The “L” word

I use the “L” word a lot. I tell my family, friends, even my dog, “I LOVE them.”

I love my home, my community, my morning coffee, cinnamon buns, Prosecco, chocolate, harp music, a good “who-done-it”, walks in the forest, starry nights, the sound of the ocean, crazy wild storms, songs that make me cry and spontaneous adventures ( lol- sounds like an online dating profile😁).
My point is, each of us use this one small word; “LOVE”, to define the emotion, passion and affection we have for so many things.

So why then are so many afraid to say it? Maybe it’s because we’ve made saying “I LOVE you” weird. Our socialized definition of the word is based on romantic love, when actually, LOVE goes further and so much deeper than that.

If you’re a part of my tribe and I tell you “I LOVE you.” it means; I’m grateful for the bond and history we share, the memories we’ve made and the time we’ve spent together. I appreciate the energy and wisdom you bring into my life. I’m drawn to your creativity, your soulfulness, your wit, the way you lift me up and make me feel. When I say “I LOVE you” I’m saying I’m glad you were born and I’m happy you’re a part of my life.

Now, what’s so scary about that?

Just saying the words “I LOVE you” is uplifting to the one speaking them.
Being told we’re loved is not just nice, it’s necessary. We all need to know we matter.

LOVE has the power to inspire, comfort, heal, and pull us up from the darkest of places. There are more songs, books, movies and poetry written about LOVE then any other topic. We have special days to celebrate love, we’re consumed with finding love, and without love our species would, well, die off.

In a world that always seems to be in peril, sharing our love for one another is the glue that will strengthen our bonds and allow us to better navigate the challenges, conflicts and disagreements life throws at us.

So let’s stop making it weird.
Spread the “L”word. I promise the more you give, the more you’ll get.

Have an absolutely fabulous day.
PS – I Love You

Soft Hearts

Don’t mock
or walk upon
the hearts
of those
who are
soft, gentle,
kind and
attuned to
the changing
ethos of humanity.
Be grateful
they walk
amongst us.
They are
the ones
who care
for those who
can not care
for themselves.
They see
where our world
is broken and
run to repair
the fabric of a
brittle planet
and it’s
fragile people.
These gentle hearts,
quietly and,
without expectation,
shelter us and
keep us safe.
Some see their
compassion
and empathy
and see
weakness.
But my darlings,
these are
the ones
who have the
greatest strength.
They carry
the weight of
our collective
rigidity, and
the pieces
of our
shattered world
upon their shoulders,
so others,
don’t have to.
They clear the path,
then help us walk it.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

We outgrow things, even each other.

Toni O’KEEFFE

April, 2022,

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.”

~ Ally Condie

Is it time for a social media break up?

By Toni O’KEEFFE

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.

Make the memory

If they ask you to dance, to take a walk, to play, to go for coffee or ask you for advice; make the time, make the memory.

It should never be an inconvenience to
share time with those we love.

Whether it’s your partner, parent, a sibling, your child or your best friend, the day will come when one of you is gone.

When that day arrives you’ll ache for a day, an hour, or even a glance at the one you lost, or, they will be aching for you.
Life will go on for one of you, but it will never be the same.

As you read the words above, who are the people that came to mind, the ones you would ache for if your time together came to an end? Are there wounds to heal or words to say before that day arrives?
If so, heal the wounds and say the words.
Then make the memories beautiful ones.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

Let’s not wait till we die, to love, appreciate and honour each other.

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.

Pain can be a beautiful teacher~

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.

TO’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 ~🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️