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

Born Free? What?

Individual freedom would imply you are not tied or tethered to anyone or anything. You are free to go, do, say or be whatever you want.

But, that’s not exactly the reality of the world we coexist in. We are individual human threads, interwoven across the colourful patchwork we call humanity.

None of us are completely free, nor will we ever be (well, until, you know😇).
We are connected, whether we like it or not.

When the fabric at one end of the patchwork is torn, it affects us all and there is potential for ALL OF US to unravel.

It’s to our collective benefit ~ whether there’s a war, a pandemic or natural disaster~ to rally and support the piece of the patchwork that’s damaged or suffering. There’s a shared responsibility for “the whole”, to which we all benefit and to which we all have a responsibility. Bee’s get it🐝.

We spend a lot of time espousing our individual freedoms and rights, but not a lot of time teaching children (or ourselves) about our individual responsibilities and interdependence.

Despite what the song says, we are “NOT” Born Free. We are born into a hive that is completely interdependent and reliant on social cooperation. What happens to one of us, affects all of us.


“Bee” kind to each other and this beautiful, sort-of-happy, hive that is our shared home.

Love
Toni 🐝❤️🐝

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.

We’re at our best in the beginning of our journey and at the end.

Spending time with a four year old or, a 94 year old, reminds us how wonderful it is to play, to laugh, to dream, to love, to observe butterflies and to spend time getting messy eating watermelon, planting flowers or making a campfire.

These wise older and younger souls will gladly take your hand and guide you to the forest or the seashore, as they know these places are extraordinary and make the best classrooms.

Time spent with little people and our elders affirm the fact that naps are necessary, the sun, the stars and the moon are absolutely magical and our beautiful planet deserves to be loved.

They’ll encourage you to be who you are, wear what you want (the more colour the better)and remind you to let others do the same.

Their animated and colourful stories will take you to places you forgot you were missing and remind you that the world is still a dazzling and fascinating place.

You’ll giggle as they whisper secrets in your ear and tell you it’s okay to talk to your cat, dog, bird or other animal because these creatures are wonderful friends and they always listen.

The young and the old teach us kindness, patients, compassion and the importance and beauty in being still when we stop to inhale the essence of a buttercup, tulip or a rose.

Never underestimate their wisdom and the powerful impact they can have on your well-being. Their lingering hugs and the enthusiastic excitement shown when they greet you, is a reminder that you’re awesome and you’re loved.

Human beings are at our best in the beginning of our journey and at the end. It’s during these periods we know what matters and we happily give love away.

The periods of life in between can be confusing. Our minds become overwhelmed and overstimulated by things not really important at all.

We seem to park the wisdom of our early years, somewhere along our path. If we’re lucky we find it again before this amazing adventure ends.

If you’re feeling lost, spending time with little people or your elders can be grounding and humbling. We were them, and we’ll be them again.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

I don’t know 🤷🏻‍♀️

As a child I recall my parents, teachers, babysitters or other adults asking me questions where my response quite often was “I don’t know.”

– Why did you shave the cat?

– Why didn’t you do your homework?

– Who ate the dog food?

– What’s wrong with you?

– How did a bowl of macaroni and tang end up in the fridge?

– What are you going to do with your life?

– Why is there a chicken sitting on the couch?

My answer to all of the above ~

– “I don’t know.”

Then their response would be;

– “I don’t know,” is not an answer.

So, I’d be forced to make up some phoney-baloney answer about why I did something or why something happened. Even though the correct answer really was “I don’t know.”

Fast forward a couple decades and this “have-to-have an answer” programming, has gotten some of us into trouble as adults. We turned into “know it alls” who were taught to always come up with an answer or at least pretend we had one.

** believe me, when we try to camouflage the fact that we don’t know; people know we don’t know.**

This behaviour can then manifest into some people believing they do know more or better than the ones who really do (when clearly they do not). They can become dismisses of the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others, they may even blurt out random facts or answer questions that haven’t been asked, to demonstrate their astute knowledge on a range of topics. And thus, a new “know it all”is born.

I was in my mid thirties by the time I realized we ain’t fooling anybody when we play the game of know-it-all. We come off as rude, smug, arrogant or flippant.

None of us have ALL the answers.

We’re not supposed too. Knowledge of our own ignorance is a sign of wisdom and growth. According to Socrates, knowing that we know nothing – is both a sign of humility and perhaps genius.

So rather than teach our children that they must have answers, let’s teach them to ask questions, to listen and gain other insights and perspective to make sure they understand. This approach may breed more tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance and cooperation. (and wow, our world needs more of all that right now.)

There’s a sense of freedom and vulnerability when we utter the words “I don’t know” or when we lean into another person and say;

“Can you help me figure this out”

“I don’t understand,”

“Tell me more.”

The best leaders I’ve worked for were the ones who did more listening than talking. They asked for advice, admitted when they didn’t know, we’re constantly reading, learning and sharing what they knew. These leaders surrounded themselves with people who thought differently than they did and offered different perspectives.

Its not the job of a good leader to “know it all,” it’s their job to build a tribe of diverse individuals who bring a unique experience and wisdom to the collective. We should live our daily lives the same way, appreciating those that look, think and are different than us.

I found a message I had written in the margins of my 2001 journal, ( it’s what inspired this post) It read;

“Toni you’re smart, but if you ever think you know it all, remind yourself you don’t, you have some answers, but not all of them, when you’re lost, go find the ones that do.”

I thought back on 2001 trying to remember what might have prompted me to write that down. There were no real clues in my journal entry, so, the truth is “I don’t know.”

Love Toni 🌹❤️

**because I know you’re dying to know; The chicken (which turned out to be a rooster) was sitting on the couch because my younger sister had kidnapped it from school to save the poor thing from becoming a dissection project. 🐔❤️

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 ~ 🌹❤️

The Journey

We have to step over many thresholds,
exploring both rugged and gentle terrain.
Traveling unfamiliar roads, meeting stranger after stranger until some become family and others become friends.

We must navigate the messy pathways
of human emotions, blazing trails
never walked before, having many adventures
and narrow escapes.

Then, we’ll know where we came from
and where we belong.

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.

Everything starts out as a dream

Everything ever created, started as a small dream born in the corner of someone’s mind.
Every successful business, invention, plan, piece of art, musical composition, endeavour, or thing, at one time, was just a thought someone had.

The magic happened when the dreaming turned into doing.

That thing percolating in the back of your mind, you can make it happen. Stop thinking about it and start doing it.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️