Imagine you’re on a day hike in the forest, it’s getting dark and you wander off the path.
Your lost. You don’t know which way to go. You don’t have provisions to get through the night, you’re feeling stressed, hopeless, anxious and mad at yourself for not being better prepared.
Then, as you’re stumbling in the dark, exhausted and disoriented, you see a light in the darkness. A spark of hope surges within you and you make your way towards the light.
Your anxiousness turns to excitement. Your hopelessness turns to optimism. All because you saw a small comforting glow in the distance.
You’re overcome with joy when you come upon another hiker sitting next to a cozy fire. This person is a stranger, yet, in this moment they’re the most important person in your life.
They offer you shelter, warmth, food and water. You graciously accept. You’re relieved and you feel safe.
In the morning this stranger guides you out of the forest to safety. You hug, shed a tear and say goodbye. Your grateful, humbled and alive. ~~~~~~~ We all stumble. At times, we feel lost, alone, anxious, stressed or hopeless. Pride or self doubt might stop us from seeking help.
You sweet soul, when you’re lost, do what you’d do in the forest, look for the ones with the light and let them guide you. Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️
Rainy Monday mornings, the perfect opportunity for rambling reflections☔️.
Outside, dull gray clouds drop rain from the sky, creating small pools of water on my patio. I’m snuggled inside, coffee in one hand, pen in the other and a fire warming my toes. My puppy Bo’ is also snuggled up, enjoying the calm a morning like this brings.
An array of birds are taking shelter in the hedge outside my window, popping out every so often to pluck a worm from the ground and take it back to the nest.
The wind and the chill provide the perfect opportunity to sink into a cozy ponder of thought. My first thought being; I am so blessed and grateful for this life.
The day also provides the opportunity to ask; “What did I learn or observed last week that will help me this week?” Hmm so many thoughts come to mind.
I observed a war that makes no sense. Young men, woman, fathers and mothers, fighting and dying for the deranged ego of a narcissistic leader. What if they all just put down their weapons and walked away, walked back to their homes and families? War is pointless. No one person should ever hold so much power over so many. War teaches us how fragile our lives, our way of life and our planet is. So this week I will live with a more grateful and compassionate heart.
Last week, I observed thousands, maybe millions of people around the world unite to support those in need and those who are hurting. These acts of humanity have reminded me that the human spirit has a huge capacity to care, to help and to love. We’re so much better when we work together. So, I will join others, when I can, to make our world a better place.
I observed the selfish and reckless behaviour of a few, bent on getting their way irregardless of the impact their actions had on others, cause disruption and chaos. Witnessing this type of behaviour reminds me that our actions, even when merely observed, can have a far reaching impact. Someone is always watching, observing and learning, including our children. Our actions can create positive ripples or waves of destruction, the choice is ours.
I observed how little it takes to make myself happy. A few stones collected from the seashore, a paint brush and my imagination, can clear my mind and keep me busy for hours. We don’t always need to have great expectations of ourselves. The best things are often simply things and simple moments, and the calm and contentment these moments bring.
As you start out this new week, I hope you reflect on what learning you will take with you, what type of ripple you create and what behaviours or expectations you will leave behind. Whatever you decide, I hope it brings you (and perhaps others) calm, contentment and peace ☮️. Love Toni ~ 🌹❤️
As I get older, the frequency in which I receive news that a friend, acquaintance, colleague, neighbour or family member has passed away, increases.
When we, or someone we know, loses a loved one, the realization that our time here is temporary comes sharply into focus.
Each loss moves us to scour the cracks that separate our days, making sure we didn’t miss an opportunity to say; “I love you”, “I miss you”, “I’m sorry.” “Can I help.”
We look back on that last conversation and our last moments together and replay what we wish we had said or done.
Then, we “what if” ourselves, asking questions like; “What if I had been there?” “What if I hadn’t been so angry during our last conversation?” “What if I had reached out?” “What if we had spent more time together?” …….would things have turned out differently?
We waste so much time and energy, being “busy”, angry, negative, stubborn, dismissive, judgmental, stuck or offended.
“What If” we set our egos aside and let kindness, compassion, gratitude and love be our guides? Then perhaps when it’s time to say goodbye, we will not lament, but celebrate and give thanks for the pleasure of sharing time with the ones we loved and lost.
It’s the impermanence of life that should make every waking breath a cherished event. We should savour every beautiful, simple, pleasure and every ordinary moment shared with those we love. Every child’s laugh and every story retold by our elders for the umpteenth time, should fill us with warmth and delight.
Let’s spend more time holding the ones we love as we marvel at the explosion of colour created as the sun rises and sets. Let our hearts be moved by the power in every stormy sky or the magic in each twinkling star and rainbow above.
