Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Photograph

Photograph by http://www.frasersfotos.com

There are several photographs around my desk and one I particularly enjoy looking at was taken many years ago of two ladies I greatly admired, namely my maternal grandmother and the other my great aunt Alice. Both ladies were wonderful ladies in their own right.

My grandmother was a very practical down to earth lady who with my grandfather raised a family of seven children. She had a very strong work ethic and always ensured that we (as grand children) worked hard and ‘kept our feet on the ground’. Like my grandfather, she was kind and generous and was a wonderful grandparent. She had a great attitude to life and had a great sense of humour. She loved Ireland, the Irish language and occasionally would reprimand us in a good hearted way on our efforts at speaking her native dialect, which she maintained when she moved to The North from the Gaeltacht speaking area of her youth.

My great aunt Alice was a lady who travelled far and wide and spent much time in New Zealand, long before the days of cheap air fares and carbon footprints. Although I hasten to add that she was always a great lover of the wonders of nature. Her trips and encounters in New Zealand always made for wonderful stories when my brother and I (as children) used to stay at her place on our summer holidays.

Both ladies were a great influence on me as I grew up … I wonder if they knew that? Who influenced you as you grew up? And who are you influencing today, knowingly or unknowingly?

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A Diary

photograph by http://www.frasersfotos.com/

When I sat down to write about my second subject – ‘A Diary’, it set me thinking about the theme of time itself. How do we use our time? How much of our time do we waste? What do we do with it? Why do we often say ’If only I had time to do this …time to do that ...’ This year we have 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months…like most years except when there is Leap Year. If we have 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year that gives us 8760 hours this year!

Already I have used up nearly 6 months of time … seems like only yesterday I was writing down New Year Resolutions. Just opened my diary and checked my progress. I’ve taken to calling my resolutions my goals for 2009 in the hope that my achievements will be more effective than last year’s attempt! I’ve written five goals for this year and achieved two to date. Not bad. The other three are ‘work in progress’ and I have got almost 6 months left to complete the challenge .

We all have the same amount of time in a day; I guess it’s what we do with it that makes the difference. I thought I’d leave you with a few timely thoughts from Arnold Bennett.

You Wake Up in the Morning
Arnold Bennett

You wake up in the morning, and lo! Your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the magic tissue of the universe of your life. No-one can take it from you. No-one receives either more or less than you receive. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt. You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow. It is kept for you.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Yellow Rose

Reminiscent of a special person.
Happy days
Fun and laughter,
Daft songs and poetry,
Creativity gone mad.
A tomorrow
From yesterday’s bud
Unfoldings of beauty and grace.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Jump starting a blog

Sometimes it’s a hard to get back into writing when the work-life balance has become unbalanced and out of sync … I’ve been busy with lots of work and little play recently which means that I’ve been rather remiss on my blog. But the good news is I’m back again testing out a new strategy to write several pieces at once and then feed them through the ‘blogging machine’ during the course of the next few days. Sometimes it’s hard to start when there has been a little lapse so I thought I’d check out one or two of my favourite blogs for a little inspiration. I do enjoy reading Fiona Robyn’s blog http://www.plantingwords.com/ and I’m sure she won’t mind if you stop by too.

I’m going to play a little game which is about writing as much as you can in 10 minutes on a given subject. So that I can ‘bank’ some writing, I’m going to choose three different subjects or topics and see what unfolds, if anything. As I’m sitting here at my desk, I am going to choose three things which are on and around my desk at this point in time.
1. a yellow rose
2. a diary
3. a photograph

You are welcome to join me in this little exercise and I would love to know how it goes. Has it tapped into your creativity? Here we go timers at the ready …

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Knock knock - who's there?

When an invitation to speak on local community radio knocked at my door this week, I saw it as a chance to step up and step out of my comfort zone. Now, when my internal chatterbox (that little voice within) got hold of the invite, it danced up and down and shouted , ‘Oh you’ve never done that before … what if it all goes wrong …what if you dry up and freeze on air …what if …?’. However, within seconds the waves of positivity swept in and exclaimed, ‘that’s great …what a wonderful opportunity to do something new … try something different … go for it, have a go … what would that be like? …?. And so it was that a great internal battle waged, well for all of five minutes and I agreed to give it a go. I thought it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity. Besides the topic for discussion was an area close to my heart – personal development. It seemed quite appropriate.

