point fingers than to take responsibility?
Either way, while speaking our minds in essence is a good thing ~ it can be a great inspiration to people, it can spark discussions that can lead to innovative solutions to the challenges we face in this point in time ~ it seems to be true still that if you have nothing nice to say, nothing constructive to add, nothing that encourages people to build better lives for themselves…
Then your words probably are best left unsaid.
Posted by Anne Claire at 3:17 AM
Friday, March 18, 2016
We may feel we know what we want in life; or perhaps have a better idea as to what we definitely do not want in life ~ either way, we have an idea that we are pretty certain as to how we wish to shape and give form to our lives.
Yet when it comes down to the line, there are often more inconsistencies in our thinking than we realize!
For instance, lot’s of people say they would truly enjoy four defined seasons ~ Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall ~ as long as we don’t have to deal with the cold; the rain, snow, and sometimes sleet in Winter. And we all value the freedom to be able to express ourselves; the freedom to let our true self shine ~ as long as we receive that freedom, and don’t have to extend it to others who may have ways that we don’t understand or like.
And as far as expressing ourselves goes; we feel we have the freedom to say anything we want to say about any situation or person, any minority and so on; to speak our minds no matter what. Even when its s hurtful. And if that other party doesn’t like that, then that is their problem. Unless we have crossed a legal line and get arrested because of it, in which case it becomes our problem even though we feel the other party shouldn’t have been as ‘touchy’ on the subject.
However, no-one should dare to speak to me in that way!
Whatever inconsistencies there are ~ whether they are in our lives, or play out on TV ~ they provide us with food for thought…
What makes us long for one thing in our lives, while refusing to accept ‘the whole package’? Whether that is the cold Winter weather (or extreme heat in Summer), or the fact that we are not the only person in the world yearning for the freedom to live our lives the way we see fit ~ within the bounds of the law of the Country we are living in?
Inconsistencies, sometimes in very small, inconsequential, every day things, show us how much we are prone to measure life by double standards.
It is something that deserves a good, honest look every once in a while…
Because if we take the inconsistencies out of our lives, our thinking; if we accept that there are only ‘whole packages’, and that our lives are bound to get better if we wish for others to have their desires met, just as we have our wishes fulfilled ~ suddenly our environment finds a new, greater balance.
Without the inconsistencies life gets better and better!
Posted by Anne Claire at 4:01 AM
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
If you can’t catch, don’t throw.
In other words, don’t dish out more than you can take. After all, what you throw will ~ eventually ~ come back to you. This is quite obvious at any time you ‘play catch’; throwing and catching the ball back and forth. But it is also true in life.
When we are kind, we encounter kindness; yet when we are frustrated, chances are we encounter people and situations that only add to the frustration.
But what when it is not about our ability to catch, but rather about our ability to retrieve the ball? If it doesn’t matter whether we fumble and drop the ball time after time, only to run after it and keep playing. Trusting that eventually we will get it right.
In other words, what if it is not about catching the ball in and of itself, but rather about how we handle what happens ~ whether we catch the ball or not?
That would put the phrase in a whole different perspective!
Now it becomes something like: “Expect that which you put out to come back to you so you can learn from the experience.”
In turn, it indicates that we have a certain amount of control over the (life)lessons we meet on our personal paths, as it now says that encountering each lesson is a result of something we have ‘thrown’ or put out.
And finally, it is not about the situations or experiences in and of themselves ~ ‘how clumsy we are that we can’t even catch the ball ~ again’ ~ it is all about what we do and how we handle retrieving the ball in order to keep playing. Playing the game of life, that is.
So when what we put out will return to us, we can choose to put out a positive energy. In doing so we set the stage for our next lesson to come into our lives in the most positive way possible, such that even when we would ‘drop the ball’ we can easily retrieve it…
This then can become our motivation to be kind more often. To encourage others to take the next step ~ to throw the next ball ~ on their path. To cheer them on when they catch the ball in return, and to cheer them up when they fumble.