Lets hold each other in reverence every day for being the amazing, unique, miracles we all are.
Let’s not wait until we die, to love, appreciate and honour each other. Let’s do it while we’re still here.
We learn more during life’s painful moments and challenges, than we learn in our moments of glory.
Each stabbing ache, each crushing disappointment, each heartbreak, every loss or painful fall from grace, allows us an opportunity to grow and become stronger.
Whether it’s emotional or physical; pain forces us to slow down, rest and take the time we need to heal.
Getting knocked down isn’t always a bad thing. Pain can leave us humbled, wiser and more patient. It allows us to lower our veil, be vulnerable, more tolerant and compassionate towards the pain we see or even cause, in others.
Sometimes pain itself is the cure for the things in life that hurt us; as it slows us down long enough to evaluate what and who is important.
When pain knocks on your door, let it in, sit with it. Let it show you what it wants you to see, to learn or to grow into.
Pain always, ALWAYS, brings with it opportunities for transformation. Opportunities to wrap yourself in your cocoon, and when you’re ready, to emerge with greater clarity about who you are, what’s important, why you’re here and how you want to live, love, play and BE.
Pain can be a beautiful teacher. Don’t waste your pain on “the pain” use this opportunity as a stepping stone to chart the next chapter of your journey.
Your pain will hurt you, it will also help, heal and lead you.
My life looks nothing like I thought it would when I started making plans and cultivating my big dreams decades ago. How could it?
When we’re young, there’s no way to fully anticipate the changes we will go and grow through. Changes in the world, changes in our priorities, our attitudes and beliefs, or, how our life experiences and learning will shape us.
I shouldn’t be the person my 20-year-old self thought I would become. There is no way 20-year-old me could comprehend the needs and priorities of 60-year-old me, especially when every decade I seem to emerge as something different than I was.
Yet, I always seem to land where I need to be. Over the years, I’ve learned to surrender control over what I thought I wanted, to make space for what I needed when it arrived, to remain focused on outcomes such as good health, happiness, wisdom, wealth, and love, and not get tangled up in which path I should take towards these things, but instead take the path that presents itself.
When we fixate on what we think we want or where we should be, we might fail to see what we need when it shows up.
Continue to cultivate your big dreams, recognizing the route to those dreams, may NOT be down the roads you expected.
We all get to where we’re supposed to be. How we get there, is not as important as how we live, learn and grow along the way.
Life became easier when I surrendered my own tenacity and began to live with an open heart and an open mind.
There are things I’ve discovered and learned along the way, which I might never have unearthed if I had remained locked in my own stubbornness.
Our struggles often result from our inability to see the possibilities beyond our own thinking and the doctrines imposed on us.
Living with an open heart and mind means considering alternatives, actively listening to opinions different from our own, being kind before jumping to judgment and being aware of signs along the way pointing you in new directions.
Open minds and open hearts, have created more music, magic, poetry, peace, love and light in the world, then closed minds and cold hearts.
I woke this morning with a warm puppy snuggled into the nape of my neck. This tiny bundle of caramel coloured fur always makes me smile. As I scratched his belly, I heard the click of my coffee maker come on and smiled again, proud I had remembered to set the timer.
I wandered to the kitchen, poured a cup, turned on the fireplace, settle into my favourite chair with puppy in my lap, took that first bless’ed sip, and listened to the silence fall around me.
Most mornings start this way, calm, peaceful and reflective.
There was a time when my life was busy and noisy. I didn’t always appreciate the colours of the day, or have the time to slowly sip my coffee and gaze out the window.
Decades were spent on the move, hustling my boys to and from day-care, school, sports, and other activities. Bouncing between work, community services and my own educational pursuits, always busy, always rushing, always something to do, somewhere to go or someone waiting for something.
The “busy stuff” is the means needed to build our lives, but, the busy stuff doesn’t define our lives. It’s the simple beautiful moments that bring us joy and give meaning to the journeys we’re on.
Moments watching a child fall asleep in your lap because that’s where they feel safe, moments making messes and allowing pumpkin guts to fall on the floors and get stuck in your hair because they’re having fun, moments spent with two little guys on a skip-out day appreciating the wonder and silence of the forest or sitting in an open field, feeling content watching birds glide on the wind.
Then, there’s the quiet morning moments, when all the busy is behind you, those two little guys are grown and now its a puppy falling a sleep in your lap.
We need a balance of busy days and days when we’re able to just “be”. Days when we don’t just count our blessings, we live them, being fully present, taking in all the magic and meaning they bring. Because these are the days we will remember, these are the moments that will warm our hearts for ALL THE DAYS of our lives.