It’s not you. It’s the world around you.

We’re not meant or designed to live and work in noisy, densely populated, concrete communities, consuming artificial foods and breathing air filled with pollutants.

We’re design to live in colourful, wide open spaces, inhaling fresh air, surrounded by trees, flora, fauna, rivers, lakes, oceans and amazing vistas.

Our bodies were built to be active, to roam, explore and discover. Our minds are naturally curious. We’re meant to question, wonder and uncover the truth about who we are, not be criticized or shamed for it. We’re not meant to be the same. Our differences should excite us, not provoke us into violence.

As children, we’re meant to run wild, to learn by “doing” not learn by being caged up all day. We’re meant to fall down, get hurt, heal, taste a bit of mud, so our bodies learn how to fight disease, then dust ourselves off and run free again. We’re here to use our minds to create and inspire one another.

It’s so simple, yet, the programming pumped into us from the day we’re born, points us away from our authentic selves. Then, for the rest of our lives, we’re on a quest back to find out whom we’re meant to be and what we’re here to do.

We’ve created a world not built for our authentic selves, but built to manage, control and organize our human population.

Our little spirits are assaulted every day, with words, instructions, commands, rules and fear based decrees contrary to our deepest inner “knowing” but, we go along with it, because it’s what we’ve been trained to do. It’s no wonder there’s a global mental health crisis😔.

Then one day you break free from it all and run so far away you can finally look back and see the brokenness, not in you, but in the world, and it’s in this moment you begin the journey back to yourself.

Your tired, beautiful, spirit is trying to cope in an upside down world. Give yourself a pat on the back and a huge hug for making it this far. You really are quite amazing!❤️

Set yourself free, if only for a little while and allow your spirit to run wild and unencumbered. Disconnect, unplug and breath. Seek out what’s beautiful and feast upon it. You’ve earned it.

Really, its not you.

It’s the world around you❤️

Toni O’K ~🌹❤️

Be still. Listen with your eyes and your heart.

Be silent and listen,

The human mind has keen observational ability. However, our busy, modern lives are filled with chaotic, dizzy, conflicting thoughts, ideas, desires, opinions, images and demands; making it almost impossible to focus on just one thing and observe it deeply, so, most often we don’t.

The majority of us don’t listen to understand. We listen to react. Or, we listen to find the space to jump in and prove we’re right. I’ve found this to be the case in both my personal and professional relationships (and yes, I’ve played my dysfunctional part in both 😊)

It’s when we listen with our eyes and our hearts wide open that we observe the emotions, reactions, over-reactions (even our own), the body language and non-verbal cues, along with words and tone of voice, that we’re able to understand the state of a fellow human being and more importantly our own state and intentions.

When I was in a concert band years ago, I recall our conductor bringing stillness to the band before every performance or competition. One at a time, each musician tuned up, and the others were silent. Then, the conductor would tune us by section, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, etc until we were “in tune” with each other. Then, our collective focus became the piece we were performing. We each had to thoughtfully listen and observe the conductor and the rest of the musicians to determine when it was time to play our part. We didn’t listen to react, we listened to create harmony.

When I was involved in community theater, before each production, the cast and crew would take a moment to rally and focus in on the performance ahead of us and the audience we were performing to. During a performance we had to listen, watch for our entry points and work together to guide each other through the performance, sometimes improvising when lines were forgotten or stage cues missed.

Many athletic teams do something similar before a game. They rally, get focused and tune in to their team members. During play, they have to be keen observers of what’s going on around them. They must listen with their eyes.

I know some of my healthcare colleagues do the same thing before they begin a surgery. They stop, become still and assemble their collective focus on the needs of the patient. During the procedure they must observe, listen and cooperate as a team.

As a community of 7.3 billion people, we can no longer pretend we are on different teams. We have to live, listen and play as if we are a part of the same symphony, the same stage production, the same athletic or surgical team.

