Friday, April 29, 2016

Patterns of interaction

There are patterns everywhere; in nature ~ like the seasons, and for instance the weather patterns ~ as well as in our lives. There are night and day / sleep and awake patterns; work and play patterns and on and on. These patterns in our lives provide us with a structure that gives us a certain sense of comfort. Perhaps they are even setting us up in our comfort zone.

Apart from the patterns we live by, there are also patterns in our behavior, in our speech and interaction. And these patterns have up to now not been that obvious to the people around us. We ourselves may have been frustrated at times, asking ourselves why we keep finding ourselves in similar situations over an again throughout a period in our lives, yet only those that are very close to us may have seen those type of patterns in our lives…

Then social media came into being.

And by the very nature of that which we share with our friends on social media, suddenly we gain insight in how certain patterns play out in the lives of others.
The way language is used; from very precise ~ rectifying every misspelled word ~ to the internet ‘shorthand’ predominantly used in phone access. But whichever way we share on social media, chances are we share a whole lot more about our lives ~ often with friends we may not know all that well ~ than we would in a face to face conversation with a friend over a cup of tea or coffee…

Reading along with all the things that are happening to our friends on social media, we can see the patterns emerging. We can see how some find themselves in a difficult spot in life, and how they are dealing with it. Whether they take responsibility for their actions, or blame everybody and the kitchen sink for their predicament. How some truly gain from the interaction, while others just seem to get angry when their social media friends have different ideas, different experiences, and different opinions.

Like with friendships in the physical world ~ where, when you drift apart the friendship may end ~ the ‘digital’ friendships on social media may end in ‘un-friending’ a person; or, for that matter being ‘un-friended’.
It is one of those things that happens; when we choose a different direction in life, when we lose common ground, ‘old’ friends may disappear while new friends may be found…

It is a pattern of interaction that is pretty common; be it in the ‘real’ world, or on social media.

What is new is that on social media all of our friends can see or read how this pattern plays out ~ sometimes over and over again. How we interact with others, where we do take responsibility and where we shy away from it; and perhaps most important, how graceful we are in our interaction with others…

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who are you?

Every once in a while, when I look myself in my eyes in the mirror, I ask myself: “Who are you?”

I have a pretty good understanding of who I am not:
I am not who I used to be.
I am not necessarily what others think of me or who others think I am.
I may not be all that I can be.

Then there are a couple of things I feel I do know about myself:
I am filled with potential that is unfolding.
I am walking my own path ~ even if I take a detour or two.
I am learning from my experiences, I am changing and evolving.

So, in asking myself the question “Who are you?”, I am not necessarily looking for any precise answer. I am more interested in where I stand in life at this point in time. In where I have been and where I am heading on my personal path. And on the steps I can take right now in order to get there.

In all reality, when we ask ourselves that question, there are many answers. Which answer comes up depends upon the perspective it was asked from; the aspect of ourselves we are looking at.
Therefore the answer will be different when we are looking at our reality selves, our core selves ~ chances are the answer will have a more spiritual slant to it ~ than it will be in light of how we present ourselves to the world around us. Observing the passionate sides of ourselves may give yet a different answer.

This leads me to believe that we are all multi-faceted human beings that have all the potential we may ever wish for, and have a lot to offer to the world.

The danger in being multi-faceted is ~ and this is where the question “Who are you?” comes in ~ is that we find ourselves stuck on only one or two of the many facets we are. That we only see what we are doing right now, and allowing ourselves to be defined by those tasks.
As soon as this happens, we loose sight of all the other sides of ourselves that are also there ~ although perhaps we are not quite so actively involved in them right now. And pretty soon we may not even dare to look at who we can be; at what lies beyond.
At all the potential we are yet to discover about ourselves.

Therefore I think it is a good thing to ask ourselves every once a while: “Who are you?” and to let ourselves be surprised at the answer that comes up from the very depths of our being.

Friday, April 22, 2016

When the earth shrugs

In a distant past, when the earth shrugged and quivered, it was seen as a sign that the earth was angry with us. It was telling us that we had not treated the earth right, had not given back to her enough or paid her enough respect ~ and now she was ‘shrugging us off’; and doing so in perhaps in a very literal sense ~ or so we thought.