And also to give ourselves a pat on the back when things are going our way ~ after all, at this point we are clearly ‘playing well’ ~ and to take life as it comes when we ‘drop the ball’.
Live, learn, and play on!
Posted by Anne Claire at 4:47 AM
Friday, March 11, 2016
We all have our cupboards and bookshelves, and even our (kitchen)cabinets filled with the things we either use on a day by day basis, or with things we value to the point we don’t want to throw them out. Yet.
As far as the things we need and use regularly go there is no question of whether to keep them or not. But for those things we haven’t used in a couple of years, or our treasures of the past, it is not as easy to determine whether we should hang on to them or not. It becomes an intensely personal decision; a decision that can be very easy for some, while it turns out to be very hard for others.
The key ~ as always ~ is found in the balance. In this case the balance of what to keep, and what can go. And forcing a ‘pack-rat’ to get rid of their stuff, often is as unproductive as trying to convince a ‘minimalist’ to hang on to something for future use.
It seems like some people enjoy having physical representations of past events around. The pictures and souvenirs help them to recapture the energy of those (joyful) events. Other people have no problem bringing the energy of joyful memories back into their minds by just thinking about them. To them, the physical representations are just baggage of which their is no need to keep carrying it around any longer.
That being said, when there is an opportunity to take a peek into someone else’s cabinet of memories, it often turns out to be an fascinating adventure!
At first glance, whatever the physical memories are gives an interesting perspective on the person who has collected them. Whether it is art, correspondence, pictures, or a kaleidoscope of things a person has done and/or created in ~ sometimes long-ago ~ times past…
Sometimes a cabinet is just a cabinet, while other times a cabinet is a portal into times long gone; this through the physical representations of the memories of any one person.
Sometimes our best option is to not enter that portal, while other times we can learn a lot from wandering the winding roads of day gone by, observing, reading, and looking at the objects in that cabinet. Listening to the stories each object has to tell us. Enjoying the fact that they have given so much pleasure to the person who has hung on to them for so long…
It is not a matter of living in the past, but moreover an enrichment of our lives as we walk along the joyful parts of the path of our ancestors.
Posted by Anne Claire at 7:03 AM
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Life is full of adventures!
It is not so much that our lives are lacking in adventures, but rather whether we are willing to open ourselves to the adventures that are everywhere around us, and are willing to jump in and experience them as they happen.
Now, when I say that life is full of adventures, I don’t necessarily mean the type of adventures like ‘space tourism’, climbing Mount Everest, solo-sailing around the world, etc.
What I do mean is the adventure of finding ourselves with a couple of hours to spare, and using that time to do something we may not have done before. To do something that up to now we felt ‘wasn’t for us’.
It can be visiting a museum we have walked by many times without ever giving it much thought. Or taking a bike ride through this newly created park that is renowned for its bike paths, but slightly out of the way. Or something simple like calling a friend we haven’t spoken for ages ~ just because life got in the way…
No matter what adventure we embark on, chances are we are either going to like it, or discover we don’t like it much at all. However, independent from how much our adventure agrees with us, we will discover new things.
From a physical perspective we are bound to discover new places, perhaps even discover new information, new perspectives, and new aspects of old friendships.
From a personal perspective, by doing things we haven’t done before, we discover things about ourselves. About our likes and dislikes; but also about affinities with things that are unexpected. Perhaps even discover talents we have that we would never have tapped into, had we not embarked on this little adventure to find that it not only gives us a couple of hours of fun, but it also sets us on a path, a direction, we would not otherwise have taken…
From the perspective of discovering things, we all need our adventures in our lives. If only to remind us that there is a whole wide world out there that has things to offer. Whether it is just time to enjoy the smell of roses, or lines of thought we never thought we would be thinking.
Without those little adventures in our lives, we may find our lives become filled with a comfortable sameness that fails to spark our curiosity; almost as if we would be folding in upon ourselves, making our (personal) world ever smaller…
What is your next adventure going to be?
