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 ~🌹❤️

The wisdom you seeks, is in you.

Once upon a time, there was a woman sitting on a large moss covered rock next to the ocean.

She sat quietly looking out across the water, feeling the sun on her face, the wind blow through her hair, inhaling the fresh sea air and taking in the beauty before her. She could sense an angel was near, and she feared it was “her time.”

The angel approached and sat beside her.
“I felt you were close,” said the woman.
“Were you afraid of my presence?” asked the angel.
“No,” the woman replied. “But I have so many regrets”.

“What are those regrets?” the angel asked.

“I regret I didn’t love myself enough to be who I was meant to be. I lived in fear of judgment, so I didn’t express my love, my creativity or my passions and missed what could have been the best parts of my life.

I realize now all I had to do was love myself, love and accept others as they are, and love this beautiful planet we’ve been given. It’s so simple yet, I made it so hard and, I’ve wasted so much time.”

The angel looked at the woman and said,
“Hmmm, if you had more time, tell me what you’d do?

The woman’s eyes lit up and her posture straightened.

“I’d live my life as a peaceful warrior, promoting kindness. I’d love without fear and without expectations. I’d sing more often, build more sand castles and dance in the rain. I’d explore this amazing planet and I’d express my creativity in ways that felt right for me.

I would set myself free by forgiving anyone who’s ever hurt me. I’d strip hatred, jealousy and judgment from my heart, as these things bring NO joy to me or others.

I’d live in a state of acceptance and embrace the beautiful differences I see in all of us.

I’d spend less time away from the people I loved. I would be less busy, less stressed, less concerned with what others thought, I’d consume less, worry less and be less impatient and less critical. I’d be less offended and make fewer assumptions.

I would BE fully awake, so I could see the world as the magnificent masterpiece she is, and, I would look into the world with grateful eyes and a compassionate heart.”

“That’s beautiful and perfect,”replied the angel. Now, go do those things.”

“What?” replied the woman. Aren’t you here to take me away?”

“No” replied the angel. I’m your angel of wisdom and light. I’ve always been with you. It’s only now that you’re beginning to see me and awaken to the wisdom that’s always been inside of you.”

The woman wept tears of gratitude. “How much time do I have?” she asked excitedly.

“I don’t know. None of us know. You might have an hour, a day, a week, months or many years. But, it will end. It’s the impermanence of life that makes this journey so precious.

No matter what you did yesterday, if you wake up tomorrow, see this new day as a gift. BE present on that day and BE fully awake. And if you wake up the day after that, live the same way.

None of us are getting out of this alive. But, we do get to decide how we live, how we love and what we learn along the way.

The well of wisdom and light you’ve been seeking, its in you. It always has been❤️”

The End
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 ~🌹❤️

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~🌹❤️

The Mirror

Toni O’Keeffe

My whimsey heart and childlike spirit are oh so playful, inquisitive, excited about life, full of energy, hope and believe anything is possible.

But the lady that looks back at me from the mirror tells another story. She possesses the calm and wisdom of her age, a sense of gratitude for making it this far, a few regrets and a curiosity for what might come next. She knows time is passing, so she embraces the gifts that arrive with each day.

The gray in her hair, folds in her skin and lines on her face are the well-worn roadmap pointing to the places she’s been. Her scars are the badges that honour her life and the lives she has brought into the world.

There is still much she wants to do, to see, to create and love.

As she continues on her path, she will allow her inner child to remain playful, believing she can still be more than she is. Her heart will continue to love and believe in the goodness that resides in everyone. She will remain curious and her gypsy soul will continue to dance. And, her body, well, I will love her as she is.

I hope you live your days, being fully present, grateful and in a state of awe for the adventure that is your life.

TO’K ~ 🌹❤️

Don’t chase the things that don’t want to be caught

Toni O’Keeffe

January, 2021

Don’t chase the things
or people who don’t
want to be caught.

Not everything you’ve lost
is meant to be found.
Not everyone you’ve loved
is meant to be held forever.

When things and people leave our lives,
they create the space for new experiences, adventures and emotions to arrive.

Sometimes, when you take
things out of your life,
you add more into your life.

Trust that what’s meant for you,
will stay, what’s not, will go.

Happy Friday🤗

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

You were born to be a curious warrior

Toni O’Keeffe

January, 2021

You were born to be a curious warrior,
to explore, question and unearth the mystery’s of your life.

You’re here to get tangled into the magic and energy of other souls. To share experiences, make each other feel things, both good things and painful things, to take the lessons from those experiences and move on to whatever comes next.

Don’t sit idle waiting for life to happen.
Exercise your curiosity. Get bumped and bruised. Feel the warmth of falling in love and the chill of heartache. Light some fires, put others out. And, face your storms, knowing they will pass.

You are not meant to be a bystander in your life. You’re meant to live in a state of passionate wonder, to gaze into the sky with a humble heart, an inquisitive mind, and question why you, we, or any of this beautiful magic exists at all.
Toni O’K~🌹❤️