The train

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.”

The end

Toni O’KEEFFE-~🌹❤️

The Train

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.”

The end

Toni O’KEEFFE-~🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️

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~🌹❤️

If I could sit under a tree with my younger self I’d tell her;

You and every soul who shares this journey with you, is beautiful, unique and amazing. You’re all supposed to be different. So be yourself, love yourself, express yourself and let others do the same. It’s okay to wear two different coloured socks (and I know you want to.)

You’ve got a-lot of ground to cover, don’t waste time staying stuck, overthinking your next move, going back to old boyfriends or reliving the past. Move forward.

You’ll learn more when you listen and observe, rather than being busy making noise. My dear, you don’t know it all.

You’re going hurt some people, not on purpose, still, always apologies.
Some people will hurt you, not always on purpose, still, always forgive them.

There’s a million right ways to do something. It doesn’t have to be your way.

Your happiness is your job, nobody else’s. (However coffee, chocolate and puppies will help)

No matter what, be kind. Your kind heart and positive attitude are the most beautiful things you’ll ever wear.

When you feel stuck, go to the forest, walk around a lake, look up at the stars or sit quietly next to the ocean and, the answers will come.

You’re going to make some big mistakes. Yup, some really big ones. Be grateful, for ALL of them, even the most painful, ugly, messed up ones. Then forgive yourself, take the lessons and move on.

There’s a little bit of whimsey in you, don’t be afraid or forget, to let her out to play.

Enjoy this adventure, it won’t last long. Be curious, explore, have lots of fun and help others do the same.

When this journey is over, make sure you’ve left all your love, your words, your music, your magic, your wisdom and your gratitude out on the field for others to grow on.🌹❤️

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.

We’re different, we’re supposed to be different~

Once upon a time, there was a family of 7.2 billion people running around their little blue planet trying to change each other and beating each other up. No one really knew why.

Each new generation picked up where the generation before had left off, ridiculing, mocking, shunning, shaming, judging and attacking their family members for their different beliefs, social status, gender, sexual orientation, alliances, traditions, looks and well, just about anything.

When they could have been building a beautiful world together and caring for one another; they wasted time and energy blowing things up, destroying the planet, hurting each other, even going to war with each other over their differences.

One day a group of children within the family decided “this is dumb” we’re not going to play like this anymore. And they didn’t, and over a few generations the family began to heal.

They still had disagreements, but now they worked through them without judgment and without causing each other significant harm.

Soon the family began to realize they were supposed to be different. It was their differences that made them stronger, healthier and collectively wiser. They saw that when they lifted each other up, and listen to each other‘s perspectives, they achieved more together then they did apart.

No, they did not all live “happily ever after”, but they did live “better ever after.”

**I don’t want to look like you, be like you, think like you, have the same hopes, dreams or goals as you. Those things belong to you, those things are a part of your journey.

The only thing we should be the same at, is accepting and loving each other exactly as we are; and, embracing the notion, “we’re supposed to be different, it’s our differences that give us our collective strength.”

I’m gonna’ love your beautiful, weird, messy,
little soul as it is and, I’m gonna’ love my own weird, messy, little soul as she is.
That’s it.
The End~

Wishing you a happy weekend ❤️

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Unleash the power of “happy” into your life

Our entire lives we’re on a quest to feel whole and happy.

As we wait for happiness to arrive, some of us fill the empty spaces in our lives with distractions, temporary highs, busyness, unfulfilling relationships, toxic substances, material possessions and the debt that often comes with them, but still, the emptiness remains.

As children we knew how to laugh, how to play and what made us happy. It was being close to the ones we loved, exercising our curiosity, exploring our environment, creating adventures, making art, splashing in puddles, running barefoot in the rain, playing in a forest or a pond, taking risks and trusting we’d be okay, even if we fell; these are the things that filled us up.

Then, as we grew, life became cluttered with distractions, busyness, possessions, stress, too much information, self doubt and responsibility. Many of us parked our creativity, abandoned our curious nature, spent less time with those we loved and we stopped doing those wonderful things that made us happy when we we’re children.

It’s time to invite the child who lives in each of us to come out and play, to remember the happiness we felt when we set ourselves free from the clutter and distractions that bog us down.

Even amidst the frenzied noise and turmoil in the world, we can still CHOOSE to be happy.

Today is a good day;
~ To look up and see the world through the curious eyes of the child in you and reclaim your sense of wonder.
~ To seek out a new adventure and bask in the beauty around you.
~ To flip over a few rocks along the shoreline and see what scurries out.
~ To pull out a colouring book, make a kite, play in the sand, go to a park and get on a swing, hang off a monkey bar, make a mud pie or do some happy finger painting on your guest room wall.
~ To giggle, to play and melt back into your authentic happy little self.

Today’s a good day to be happy.
To let go and jump, skip, slide, soar, surf, run, ride, sail, paddle or swim, right past anything blocking your path to happiness.

You came into this world knowing where happiness resides, it’s still there waiting for you to unleash its power over your life.

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 ~🌹❤️