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 ~🌹❤️
The journey to figure out who we’re meant to be, is messy. So are; ~ the colourful drippings from an artists brush, until a masterpiece is born. ~ run-on sentences and misspelt words, until a best selling novel emerges. ~ stacks of bricks and mortar, until they’re assembled to build a home. ~ musical notes that don’t make sense until a musician strings them together to create a melody. ~ a seedling stuck in the dirt, until it grows into a rose.
Everything is messy, until it becomes what its meant to be. Including all of us.
We don’t stop painting, writing, building, playing, fixing, or planting because it’s messy, we keep going until we recognize what we’ve created.
Each of us is a messy collection of experiences, emotions, missteps, wrong turns, hopes, dreams, heartbreaks and hooray’s tossed together to create a life.
And, although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, where we’re heading, or why certain people come in and out of our lives, our individual paths are constantly moving us towards who we’re meant to be.
What starts out messy, usually ends up being something beautiful. So hang in there, things are going to get messy, and messy ain’t bad.
After 92 years of earthly life, Bud Hart was on the train to heaven, when he met Sunny an energetic little soul who after nine short years of earthly life, was also on the train.
“Wasn’t that the most exciting earthly adventure ever,” she asked, him.
“No, it was too hard. I hope they don’t send me back. They should give us a manual on how to be human.” he stated in a rather cold tone.
“Why would you need a manual?” she asked.
“To figure it all out,” he said.
She giggled. “But you don’t have to figure anything out. You were given everything you needed for this journey.”
“I most certainly was not!” He commanded.
She giggled again. “You silly soul. Everything you needed for your earthly journey was neatly tucked inside your heart. All you had to do was open it.
“How would I know that!”
“You feel it,” Sunny still giggling, replied.
She continued, “Sometimes pain, grief, anger, disappointment or stubbornness, are sitting on the heart making it heavy and hard to open. When we let those toxic emotions go, then, the heart will open. When it does, kindness, compassion, gratitude, love AND self-love flow effortlessly to us and from us and our earthly life can be enjoyed.”
“What if you can’t open your heart, what then smarty pants? Bud asked.
“If the weight is too much to bear alone, then others are sent to help you.”
Bud was taken aback by this little souls wisdom. He knew she was right. He had let years of anger, regret, resentment, pain, disappointment and ego centred thinking, weight him down, blocking his heart energy.
“How come you’re so wise, and why did your journey end at such a tender age.”
“I had the best life. My journey was exactly as long as it was supposed to be. During my nine years all I knew was kindness, compassion, gratitude, selflessness, and love. I let those things enter my heart and drown out all the pain.
My family, friends, health-care workers and even strangers, made my human experience extraordinary, they opened my heart for me. And, their hearts were opened at the same time.
Bud was moved by what she said and realized and regretted, how much time he had wasted.
Just then the train pulled into heavens station.
Some souls remained on the train as they were going back to complete their learning. Bud rose to exit. “Are you getting off the train? he asked Sunny. “No I’m going back,” she replied. “How come? “To watch over you.”
Beautiful friend, stop worrying. Trust that what you’re going through, will lead to something greater.
Our pain does not define us, it helps us grow. Don’t let the heartache, physical pain, disappointment, sorrow or grief, you might be feeling today, be your story. It’s only one page of a larger, more exciting adventure.
Scars are meant to leave us stronger. They are the badges we wear reminding us to keep moving forward, taking the lessons from our pain with us.
What hurt you yesterday, has already begun to heal today.
There are times we need to let go of material things as they create clutter, cause us stress and block us from moving forward.
Likewise, there are times we have to let go of people, as they also block our growth, cause us stress and hold us back.
During the course of our lives we’re in a constant state of growing out of one thing as we grow into another.
Our beliefs, feelings, plans, habits, clothing, homes, jobs and even friendships, can often feel like they no longer fit. If this sounds like you, then you’re doing what we’re all supposed to. Your growing.
As we age, have new experiences, acquire new wisdom and become exposed to new thinking and ideas, we outgrow parts of ourselves that no longer fit or serve us, we also outgrow the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of some people. It’s okay.