Since those days our understanding of what happens when the earth shrugs has changed.
We now know that these movements are the result of tension that has been building up, usually in a place where two pieces of the earth’s crust are ‘rubbing together’ without having the full freedom to do so.
We also know that there are specific lines where the earth’s crust has this desire to rub together, and that along those lines the earth is more likely to shrug and quiver than elsewhere on its surface.

However, when the earth does break lose and shrugs and moves, the consequences for those living in the area where it happens can be devastating. Often without any warning we, humanity, are reminded that nothing we build can stand up against the forces of nature; let alone against the movement of the Earth-Mother herself. And after she is settling down again, a lot of the things we have taken for granted ~ like shelter and food and water ~ are not easily accessible anymore.
Our infrastructure may have been severely damaged, making it hard to get in ~ or travel out of ~ the affected area.

When the earth shrugs, she is changing into a less tense, less stressed situation. Yet at the same time our stress levels seem to get off the chart high!

The surprising thing is that while we might think that just those who are affected by the quivering earth suffer from extreme stress levels, this is not altogether true.
More and more people, all over the world, sense that there is some earth movement upcoming. They may not be aware where it will happen, or who will be affected by it; but often they will feel that tension within the earth having come to that point where it has to break free…
Then, when the earth shrugs, the tension in the earth releases; just as the tension within humanity spikes. The result is an energy that can be felt throughout the world. It results in people being more ‘on edge’, more quickly reacting in frustration or anger.

While we now know that the earth itself is not shrugging in anger, it does seem at times that our collective anger and frustration helps built the tension that can ~ over time ~ build to that point when even the earth itself has to shrug it off…

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Spring is that season that, for me at least, always has a certain jumpiness associated with it. With all of nature sprouting new leaves, and new energies jumping out at us… One day everything still seems dormant and quiet, and the next day suddenly there is life and color wherever we look!

All at once every bird starts singing even more loudly ~ beautiful songs often meant to mark their territories in which they are now building their nests. And while we may not see it as easily with the smaller song-birds, all birds are gathering the best materials for their particular nests. So its s not uncommon to see crows picking up paper scraps and old leaves to ensure a safe and soft environment for the eggs to be laid and their chicks to be born into.

From one day to the next even our pets act differently. No longer that interested in staying indoors, close to the heater; they are now yearning to go outside to soak up the early rays of the sun.

For us people this sudden change in energy may instigate a desire to clean up: Spring cleaning. It used to be just that; a thorough cleanse of our houses after having lived in relatively close quarters all Winter long. Yet nowadays it seems to be as much a decision making process, a determination as to what we still want to keep close to us, and what we can discard of in order to create space for new things to come into our lives. A matter of discernment as to what still holds value to us, and what belongs in the past and as such has become baggage we no longer need to, or even desire to carry with us.

How we go about that depends on how we react to the Spring energy and is therefore a very individual thing. Some of us are organized and take it one step at a time; one cupboard at a time; one room at a time. Others may seem to jump around as if they are moving around on a ‘pogo-stick’.
Either way, after some time we have created the space we feel we need in our lives at this point in time. And just like that the ‘jumpy’ Spring energy changes, bringing the energy of anticipation into our lives. The expectancy of new things to pop up…

Whichever way we look at it; whatever way we work with it, Spring energy brings excitement into our lives. Just what we needed after the quiet Winter months!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Everything happens for a reason

If everything that happens has a cause and an effect, we might say that everything happens for a reason. After all, whatever it is that is happening has had a cause that has set it into motion ~ independent of whether we like that cause or even agree with that particular cause.

It is something that is often a lot easier to look at on a national ~ or even global ~ scale, than it is to observe it happening in our own lives, our direct environments. But it is happening nonetheless, as cause and effect are universal influences that are always at play…

The statement that everything is happening for a reason is not necessarily a popular statement as it implies that even ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ things have a reason that have caused them.
The truly interesting thing though is that what appears to be really bad at the time, may ultimately influence our lives in a very positive way! And it is not just hardships that have this effect on us; after all, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. But also accidents, conflicts, projects that ‘fall through’, forced relocations ~ all of these things can have a very positive effect on us, and on the world in general. Although we may not be able to see that yet; and in all fairness, it may take a long time before we can actually see the good that has come out of it. Sometimes even up to fifteen or twenty years.

