Life is messy and messy ain’t bad

The journey to figure out who we’re meant to be, is messy.
So are;
~ the colourful drippings from an artists brush, until a masterpiece is born.
~ run-on sentences and misspelt words, until a best selling novel emerges.
~ stacks of bricks and mortar, until they’re assembled to build a home.
~ musical notes that don’t make sense until a musician strings them together to create a melody.
~ a seedling stuck in the dirt, until it grows into a rose.

Everything is messy, until it becomes what its meant to be. Including all of us.

We don’t stop painting, writing, building, playing, fixing, or planting because it’s messy, we keep going until we recognize what we’ve created.

Each of us is a messy collection of experiences, emotions, missteps, wrong turns, hopes, dreams, heartbreaks and hooray’s tossed together to create a life.

And, although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, where we’re heading, or why certain people come in and out of our lives, our individual paths are constantly moving us towards who we’re meant to be.

What starts out messy, usually ends up being something beautiful. So hang in there, things are going to get messy, and messy ain’t bad.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

There’s power in your pain

Beautiful friend, stop worrying.
Trust that what you’re going through, will lead to something greater.

Our pain does not define us, it helps us grow. Don’t let the heartache, physical pain, disappointment, sorrow or grief, you might be feeling today, be your story. It’s only one page of a larger, more exciting adventure.

Scars are meant to leave us stronger.
They are the badges we wear reminding us to keep moving forward, taking the lessons from our pain with us.

What hurt you yesterday, has already begun to heal today.

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 ~🌹❤️

Overcome your loneliness by being alone.

By Toni O’KEEFFE

April, 2022

As a child, I grew up in a loud, hectic, sometimes frenzied Irish Catholic home, buzzing with family gatherings, birthday parties, activities related to my moms real estate business, the daily preparations required for my Dad’s restaurant, the screech of musical instruments being practiced, seven children running-playing-fighting, mom hollering out orders, lots of pets (including my sister Suzie’s pet rooster) cousins, aunts, uncles and friends constantly coming and going.

It was loud and it was busy.

Up until a few years ago, my adult life had also been a constant buzz of career busyness, multiple moves, volunteer work, my boys, their antics and extracurricular activities, house guests, exchange students, lots of pets and a busy social life.

For decades I craved alone time, it never arrived. Then, one day it did.

There I sat on the floor in my kitchen, living alone for the first time in over 40 years. And, I’d never felt so lost, so alone or so sad.

My children were grown, my eldest son had passed away, my marriage had ended, I was retired and had stepped away from community service to manage health issues.

Over the course of my life I had drawn my identity from the many hats, roles and responsibilities I had worn, and the busyness that kept my mind and life occupied.

After decades of being somebody’s sister, daughter, mother, wife, boss, employee, volunteer, now I was, well, I had no idea.

I was exhausted, probably depressed and didn’t feel emotionally able to reach out or connect with anyone, in fact, I didn’t want too.

My little spirit was spent, she needed to rest. She knew we had to turn inward, to feel the deepest sense of loneliness and loss before we could reimagine what our life should be. So, I surrendered. I listened, and let her guide me.

I cocooned myself for several month, slowing growing new wings and transforming the life I had lived over several decades, into something new, different and purposeful.

It was during my alone time that I learnt how to quiet the busyness in my mind and listen to the thoughts percolating in the deepest corners of my soul.

I was able to focus on my health, read a few books, took a lot of walks and did some amazing solo travel. I tapped into creative pursuits that had always been there, but hadn’t been exercised in along while.

Then, I began to remember who I was, I mean, who I really was. To my surprise I realized that I’m more of an introvert than I imagined. I came to recognize and appreciate some of the creative traits and habits I had inherited from my father. I understood what it must have been like for my mother when her career came to an end, her children had left the nest, her husband had passed away and she had to create new purpose and joy in her life. I developed a deeper sense of empathy and gratitude for both my parents.

Being alone taught me that my happiness and my joy is my job. We can not expect our partners or our children or anyone to be responsible for, or be, our only source of happiness. We must cultivate our own interests, hobbies and joy.