Posted by Anne Claire at 12:30 AM
Friday, March 4, 2016
From a spiritual perspective one could argue that there is unlimited potential all around us, and that therefore we too have unlimited potential.
It is something that perhaps can best be seen when we look at nature. When any area is left to its own devices, nature takes over. Even a plain concrete slab will eventually get cracked, and before you know it, plants, even trees are growing from those cracks.
So if we, as humanity, are part of nature ~ then chances are that we too have the unlimited potential to thrive in the most unlikely places or circumstances. Not just surviving, not just getting by; thriving!
Unfolding the unlimited aspects of ourselves that we have not brought out of ourselves yet. Choosing new avenues, chasing new dreams, and being successful at it beyond our wildest expectations.
So what is holding us back?
Chances are the things that keep us from discovering and unfolding our unlimited potential are along these lines:
We have a family, a home, a car, a job, there is simply no time to do something different.
We can have our dreams, but we should not expect them to pay the bills; be reasonable!
We don’t have the money to choose new avenues and chase our dreams.
We don’t have the necessary skills, aptitudes, background, etc.
And finally, what is it doesn’t work out?
In other words, let’s not start something new, chase our dreams, follow our heart’s desires because from a reasonable, logical perspective they are unlikely to move us forward. It may even set us back, land us on hard times. And then what is going to happen to me? To my life?
All of the things that let us decide against striking out to discover our unlimited potential have to do with a fear for our livelihood; a fear for ourselves.
So we settle for ‘comfortable’, and ‘reasonable’.
And if that is our conscious choice, then there is nothing wrong with that!
But what if?
What if taking a chance and changing the direction of our lives will show us ‘superpowers’ we never suspected we had? What if we have skills and aptitudes we never think about using? What if we have talents we never discover?
What is we let our unlimited potential go to waste, for the simple reason we dare not tap into it?
Let’s get out of our comfort-zone which is all too often defined by the things ‘we cannot’ or ‘we have not’, and lets venture out and discover something new about our very own unlimited potential.
Posted by Anne Claire at 8:09 AM
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
There is no-one other than ourselves who can truly know our direction in life. Any pointers in directions of any kind ~ be they nicely thought out mundane directions or perhaps even somewhat weird metaphysical directions ~ that are given us, may well be coming from wonderful intentions. However, the only thing they are truly telling us is that this particular direction is making perfect sense ~ or has worked well ~ for the person giving us the advice.
Because when it comes to finding our way, it almost always will lead us on a dual road which often starts inside ourselves, before is ever comes to an outward expression.
From this perspective, when we find ourselves ‘lost in the forest’ is probably a good thing.
It means that while we may have followed directions to get here, this may not be the space we ever dreamed of or desired. Hence we are lost.
It is a perspective which may come up after having experienced a life-changing event in our lives. Something that has brought us to a point of re-evaluation as to where we want to spend our time and energy. Something that perhaps even has us questioning who we truly are. What are our needs and desires? What do we dream about? What discoveries are at our fingertips, and what adventures are awaiting us?
Our path through life is often guided by questions like that.
However, as life is comfortably moving along, without any upsets or disturbances, we don’t seem to have a reason to ask ourselves these questions; let alone take the time to ponder them.
And so we are more likely to continue living life following everybody’s directions; especially when they are making ‘absolute sense’, and are ‘perfectly reasonable’.
The beauty of life is that there are no wrong turns.
Whether we continue living the comfortable life within the parameters set by others, or go out of our way to do whatever we want to do in our own way, we will have a successful life. From a spiritual perspective, that is. Whichever way we choose to go, we will find growth opportunities along the way. And even the occasional ‘oops’, or decidedly wrong decision won’t make us fail.
As long as we learn from our mistakes and cherish our accomplishments.
However, at some time in our lives we may find ourselves ‘lost in the forest’, looking for that path that is truly ours to take. That path on which we will find our needs answered, our desires fulfilled, and our dreams come true.
That path that will guide us to greater awareness.
That is when we are truly finding our way!
Posted by Anne Claire at 1:32 AM