So where does that leave us?
Or perhaps even: ‘What does that have to do with us?’

Well, we have a choice as to how we react to things we see happening in the world.
We can either say that ‘The world is going to hell in a hand-basket’, and join in the negativity of the situation at hand. Or we can actively seek out the tiny points of light in that particular situation; actively looking for the good that it may bring…

We even have a choice as to what we cause to happen in our own lives. If we, for instance, keep telling ourselves and the world around us that we don’t have enough ~ whether that is time, money, housing, job, transportation, perhaps even motivation ~ than chances are that we are causing a situation for ourselves that may turn out to be worse than the situation we are in right now.

So, if everything happens for a reason, lets bring positive reasons into our lives and into our world. And if we find ourselves not being able to influence the reason at this point in time, then lets at least actively pursue that which is positive and good!
In our own lives as well as in the world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


According to the dictionary, a bully is a persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, intimidator; tough guy, thug, ruffian, strong-arm. And the person being bullied is: coerced, pressured, pressurized, pressed, pushed; forced, compelled; badgered, goaded, prodded, intimidated, dragooned, strong-armed, bulldozed, railroaded, or leaned on.

In essence, a bully pushes in order to get his or her way; and when the person ~ or group, or institution ~ gives way, a bully doesn’t stop, but rather starts pushing harder. Anything to get his/her way to the maximum extend.
And it is not just about getting his/her way; it is also about a certain amount of recognition. When other people seem to approve, or even start cheering the bully on, all bets are off as to how far a bully will go to receive the maximum amount of attention, to gain the maximum amount of applause from his/her peers. All to get his/her way; to feel important.

It is a mechanism that often has devastating consequences.

As it turns out, any bully has a real knack to choose his/her victims. And those victims seem to never be able to push back ~ for whatever the reason. It is not that the victim was born a victim; sometimes it is more like they are not interested to push back. Not interested in taking a stand against someone who is clearly coming from a weaker position in life: the bully. Or perhaps they are raised to live and let live…
However, as time moves on, that may prove to be a mistake. It doesn’t cause the bully to stop pushing; it is more likely the bully will start pushing harder.

Even when we are not actively being bullied ~ because of the very mechanism of bullying ~ it is not a good idea to sit back and let it go when we see it happening. Whether it is in a school yard, online, or even on a national level. Whenever we see any type of bullying going on, it is important to step up, to step in, and to push back.
To make clear that this is not acceptable behavior. To get the point across that it is ‘conduct unbecoming’.

And even when we cannot ‘talk sense’ into the bully; at least protect the victim from this particular bully ~ whether it is a person or a minority. And to step away from the bully. To disassociate ourselves from his/her behavior. To stop giving the bully the attention he/she so desperately desires.
In other words, in dealing with a bully it is a good idea to protect the victim, to stand up for ourselves, and to disassociate ourselves from his/her behavior.

Friday, April 8, 2016


Greatness seems to be a term that is giving the world food for thought at the moment. It seems that we can see what it is not, however, it seems harder to define what is.

The thesaurus gives us many synonyms for ‘greatness’:
Distinction, illustriousness, repute, high standing; importance, significance; celebrity, fame, prominence, renown; and also: genius, prowess, talent, expertise, mastery, artistry, virtuosity, skill, proficiency; flair, finesse; caliber, distinction.

Just going through the list, it seems clear that each and every one of these words are aspects of ‘greatness’ without being a full definition of it. In a sense they are therefore not true synonyms.

Over the last number of days I have been thinking about ‘greatness’ and what constitutes it.
And to me, true greatness is not defined by a description, but rather has to do with a state of being.

No doubt this state of being is formed by any number of virtues and can be described by any number of the terms listed above. But true greatness is something that has to do with who we are, not what we are.

This then implies that we don’t have to be rich, or even a virtuoso. We don’t need to be a celebrity or important in any way shape or form. Ultimately we ‘just need to be ourselves’. But then being ourselves at the very highest level we can attain!
Again, this doesn’t mean operating in a very high energy, or doing very special things. It means doing those things that we like doing best ~ the things we are passionate about ~ to the very best of our ability…

In doing so, we may find that other people seek us out, we may even gain a certain level of celebrity. Yet those things are in a sense a side effect of our personal greatness. We don’t need them to show off our greatness, they happen as a result of how we are perceived.