This growth doesn’t mean you or they are bad people, it merely implies you’ve outgrown the things you once had in common and, you might now be blocking each other’s paths towards further growth.
I’m not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 or 50. I’m not supposed to be. I’ve grown, so have you. So it makes sense that we might grow away from each other.
How do we know if we’re outgrowing certain people? Most of us feel it.
Conversations begin to feel awkward or forced, you might bicker more often over trivial things, you may no longer feel emotionally or intelligently connected or feel bored or disengaged when you do spend time together. The relationship might feel tight or constrained like those jeans you outgrew two decades ago but hang on to “just in case.”
When we do realize its time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, business partner, therapist, hairdresser or another person; we don’t have to be mean spirited or cast blame. Recognizing you no longer serve a higher purpose in each other’s lives is enough. Thank these souls for the shared memories, the lessons and their role in shaping who you’re becoming. Then, wish them well and move along.
Life can sometimes feel like meeting a stranger on an airplane. You spend several hours sitting next to one another. You enjoy each other’s company. You engage in interesting conversations, have a few laughs, you might share the arm rest, offer them half of your kit-kat or watch a movie together. You may even fall asleep on their shoulder and drool.
Then, when the plane lands you say good bye, head to different terminals, get on your respective connecting flight and move forward. It was a beautiful encounter, but your time together is over. Now you’re on different flights, traveling different paths.
We get this one big beautiful life. If we’re doing “it” right we’ll have many beautiful encounters, and, we’ll constantly be growing and outgrowing things, even each other.
Its all good, its normal, it’s life.
Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️
“Growing apart, doesn’t change the fact that for along time, we grew side-by-side, our roots will always be tangled, and for that I’m grateful.”
Is social media ruining our personal and romantic relationships?
Are we forgetting how to communicate?
Are adults spending too much time scrolling through pics of their ex, the cute girl or guy from the office or their latest obsession, when they should be spending time building and growing the important relationships in their lives?
Apparently, we are.
One third of all divorce cases since 2016 in the UK, cite “social media” in the proceedings as a cause for disharmony in the relationship. Another survey suggests one third of all relationship break ups “worldwide” are the results of social media behaviour and engagement. 😮
But let’s be clear, it’s not necessarily the fault of social media, it’s the temptation it breeds to be stealth, sneaky, and disengage from real relationships and engage in unfettered behaviour that’s causing the problem.
The ease in which people can scroll and get away with flirting, sexting, viewing, stalking and micro-cheating make it easy to engage online.
This environment also makes it easy for disinformation and conspiracy theory’s to be spread and wreak havoc on our family’s, and our personal and romantic relationships. I’ll write more about that on another day.
Good communication is essential to good relationships. Our obsession with social media has destroyed communications between partners, parents and their children and caused breakups between friends.
A 2015 poll of adults found that 89 per cent admitted they took out a phone to view social media during their last social gathering. 82 per cent say the conversation they we’re having, deteriorated after they did. 71 percent also admitted to using social media in ways they knew their partner wouldn’t like, e.g stalking an ex, flirting, staying connected to a crush or viewing pics of a cutie from work.
A number of studies also point to a decline in our mental health from over exposer to social media.
Social networking sites are rampant with opportunities for self-promotion and ego-boosting. The number of narcissists feeding on likes, new followers, complementary comments and love emoji‘s from those willing to offer them up to feed their own desires and fantasies, is staggering.
Both the narcissist and those following them (and enabling them) are contributing partially to the downfall of real life communications and relationships.
A study led by mental health research Julia Brailovskaia, showed that narcissism is associated with high levels of Facebook and Instagram use. Her study also shows, the need for popularity and ego boosting can be dangerously addictive.
Of course social media is not all bad. It allows us to stay connected, reconnect and reach out. However, when it takes us away from our primary relationships, makes us mentally unwell, impacts our real world communications, erodes trust in our romantic relationships or is being used to spread misleading information or cause harm, then maybe it’s time for a break.
There is so much information on this topic, so, I’ve posted a few links below which relate to the studies and information I’ve referenced above for those who are interested in this topic.
So, on this happy day-after-Valentine’s-post, I think it’s time for me to take a break, turn off my social media platforms for a bit, and spend some time in the real world.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, real world, rest of the week.