Ageing and such like

I have come across various quotations recently, including one today which said ‘it’s never too late to become the person you want to become’ and another – an advertisement by the Sanctuary Spa – encouraging women to relax and to ‘let go’ .  As I am just starting a college course, aiming for a change in career and it’s my birthday next week, both got me thinking.

Changing career is both exciting and daunting.   I am old enough to be the mother, if not the grandmother, of some of the other students.  But for some while now I have wanted to do something more creative.  Singing and writing were never going to pay the bills; cooking on the other hand, although at most levels not as well paid as surveying, could do.  I am torn between wanting to do something which is fulfilling for me; having to provide financially for my children; trying to balance work with looking after my children (picking them up from school, not too many hours in after school club, trying not to ask their father to look after them more than I do, etc. etc.).  I don’t know whether I’m doing the right thing – I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone in many ways – but I do know that drifting along as a surveyor is not satisfying, not fulfilling and, ultimately, doesn’t seem to be providing the right opportunities to make of it either a career or a vocation any longer.  I’ve applied for jobs and got nowhere, whereas already opportunities for catering are coming my way.

The other issue I’m debating in my head is whether it’s selfish to find something which is fulfilling, career-wise (which is why being able to provide for my children financially is an important factor).  The Sanctuary advert popped into my consciousness at just the right moment: my Thursday evening run had been cancelled (partly by me – the weather was atrocious) and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and a bit low.  Straight away I was thinking about my ‘to do’ list and how, as I wasn’t going running I then ‘must do… singing practice; learn/practice Italian; sort out my college folder; write all the features I’ve been meaning to write; go out for a run anyway…’ as if the suddenly empty time had to be filled.

The Sanctuary advert pulled me up short.  I roamed around a bit on Facebook, finding an inspiring clip about a man who had started running at 95 and long jump at 97; I lit some candles and had a bath (I normally have a shower as it’s quicker), lying there for ages not even reading but with bubbles about a foot higher than the surface of the water, just day dreaming; I eventually did some singing; and then I roamed around a bit more on Facebook and pinterest before writing this post.

I haven’t done all the things I could have done; but instead of feeling sad and sorry for myself I’ve enjoyed having some contemplative, peaceful time on my own.  I’m happy that I’m following my dream of being more creative, and excited about my change of career and where it might lead me: and I’m glad I’m doing it before I’m too old.

I still have a list of things to do, or that I wish to do, and I don’t want to live to regret not doing anything – but at the same time I know that sometimes it’s OK just to take some time out and do nothing.  As the Italians say, “la dolce far niente”.  And at those points, when you’re happy enough and confident enough to stop – to have a break from the rushing around we all do – you can look into yourself and see who you really are.  And you know what?  I like who I am (phew!).

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Live in your strength

Philippa Gregory (in The Taming of the Queen):

“…if you are a writer, you will find that you are driven to write.  It is a gift that demands to be shared.  You cannot be a silent singer.”

Lyn Thurman (in The Inner Goddess Revolution):

“I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t be with anyone else who didn’t ‘get me’.  I needed to be 100 per cent myself, not feeling as if I had to play a role of how a dutiful wife should be… There’s a part of our culture that hints that we are somehow less than whole if we’re not in a relationship… ” 

The Lover’s Path… if you follow your heart and are true to yourself, you cannot help but walk on the lover’s path.  Love for friends; love for family; love for children; love for the world; love for the person you adore the most in the world; and love for yourself.

“To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you .”

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“If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea,
I’ll sail the world to find you
If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see,
I’ll be the light to guide you.”

 

There you are, standing, feeling broken-hearted, looking out at the sea as the ship drifts over the horizon.  The wind blows your hair and clothes; blows the tears from your cheeks leaving nothing but a vague memory.  The words of Morag’s Cradle Song come to mind: “Gaze I seaward in the gloaming; gaze I skyward, sad and weary…“.

Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting or no longer loving – it means accepting.

Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean not being sad – it means understanding.

Understanding means loving enough to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Truly loving means that even while you miss and yearn for the beloved, you accept him for who he is and that he must do what he believes is right for him; believing in him and thinking he’s amazing; knowing he’s great; letting go of him.