Often life provides many opportunities for us to work on our own personal development, without the need to go off and spend lots time and money on expensive training courses. Don’t get me wrong, they do have their place, however every now and again a little opportunity arises for us to try out something new and different. For me, doing the radio interview live was an opportunity to step up and out of my comfort zone.

And what was that like? Before I went to the studio, I imagined the afternoon as a fun session, picturing myself enjoying the session with the other interviewees and Christina, the presenter. It was interesting to note that for each of us ‘doing radio’ this was a new and novel experience. After the initial apprehension and getting to know each other, we all settled in and had a great time. We had lots of fun learning together.

The outcome - I have now tried something new, stepped out of my comfort zone again and met new colleagues with whom I hope to meet up with in the forthcoming weeks. So when opportunity knocks – open the door wide!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Fear gremlins - beware!

Today I started work with a student; she’s in that ‘transitional space’, that is, between school and college. I like the sound of the word ‘transition’. For me, there is a suggestion of movement, change, something exciting about to happen. I look upon it as a new journey or path to explore. I enjoy the sense of newness and the curiosity factor which encourages questions like; ‘I wonder what that will be like, who will be there, what I will learn?’ Perhaps that’s the traveller in me who likes to explore and visit new places. On the other hand, there’s also an element of concern and sometimes even fear associated with a new job, task or event. During the discussion with my student I could sense a strong fear of doing things and failing. ‘That would be terrible and so embarrassing!’ She smiled nervously.

I suggested that perhaps we look a little more closely at those ‘fear gremlins’ and devise a cunning plan to tackle and overcome them. We agreed to do that over the next few weeks.

What is it about the fear of failure that stops us in our tracks as students and fully fledged adults? What would happen if we gave ‘fear’ a wide berth or discontinued it from our thought processes?

What if …?

I’m currently re-reading Susan Jeffers book, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. Susan provides some great tips on overcoming the ‘fear gremlins’ and her book is well worth a read.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A timeless gift

The best gifts we are given aren’t always the ones packed in big boxes, bought at an exclusive store or those which make a credit card crunch!
Very often they are the gifts given with love from people we know who give from the heart. Generosity is what really wraps a perfect gift, although I do enjoy creating a beautiful wrap for even the smallest gift. And have you noticed how often it is the smallest gift that is the most meaningful one… like a pebble from a beautiful beach … a buttercup from a lovely walk …a photograph of family and friends at a special occasion …a new friendship …sometimes simply time itself. I believe that time is a beautiful and welcoming gift to give and receive; especially in today’s fast paced lifestyle. As I write today, I consider the gifts of time given to me over the years and how much of a difference that made to me and the person I am today. I am enjoying the experience of taking time to reflect and listen to what is going on for me. I also find that by doing so, time encourages and develops my creativity…. and I like that very much

What has a gift of time given you recently?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Laughter lines and friendship

‘True friends are a sure refuge’. Aristotle

This weekend I caught up with three really good friends from my college days. We try to do this once a year and have been doing so now for several years, ever since we tracked down the missing house-mate via the internet! It’s usually a very ‘girlie weekend’ where we simply relinquish the domestic chores (responsibly of course!), lose track of time, chill out, eat well, put the world to rights over a glass of wine and laugh lots! For me, there’s something about true friendship that grows richer and richer as the years move on and the laughter lines become more defined …

Monday, 1 June 2009

Sometimes I just sit and think

Sometimes I just sit and think and sometimes I just sit ...

Today is one of those days when I’m presently doing just that - ‘just sitting’! It’s actually quite a novel experience for me because so often I’m busy being busy, sometimes good busy, sometimes bad busy, sometimes just simply being busy. A picture of a hamster in a wheel comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy being busy, having work to do, people to see, investigating new projects, catching up with friends. However, what I do find interesting is what I have noticed and observed by ‘just sitting’ every now and again - the quietness of the day, the beautiful pattern made by a tree shredding it’s yellow blossom, the carefree butterfly flitting from flower to flower in the garden, the intricate artwork of a spider’s web glistening with dew in the early morning …

What do you notice when you 'just sit'?