The greatest gift you can give yourself

Chatting with some friends the other day, the dreaded subject of the festive season and gift giving to the in-laws raised its scaly head. After much hilarity and a number of suggestions that would make most people blush the discussion took a more philosophical leaning towards spoiling yourself. Over and above beauty treatments, shopping trips and a personal chef (which are all utterly spectacular don’t get me wrong), my contribution was ..

Solitude, also known as time to be by yourself and with yourself

Seriously, in my humble opinion, it’s a priceless commodity – time to think and examine and investigate your own life. I think people tend to hide and shy away from their true feelings and thoughts when they are with other people (even a beloved spouse) but when you’re on your own there’s nowhere to run. You have to face all the stuff head on. It’s surprising just how much peace stillness engenders and how truly doable it all is. My personal “think about it” process – compartmentalise, pack away and stick on a label.

I don’t have a predetermined schedule for looking inwards – if living was that straight forward it wouldn’t be necessary but as often as possible I become one (the oneness of it all sounds ridiculous I know but you get the idea).

“Language has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

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A scrap of paper

Every so now and again I change out my work bag. I have two that take it in turns, one a chocolate brown leather and the other a Vuitton look alike. They’re both fairly spacious and despite my best efforts the odd scrap of paper does occasionally take up residence in a dark recess.

Yesterdays ragged remnant, scribbled on the back of what appears to have been a grocery list, delivered this ……

Do you think, he said, you might want to love me? Well it was more of a rumble exactly, his voice deep and warm. She reached out and took his hand, pressing a soft kiss on his knuckles. Meaty hands he called them but their strength gave her comfort. The white cuff of his uniform was in stark contrast to his golden hand coloured by hours spent outdoors. She had fought her feelings from that first day when he met her at the country fair. She didn’t have time for relationships and men. She was going to be a politician on Capitol Hill. He’d put his arm around her shoulders and grinned, his green eyes sparkling with knowing. You can be the next president he said, but we are going to be together. A deep sigh brought her hurting back to the present and she slid off the bench, dropping to her knees in front of him. Jessie, she said and he lifted his head,

It was (I think) going to be a short story romance of a headstrong, rebellious girl and her long-time love interspersed with a dose of conflict and separation. A mosaic of snippets of other lives – someday there may even be an ending.

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.” Anais Nin

About me, when the going gets tough

Health, stress and its affects have been front and centre of late. Call it circumstance, fate or whatever – multiple people that we know are ill to varying degrees. I suppose being away for a few days has also sparked another spell of thinking. How do you or is there a right way to deal with stress?

I’m very vocal (not always to the stress causer mind you) and if my office walls could talk I’d probably need to take out a gagging order! Lets put it this way I’m a firm believer in better out than in.

Music is my figurative punching bag. Hard rock, classical or something that makes you cry – there’s a tune to pretty up and every mood (that said rap and hip-hop have yet to reveal their purpose to me).

In a utopian world, you’d be able to tell your stresser that they are the root cause of your stiff neck and twitching left eye but until then ………………

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music” Aldous Huxley

About me, day 2

One of the “things” about getting older is that you’re meant to know yourself a little better. You’re meant to know your character and what type of a person you are. Anyway, somebody said to me today….. you’re really good with people. I snorted something unintelligible because really (or so I thought), deep in my psyche, I’m not a people person at all – the quintessential cat that walk alone. People are complicated and full of twists and turns – straight lines and no bumps are not common .

I suppose, therefore, it’s an eye-opener or a reason to press pause when my black and white has a smidge of grey. I am, on closer examination, a keeper of secrets. People tell me things, a great many things – the good, the bad and the ugly. Apparently I’m a good listener, empathetic and I don’t judge – who knew. The thing is though, does one have a limit? How much stuff can you take on board before you’re full and more importantly how do you get rid of the stuff? Spring cleaning the mind – now there’s a title for a self-help series!

About me, today

Do you think a lot, or maybe it’s just me? I like to think and ponder and ruminate about this and that and everything in between. My favourite place is usually the shower (must be the whole calming effect of the water thing blah, blah, blah) but otherwise anywhere really that is removed from the constant noise of living. Anyway I was thinking today …

What do you think you see when you look at me?
Tough and mouthy,
Oozing confidence with a clearly defined life path.
Wrong, wrong, wrong
It’s all for show
I don’t really know and I’m not really sure but I’m learning every day
I’m finding my way
Setting my boundaries
Pushing my limits
Finding my joy
Realising that taking care of me first is the only way to be the best me I can be.

Lonely – a contrast

Sorting through some photos for printing (DH is an old fashioned kind of guy and likes to look through a “proper” album), I came across these two taken in the mountains July last year. Same image, one very early in the morning as the sun came up with a mug of tea in hand and the other late afternoon after a slog up one of the surrounding mountains.

They strike me as “lonely” images for some or other reason. Perhaps because of the absence of people or maybe because the windmill was on its own – whatever, I like the light as well. I’m sure there should be a fancy technical desription for it but I just like it.

mon13

mon10

What happened ……

When DH and I go to visit my mum and dad we often drive past a hobo sitting forlornly on the side of the road with a mismatched, ragtag bundle of meager possessions. He’s a big man, long hair and a full beard – filthy dirty with a puce colured coat and head down, never looking at the passing cars. I always wonder how he ended up in such a dire state?

“I used to be somebody you know
People used to look me in the eye, shake my hand and call me sir
That was before
That was before that night – I signed the deal and they told me I was the best
Everybody wanted to buy me a drink and I didn’t say no
Dave wanted to drive me home but I told him to piss off, I was no girly that couldn’t hold my drink
I got in the car

I killed him you know
They say I hit him so hard that he ended up in the ditch across the way
Just 16 he was, on his way home from football practice
They put me away for a while but I got parole for “good behaviour”
Bloody joke, no booze inside.

And now, sleeping rough,
My family moved away, no forwarding address
They deserted me – the bastards
I’m afraid, especially at night
I hide behind the station
Under the boxes
They hurt me when they can find me
They take my stuff,
I’m all alone.”

Postscript – I wrote this a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to posting it. The irony of the situation is, when we went to fetch my parents for Christmas lunch at my brother’s today, there was a plain wooden cross in the spot where he used to be. Willie, that was his name, died on 17 December 2012.