He has left on that ship and you had to let him go – maybe for a while, maybe for ever.  You can only step away from the sea and get on with your life, holding the beloved in your heart and trusting that the Universe, Fate, God, Allah – call it what you will – has it all worked out, and that ‘all will be well and all manner of thing shall be well’.

And of course the pain recedes and it is easier to remember the good things – the love – and not feel hurt by the bad; the doubts and questioning and disdain.

Live in your strength – be true to yourself – let yourself shine.

copyright 2017 R Lewis
“There are no goodbyes for us.  Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart” – Mahatma Ghandi

photograph copyright R. Lewis 2017

Sayings

p.s. the basil plant is here because in some cultures it represents peace – and it’s one of my favourite flavours and scents.

As this year winds to an end the troubles in Syria seem to be getting worse rather than better and it feels as if generally there is a lack of peace and harmony in the world.  It saddens me, and worries me when people I speak to express concern about where the world is going.  The optimist in me is always hopeful that things will get better and that troubled regions will achieve peace; that Donald Trump and Brexit won’t turn out to have the dire consequences which some people predict; and wants to seek out the best in people and see human greatness, not the worst of us.  The realist in me knows that mankind has always fought and I then wonder if the human race will eventually kill itself out (there are an awful lot of us but we don’t half do some stupid, catastrophic things).

I feel so small and insignificant and unable to do anything.  For much of the past year/year and a half I have wanted to go to work abroad to help in some of these troubled areas: but I have my own children to think of and finances and, if I’m truthful, I’m also scared to take so big a step.  As I sing carols I think about the words and wish that some of them could come true – that we could somehow manage to love each other, whatever religion or race we are.  After all we are all human beings.  It seems to me that all too often we forget that about each other – I loved the video on facebook earlier this year showing how our genes and DNA can make us more closely related than we might ever have dreamed to people from other countries and continents (I’d love to know what my mix is – even as a child I hoped that I wasn’t ‘just’ English).

I was going to write a ‘farewell 2016’ post with some of the best sayings which I have come across as this year comes to an end: and then I decided they warranted a separate post of their own.  So here they are, in no particular order – and I’m hoping that I haven’t repeated ones which I have quoted elsewhere.

And I then looked up prayers for peace in all religions: Peace.  I particularly like the two I have chosen here because they are about nature/the world, and anyone who has read several of my blogposts will know that I often find my inner calm at the top of a hill, in the woods or by the sea (or a mixture of the three).  Again as I a child I was always fascinated by the Native Americans – I had a fantastic book of stories which my grandmother gave me, but which sadly was given away long ago and which means I don’t have it available for my own children.

“The only way to do a great job is to love what you do” – Steve Jobs

“A winner is simply a dreamer who never gave up” – Nelson Mandela

“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her”. Adrienne Rich (from another wordpress blog – Saved by Words).

Through the Silence of Nature

Through the silence of nature,
I attain Thy divine peace.
0 sublime nature,
in thy stillness let my heart rest.
Thou art patiently awaiting the moment
to manifest through the silence of sublime nature.
0 nature sublime, speak to me through silence,
for I am awaiting in silence like you the call of God.
0 nature sublime,
through thy silence I hear Thy cry.
My heart is tuned to the quietness,
that the stillness of nature inspires.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan

Cheyenne Prayer for Peace

Let us know peace.
For as long as the moon shall rise,
For as long as the rivers shall flow,
For as long as the sun shall shine,
For as long as the grass shall grow,
Let us know peace.
– Cheyenne Prayer

The Christmas tree isn’t here to say anything particularly christian, but purely as Christmas, to me, being so near the new year, represents a time of a possible new start and gives us all a chance to think about others.  Next year, as David will have the children at Christmas, I’m going to volunteer at Crisis at Christmas – one of the many things I’ve been meaning to do for years and haven’t done, and now I’ve stated it out in public I shall have to do it!!!

To you all, of whatever religion (or of no religion) – season’s greetings and best wishes for a harmonious 2017.

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