The Voice In Your Head

have you ever thanked her
the voice in your head
tells you when to get up
get showered and dressed

she tells you to eat
and exercise too
she pays your bills
and looks after you

she manages your affairs
night and day
looks after your interests
invests your pay

there are times
she talks all day long
listing over and over
what you’ve done wrong

wash up the dishes
put away your crap
don’t even think
about taking a nap

she nags you, bosses you
all damn day
often you wish
she’d just go away

but if she didn’t live
inside your head
you might very well
wind up dead

she loves you, you see
wants only the best
because you are her
sole responsibility

if you would give her
a little gratitude each day
she would carve out
some more time for play

she is not your friend
nor your enemy
she is your manager
your frenemy

so try to remember
when you go to bed
to thank her, your manager
the voice in your head

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Photo Credit: NordWood Themes via Unsplash

 

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The Ritual

When Kate was 11 years old her mother died. Each year, on the anniversary of her death, she would make plans to mourn her mother. Kate would spend the day being sad, pouring through old photographs and thinking about all the events over the last year her mum had missed out on. She would buy a bunch of roses, her mother’s favourite flower and make her mother’s favourite meal for dinner, pasta carbonara.

Sometimes I wondered if this yearly ritual was a little morbid and unhealthy. One day as Kate was preparing for her annual ritual of grieving, a little insight blossomed in me. The relationship an 11 year old has with her mother is very different to the one she has with her at 25 or 40 years of age. Perhaps this was Kate’s way of mourning the relationship she never got to have with her mother as she matured and grew up.

She allowed herself 1 special day a year to grieve, for the other 364 days she was perfectly cheerful and got on with her life. Seems reasonable really. If I had voiced my concerns, I might have interfered with a process that was perfectly healthy and natural to her.

Now that Kate is married and has a child of her own, she no longer has time to mourn for the whole day but she still buys roses and makes pasta carbonara for dinner. I can see now, that her yearly ritual is actually a beautiful and deeply personal, healing process – not morbid at all. A little insight, sure can go a long way in friendship.

May all beings enjoy friendship!

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Photo Credit: Greg Ortega via Unsplash

The Love Box

a heart shaped box
adorned with roses
stored under the bed
directly beneath
my mothers head

the love box
filled with memories
trinkets
and evidence
that she was loved

when in doubt
she took it out
poured through its contents
caressing each item
as precious treasure

a paper daisy
made by me
a poem
penned by my sister
a heart shaped card
crafted by my brother

a wedding photo
of her parents
a dried, faded rose
a remnant from her own
wedding bouquet

restored and replenished
with love
the doubts all gone
she could now
carry on

we all have fond memories
of the love box
we don’t even know
what happened to it
in the end

but the memories
and the love remain
stored now in my own
metaphorical
box of miracles

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This wedding photo is the last remaining evidence from the love box.

Who am I?

who am I?
where am I?
why am I here?
when I was a child
going about my childish business
suddenly I would stop
when someone in me
asked those magic questions
the answer never came in words
it came in feelings
lots of lovely, cascading feelings
of feeling loved
feeling special
safe
for a few precious minutes
time stood still
except it didn’t
all grown up
my secret powers had slipped away
forgotten for many years
and now they return
who am I?
where am I ?
why am I here?
but the magic is gone
and
the silence is deafening

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Photo Credit: Jared Erondu via Unsplash

 

Happiness or Joy?

I’m not terribly enamoured with happiness. I prefer joy. Many people use these lovely words interchangeably but I see them as having very different qualities. Happiness is one of the top 3 desires for human beings, along with love and peace but so few seem to attain it or be able to hold on to it.

I’d like to introduce you to Carla;

She wanted her boyfriend to propose, so he did – she was happy for 2 days.
She wanted to renovate her house, so she did – she was happy for 1 day.
She wanted to go on holiday to New Zealand, so she did – she was happy for 2 weeks.
She wanted a new job, so she got one – she was happy for 5 minutes.
She wanted to get married, so she did – she was happy for a few days.
She wanted to get pregnant, so she did – she was happy for 1 week.
She wanted her baby to be born healthy, so he was – she was happy for a few days.

Carla got everything she wanted over a 3 year period. Every goal was attained and kudos to her. Yet she is also one of the unhappiest people I have ever known. She has no hobbies or interests, no spiritual beliefs or relaxation practices. She expects her happiness to come from being a wife, an employee, a friend, a mother. She is totally dependent on circumstances and people when it comes to her happiness. If Carla knew how to cultivate joy, her life would be so much sweeter in between attaining each of her goals.

Happiness is externally orientated, it is so fleeting and dependant on circumstances. It’s a temporary response to getting our desires met. Or, there is a certain kind of happiness that occurs when some potential problem is averted. As soon as you achieve your goal and feel happy the next desire starts bubbling up to the surface. Then your happiness is held hostage again until the new desire is fulfilled. Round and around it goes.