Being alone has power. Once we learn how to be alone and be happy, we can better recognize if our life choices are drawn from a place of happiness or loneliness.

My alone time is now something I look forward to. It’s during my alone time that I get to visit the best parts of myself and I remember what it is I’m here to do.

It is in this quiet space that I continue to lay down the stepping stones towards my own growth.

I’ve evolved my perception of loneliness over the past few years into an understanding that ~ Loneliness does not come from not having others around us, it comes from not knowing our purpose, our passions and ourselves.

Alone time, when we use it well, allows us time to think, to recharge, to be creative, to foster self reliance and helps us unearth our authentic selves. It also allows us to re-examine who we want in our lives and the types of relationships we want to cultivate.

I love the quote;

“Not all those who wander are lost”

~ from J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem “The Riddle of Strider”, this quote echoes my own belief that ~ When we wander alone ~ we find ourselves.

When embraced, being alone can be peaceful, healing and healthy. It’s an opportunity to find ourselves without the commentary and expectations of anyone else and, just BE.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~❤️🌹

**artwork ~ The Secret Window by Shawna Erback

Stop worrying so much about do little ~

Beautiful friend.
Stop worrying so much about so little.

Don’t worry about the ones that left you behind, be grateful for the ones who are still by your side.

Don’t worry about promises not kept or plans that didn’t work out. They weren’t supposed to, they weren’t meant for you.

Don’t worry about the past or be angry, jealous or spiteful about days gone by. Be grateful for the lessons and move on.

What hurt you yesterday, has already begun to heal today. If yesterday didn’t go exactly as you hoped, today the slate is clean, you get to start over.

We’re all magical, messy, mixed up little souls painting lives that are constantly works in progress. So, my beautiful friend, stop being so hard on yourself and stop worrying so much, about so little.

Be gentle with yourself today and every day.
Just relax you messy little soul, just relax.
TO’K~ 🌹❤️

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 ~ 🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️

Quiet Spaces

A tranquil pathway and quiet shoreline stretching towards infinite beauty, lead me to a peaceful retreat, a hidden refuge of cozy spaces and burrows nestled between the sand, the sky, the ocean and fallen logs.

Unencumbered by humanity, I see the world as it should be. Peaceful.
I’m the only intruder, but I’m not alone.

Burrows along the trail to the beach are home to dozens of rabbits hopping between logs, rose-hip and hawthorn shrubs growing along the edge of the shoreline trail.

I move slowly, so I don’t disturb a mother seal and her pup resting in the tall seagrass near the water.

Eagles circling above, the calls of seagulls, sandpipers and other birds, echo across the sky and add to the magic of this place and fill me with light.

I find my spot and rest on the sand with my back supported against a well weathered log.
With my little companion Bo’ nestled in my lap, I close my eyes, release all worries, surrender to this space, and melt into a state of stillness.
Then, I listen.

It’s in silence and stillness that wisdom is received and peace is born. It’s in this state that the answers come. They always do.

I’m grateful for these quiet spaces and the peace, serenity, wisdom and healing they bring.

If you feel overwhelmed, challenged to meet the struggles in your life, or just exhausted from the noise in your head. Stop everything, step outside and find your quiet space.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

ALLOW yourself to be

A moment will arrive when you realize it’s time to tread beyond your comfort zone.

In this moment you will know with great clarity, it’s time to allow the things that have been calling you from beyond the veil of fear, doubt and judgment, to be born.

This will be your moment of grace, your moment to shine and shatter the obstacles that have been blocking your path.

The fear may appear larger than it ever has because its standing right in front of you. Still, you will face it, naked in your authenticity, showing the world who you really are and not who they have forced you to be.

The demons will retreat, the fog will lift and you will clearly see the path towards the things you’ve always wanted to do, see, say, and become.

Be brave, muster your courage and set out to do all thats been calling you for so long.

We never know exactly when our journey here will end, but we know it will end. Let this year be the year you leap into the life that’s meant for you.

It’s time to ALLOW yourself to be.
To stop fighting the voices of criticism and finally be comfortable just ~ being ~ you.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️