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 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~🌹❤️

Your words have weight. Exercise them carefully.~

I dislike and rarely use, the term “The truth hurts.” because, it doesn’t always have to.

Even when we convey disappointing or unpleasant information, we can still use words to reassure, comfort, support, show empathy, motivate, inspire, educate or encourage optimism.

In a world where it’s easy to use multiple mediums to fire off messages filled with emotional backlash and sometimes dire consequences, we need to choose our words carefully.

It’s not always “the truth” that hurts, it can be the mis-truths, the half truth, the lies, the mean spirited intent behind the words or how a message is delivered, that hurts.

Your words can break a spirit or save it, bring light to someones day or shroud it in darkness, can lift someone up or tear them down, can soften a heart or make it cold, deliver tears of joy or tears of sorrow, can influence opinion and evoke emotion.

Our words are little bullets. On average, most of us fire off approximately 7000 of them every single day. (OK some of us may use a few more than that😊)

When eloquently strung together those 26 little letters (if you speak English) can make up words that move us to create, laugh, cry and touch one another in the most profound ways.

Before you speak or send a message ask yourself; have I been kind? have I been sensitive? is the information true? is the information even necessary?

Then ask yourself “Will my words cause pain or discomfort?” If they will, ask yourself how you can be supportive, inspire or encourage optimism, healing and growth?

It’s equally important to be cautious with your silence. Our words when left unspoken, can be just as powerful. The things we do not say or do not ask or do not explore, can send messages indicating we do not care, we’re not interested or we’ve given up. Words left unspoken sometimes create a void others fill with assumptions. Most often, incorrect assumptions.

Other times your silence is exactly what the situation calls for. It says I’m not going to engage in what might be an emotionally charged setting. So rather than using your words, it might be best to listen compassionately to the words of others.

Your words both spoken and unspoken belong to you. Before you fire them off or keep them locked in your holster, consider the impact and the consequences of each powerful bullet.

No work-out routine, diet program, steroid, or sizeable muscle mass will give you more power than the weight your words.
Exercise them carefully.

Toni O’Keeffe~🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️

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~🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️

Open heart ~ Open mind

Life became easier when I surrendered my own tenacity and began to live with an open heart and an open mind.

There are things I’ve discovered and learned along the way, which I might never have unearthed if I had remained locked in my own stubbornness.

Our struggles often result from our inability to see the possibilities beyond our own thinking and the doctrines imposed on us.

Living with an open heart and mind means considering alternatives, actively listening to opinions different from our own, being kind before jumping to judgment and being aware of signs along the way pointing you in new directions.

Open minds and open hearts, have created more music, magic, poetry, peace, love and light in the world, then closed minds and cold hearts.

Toni O’Keeffe~🌹❤️