Joy on the other hand, is internally orientated. It’s cultivated from within and crappy circumstances or unfulfilled desires don’t have a say in the matter. Thankfully, cultivating joy is a completely individual choice. You get to determine what gives you joy. Having a spiritual practise or meditating is the purest way I’ve found to cultivate it but for you it could be surfing, hiking, or playing an instrument – the ways are endless.

I’ve come to believe we need a balance of happiness and joy, because happiness does have it’s purpose. Pursuing goals moves us forward and attaining them fuels our confidence. Whereas cultivating joy gives us inner satisfaction and a sense of empowerment. Let’s blend them together and invent a new word and see if it catches on.

Joyhap – a blend of happiness and joy.

May all beings experience joyhap!

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Photo Credit: Josh Felise via Unsplash

Lifesaver

Has anyone ever saved your life at the risk of their own?

When I was younger my boyfriend was driving me home from the dentist. We were travelling on a very busy road with 2 lanes of fast moving traffic. Boyfriend made a turn and pulled into a petrol station to fill the tank and get some groceries.

I’d just had a wisdom tooth extracted so I was doped up on pain meds and not really with it. I noticed a homeless man sitting on a bench nearby. Our eyes met, I sent him a smile but I felt sad for him, I leaned back on the headrest and closed my eyes. I wondered what his story was, how did he get that way, does he have any family? Suddenly, I had this eerie sensation of rolling backwards. Wow, these are strong meds I thought, I opened my eyes and shit … I was moving backwards! The car was gaining momentum and heading straight toward the fast moving traffic. I would be smashed to smithereens, ouch!

Boyfriend had forgotten to put the handbrake on. I tried to undo my seatbelt so I could reach the handbrake but the buckle was stuck and I was trapped. Utterly panicked, I braced myself ready for the inevitable crash. Boyfriend was really going to regret this. In my peripheral vision I saw the homeless man run past the car, I turned to look behind me to see how close I was to impact when I saw him run into the road, frantically waving his arms about at the oncoming traffic. Traffic slowed down, the car rolled out into the middle of the road, then stopped. Traffic was manoeuvring around me but I was safe, if not a little embarrassed to be at the centre of such a commotion.

The look on boyfriends face was priceless when he stepped out of the petrol station and saw all the chaos. The homeless man directing the traffic, horns honking, drivers yelling. He dumped those groceries so fast and bolted for the car – it was kind of comical, I’d never seen him run before. He jumped in the car and drove it back into the petrol station, shouting at me for not pulling on the handbrake. As he retrieved the groceries I looked around to see where my homeless man was, so I could thank him but he was mysteriously gone.

Boyfriend had to cut me out of the seat belt when we got home. Yet somehow he still thought I was to blame for what happened. I suspect he was more shook up about the car than me. Boyfriend soon got dumped.

Thank you my homeless hero, I hope life ended up being kind to you.

 

May all beings have a place to call home!

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Photo Credit: Bethany Legg via Unsplash

 

Drowning in a sea of complaints

There is a time and a place for complaining. Sometimes when we complain to a friend they may have just the right advice to help us out of a jam. At other times complaining can effect change in an organisation. It’s when it becomes habitual that it becomes a problem.

Some years ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague called Jenny and when I finished talking she gave me the most exasperated look, rolled her eyes and told me that I was a whiner and should stop complaining. She got up and walked away. I was so shocked and hurt, I felt angry and humiliated. I thought she was a total bitch!

A few years later I was having a conversation with a friend when all of a sudden this memory popped into my mind. I realised that I had just been complaining. I asked my friend if she thought I complained too much and her response went something like this; “um …. no, not really … well maybe sometimes.” I smiled at her reluctance to hurt my feelings but her response got me thinking.

I started paying attention to my inner thoughts and I had to admit what Jenny said was true, I did complain a lot. At this point I still felt justified in my complaints but I also started to notice in my circle of friends and colleagues who complained and who didn’t. I realised that I preferred the company of the non-complainers. So I had a new mission – stop complaining. Easier said than done, it’s so unconscious.

It’s taken me many years to overcome this habit. There was no magic technique, I worked on it bit by bit, year by year. As often as I could, when I noticed my mind complaining I looked for a way to change my perspective. Over time I complained less and less. But it didn’t go away completely, the urge to complain is still there, especially when I’m stressed but I rarely fall for it anymore. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel, so I don’t do it.

So I just want to say, thank you Jenny (wherever you are) for having the courage to confront me, no-one else ever did. Even though it didn’t feel like it at the time you did me a huge favour. I may never have realised this for myself if you hadn’t brought it to my attention.

May all beings be appreciated!

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Photo Credit: Ryan Moreno via Unsplash