Greatness comes with an understanding as to who we are, and a sense of feeling secure in being who we are. Perhaps even a belief that we are exactly who we are meant to be!
And with that there is no longer a need to diminish others, to point fingers, or to make others ‘wrong’ in any way.

True greatness is peaceful, encouraging, loving. It illuminates and shares. And often it sings and dances and spreads joy!

And perhaps the best things is that when we aspire greatness in our own lives, it can be right at our fingertips…

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fertile ground

As we plan our next steps in life, we always hope the seeds we sow will fall on fertile ground. So that they can germinate, grow roots, and become strong plants. Or trees. We aim to take step after step to nurture these plants, to eventually harvest the outcome of our plan; the result.

As it turns out, it truly doesn’t matter what seeds we sow, nor does it matter what will grow from those seeds. That depends on our intent, on our plan. On how much time and energy we spend nurturing the plants we are growing; how much time and energy we give to the steps needed to ultimately get the results we went for…

Therefore it means that the fertile ground in and of itself doesn’t dictate what will grow from it.
Granted, some types of soil are better for some plants, while other types of soil are more suitable for others. But in the end, the plants that will grow from that fertile soil come from the seeds we chose to sow.

It means that the fertile ground has more to do with ourselves than we may be aware of. It is our desire to move forward, to grow, to manifest, to be productive in whichever way we want to in any particular situation or period in our lives. If we have a strong desire to take the necessary steps and keep with it, the ground we stand on will be fertile. There will not be any question whether the seeds we sow will grow into strong plants that will provide us with an abundant harvest. On the other hand, if we are uncertain of our plans, unclear on the outcome we desire, chances are the ground will prove to be less fertile…
When we plan all kinds of things without ever really going for any of them; never truly putting in the time and energy to make any plan we instigated become manifest in our lives; we may even find the ground we are standing on becoming ‘shifty’. Like loose sand without any nourishing factors. And the seeds we sow may just start tumbling in the wind and be lost to us, never growing into plants, just like our plans never grow into projects.

Planning whatever we want to accomplish is a good thing! Whether it will lead to the desired result depends on how strong our desire is to get to the point of ‘harvest’; if we will keep taking steps toward the result manifesting in our lives.

That then will determine if the ground we are sowing the seeds on turns out to be fertile or not.

Friday, April 1, 2016


The pictures we take and the scrap books we make are solidified memories of good times we have experienced in our lives. These can be holidays, travel, family gatherings, or anything else that is giving us a sense of pleasure at that moment. Enough of it, to want to recall those pleasant memories at some point in time in our future.

Along the same lines, souvenirs can bring the sense of ‘having a good time’ back into our lives. Just by looking at it, handling it, it can bring us back to exactly that point in time when we felt good, looking around, window-shopping, and still ending up with the very item we are looking at right now. It is one of those things that, while they may not immediately bring back the full-blown sense of ‘feeling good’, they are most certainly good for a smile every time the item brings it back to mind.

If we truly like to collect things ~ be it pictures or souvenirs ~ to at some point recollect those good times, we may end up with a lot of ‘stuff’ sitting around. All of it valued, all of it representing a specific time and place, all of it giving us that sense of ‘feeling good’…
And while this is just what some people may want, others may be happier without carrying the burden of these physical recollections. They may have an understanding that if it was that important to us, we will in all likelihood remember the time, the event, the experience, even without needing something physical to hang on to.

As it turns out, one of the most powerful vehicles for our memories to stay with us is scent. A certain scent ~ like a picture or a souvenir ~ can bring us back instantly to that time when we experienced ‘feeling good’, or ‘feeling happy’.
It is just that these scents have a tendency to come upon us unbidden. It may be when we are traveling ~ exploring new territories ~ that a scent whiffs along bringing back those recollections from a different place and a different time…

And the surprising thing of all may well be that it is not whether it is an item that has weight and takes up space that can turn out to be the burden; or even the scent that might come by on a soft Summer breeze. It is the recollection itself that may become the burden, keeping us from experiencing every day as if it were our first day, from making each experience a new experience to us.

And yet, even when we don’t value recollections of any kind, they are still there, ready to pop up when we least expect them…