We don’t have to look the same, sound the same, act the same, or BE the same. In fact, it’s our differences that create the harmony, the success, the wins, the applause, and our mutual respect and compassion for one another.

When we’re busy making noise, trying to be heard, being angry or offended or trying to be right, we’re not learning or growing or getting closer to solutions. When we’re loud, we can’t hear the exhausted whispers of truth flowing from each other’s tired souls, desperately trying to play our parts and create the harmony we all seek.

The most powerful messages are received when we’re silent and listen with our eyes and, our hearts wide open.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

Quiet Spaces

A tranquil pathway and quiet shoreline stretching towards infinite beauty, lead me to a peaceful retreat, a hidden refuge of cozy spaces and burrows nestled between the sand, the sky, the ocean and fallen logs.

Unencumbered by humanity, I see the world as it should be. Peaceful.
I’m the only intruder, but I’m not alone.

Burrows along the trail to the beach are home to dozens of rabbits hopping between logs, rose-hip and hawthorn shrubs growing along the edge of the shoreline trail.

I move slowly, so I don’t disturb a mother seal and her pup resting in the tall seagrass near the water.

Eagles circling above, the calls of seagulls, sandpipers and other birds, echo across the sky and add to the magic of this place and fill me with light.

I find my spot and rest on the sand with my back supported against a well weathered log.
With my little companion Bo’ nestled in my lap, I close my eyes, release all worries, surrender to this space, and melt into a state of stillness.
Then, I listen.

It’s in silence and stillness that wisdom is received and peace is born. It’s in this state that the answers come. They always do.

I’m grateful for these quiet spaces and the peace, serenity, wisdom and healing they bring.

If you feel overwhelmed, challenged to meet the struggles in your life, or just exhausted from the noise in your head. Stop everything, step outside and find your quiet space.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

You and your Woo-Woo😁

I recently had a conversation with a friend that went something like this;

Friend; “Do you ever worry that the woo-woo stuff you post might put people off?”

Me; (*laughing) “Whats woo-woo stuff ?”
(I knew what she meant, but wanted to hear her say it😊)

Friend; “You know, all that hippie-dippy, peace, love and soul speak stuff you post.”

Me; “Why would I worry?”

Friend; I don’t know, some people might find it weird.

Me; “Well then they’re not my people.”
—————————————————-
What struck me during this conversation was how easily society has accepted what is artificial and manufactured. Yet, what’s authentic and “REAL” is often called weird, kooky or “woo-woo”.

There are a few definitions of “woo-woo”.
I like to think of it as tapping into ones deepest wisdom in the expression of our authentic and creative self.

For some of us, we reach a certain age where the energy it takes to be anything but authentic is exhausting and violates who we were meant to be. And so, we set our woo-woo free. (Yes, I chuckle like a 12 year old, each time I type “woo-woo”)

The world needs your woo-woo
I bet your woo-woo is beautiful!😉
Embrace “the Woo” in you 😁.
If people can’t accept you and your Woo as you are, they’re not your people.

So get out there and get your beautiful, hippie, dippy, woo-woo on and have a fabulous weekend ☮️.

Love Toni ~🌹❤️

You are more than your worries,

You are so much more
than your worries
and your fears.

You are the music you compose, the poetry you write, the art you create, the wisdom you share, the songs you sing, the garden you grow and the magic you put into the world.

You are your laughter, your caring spirit and, your ability to heal, to teach, to inspire, to be kind and to love.

Worry and fear will never bring you comfort or joy. Sharing your gifts will.

Toni O’K ~🌹❤️

Our actions flow to where our minds go.

When our minds dwell in darkness and focus on negativity and despair, we find negativity and despair.

When our minds are focused on light, positivity and love, we find light, positivity and love.

When we choose to see what’s good in people and the world, that’s what we’ll see. Likewise, if we choose to see the evil and brokenness in people and the world, that’s what we’ll see.

My little life journey has taught me that my perspective directly impacts my sense of well-being and joy and, my sense of sorrow and despair.

So, I choose to set my perspective towards the light. There are times life challenges me and I fall. I dust myself off, reset my perspective towards optimism, positivity and joy and, I heal.

Be mindful of where you set your perspective, because the mind always finds what its looking for.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Today, I will love you as you are.

“Today, I will love you as you are.
Tomorrow, I will do the same.”
What if we made this pledge to each other every single day?

What if we decided to stop judging each other based on race, gender, looks, wealth, lifestyle, belief system and trusted that each of us is on the path designed specifically for our individual soul?

What if we were kind, embraced our differences and lifted each other up when we witnessed one another struggling, rather than strike each other down?

What if we acted from a place of love, rather than a place of fear?

What if…we stopped making it so hard for each other?

Today, I will love you as you are.
Tomorrow, I will do the same.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

Oh what a mess we’ve made.

We’ve grown into a species of 7 billion people living on one small planet, bumping into each other (literally), sharing the air we breathe, sharing public spaces, leaving our DNA, germs and garbage everywhere.

We are the messiest, most destructive species on earth. We dump our garbage and effluent into the land and oceans providing our food, pump tons of toxins into the air, and then, we wonder why we’re all getting sick and how we got into this pandemic situation.

Our desire to travel globally, consume and purchase goods and services from around the world, and our desires to expand our business, recreational and investment interests into the global marketplace, have changed the way people, products, AND disease travel.

Blaming other countries, other races, even other animals, for this current pandemic is misplaced. With a few exceptions, we all own this mess.

I know I’m part of the problem. I’m part of a generation that consumes too much. I travel and I want to travel again. So, I will have to make decisions that keep myself and those I come into contact with, safe. I don’t see this as an infringement of my rights, I see this as a responsibility that comes with my right to live my life a certain way.

Unless we’re all prepared to stay in our boxes, stop traveling, start growing our own food, start buying local etc., another pandemic is in our future. Not because any one person is going to do one thing wrong, but because 7 billion people move around one little blue planet spreading germs, garbage and disease. 7 billion people who as a species, have not learned how to coexist with other life on earth.

Oh what a mess we’ve made.
If we spent as much time owning our responsibilities to care for the planet and each other, as we do declaring “our rights” hmm, we might stand a chance.

Until we learn how to treat the planet and each other in ways that are gentle, respectful, loving and kind, we will continue down our garbage laden road, leaving a wake of destruction that ends with our extinction.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Curious minds have more fun

I’ve always been curious. Asking too many questions in school and during business meetings, looking things up, turning over too many stones and exploring abandoned roads and pathways.

At one point I came to believe this was a negative trait because people were always telling me to “shut up” or to stop asking so many questions.

I know now that curiosity is a gift we’re all born with. It’s is an extension of our internal wisdom. Curiosity leads to new discoveries, new advances in technology, medicine and science.

Curiosity exercises all of our senses, awakens our minds and provides the neurons in our brains an excellent workout. Curiosity expands the imagination and takes us to places beyond the realm of every day doldrums. I feel “lit” and alive when acting on my curiosity.

Curiosity did not kill the cat, ignorance killed the cat. The more we know and the more we explore and imagine, the better off we all are.

When we ask questions we understand each other better, we begin to appreciate different points of view, we’re more peaceful, we cooperate and we’re kinder to one another.

Don’t be afraid to water your inquisitive nature and exercise your curiosity muscle. And, encourage the young people in your life to do the same.

We’ve got big challenges across this little blue plant of ours. It’s those active, creative, curious minds who are questioning, seeking and discovering, that will lead us to the solutions we need to heal the world.

And besides, curious minds have more fun. It’s your curious nature that will lead you towards new adventures, new people, new vistas, and yes maybe a bit of trouble, but that in itself is an adventure.

Wishing you a curious kind of day😊🤗

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Fixating on what you want, might cost you what you need.

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.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️