Woo and the river of enlightenment

Toni O’KEEFFE
April, 2022

Once upon a time there was a boy named Woo.
Woo pondered the concept of “light.”
He had heard terms such as:
“He lit the way for others.”
“She was a beckon of light.”
“He lit up the room.”
“She was glowing.”

Woo did not understand these terms.
He only knew light as the warmth and glow radiating from the sun or the light from a candle.

He was perplexed has he contemplated how a person could be “light.”
So, Woo asked his mother; “Mother, how does a man light the way for others.”
“You will know when someone lights your path and leads you out of the darkness,” she replied.

He asked his grandfather; “Grandfather, how does a woman become a beckon of light?”
“You will know when your mind is awakened and inspired by the wisdom and knowledge of your teachers,” replied his grandfather.

He asked the village healer; “How can a person glow or radiate light?
The healer replied, “You will know when you observe a mother holding her child for the very first time.

All the replies Woo received were different. He still did not understand, so he wandered to the river to sit and contemplate what he’d been told.

Woo saw a disheveled, homeless man sitting next to the River.
“Why do you live like this, alone and without a home?” Woo asked the man?

“What makes you think I’m alone and without a home?” ask the man. “The earth is my home. I’m surrounded by the beauty and light of the world, I’m not alone at all.

The response from the man surprised Woo. “What is the light of the world?” Woo asked.

The man replied “You will know when you witness the smallest act of kindness and your heart is touched. You will know when you no longer judge others for the way they look, think or live, but rather seek to accept and love those who share your path, because you understand we are all apart of a greater light.

“I don’t understand,” said Woo.

“Close your eyes and tell me what you hear?” asked the man.
Woo closed his eyes and listened.
“I hear the powerful rush of the river,” said Woo.
“What created the river?” asked the man.
“Many drops of rain falling from the sky.” Woo replied.
“That’s correct,” said the man. “One raindrop can not force a river downstream but together the droplets are powerful.”

The man then asked Woo to look into the sky. Woo did as he was asked.
“What do you see?” asked the man.
“I see stars lighting up the sky,” said Woo.
“That’s correct, said the man. “One star alone cannot light the sky, but many stars together with the moon can create a path that guides ships and weary sailors home.

“Now, touch the ground.”
Woo placed his hands on the ground.
“What do you feel? asked the man.
“Many blades of grass,” said Woo.
“That’s right,” said the man. “The ground is solid. It holds back the river and helps the river stay it’s course. All those tiny blades of grass with their roots intertwined, are a part of the solid foundation which guides the river to the sea where it meets other rivers and together they fill the Ocean.”

At that moment, “a light” went on in Woo’s head. “I think I understand!” Woo exclaimed. “Everything is connected. Each of us is like one small star, one droplet of rain or one blade of grass.“

“Yes,” said the man.
“Each star, each rain drop, each blade of grass and each one of us shine, grow or flow in different directions. However, when we work together we create something stronger, brighter, better, and more powerful.
We shine our light when we share our courage, strength, wisdom, acts kindness or love with others. We don’t all shine the same. But, we all shine.”

Woo now understood.
“Thank you,” said Woo, for shining your light on my path.”
“And, yours onto mine,” replied the man.

The End
Toni O’KEEFFE~🌹❤️

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

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.

Waiting

We spend our lives waiting.

Waiting in line, waiting for the right time, the right person, the right place.

Waiting for winter, for spring, for summer and then waiting for fall.

Waiting for days to be warmer, then to be colder.

Waiting for the sun to rise, for the sun to set.

Waiting until we loose weight.

Waiting for our children to arrive, to walk, to talk, to go to school, to leave and then, waiting and hoping they’ll come back home.

Waiting to find a job, waiting to find a better job, then counting the days to retirement.

Waiting until we have money, waiting until we have more money.

Waiting to do the things we’ve always wanted to do.

Waiting for somethings to begin and others to end.

Waiting to find “the one” then, to find the next “one”.
Waiting for the heartache and pain to go away.

Waiting to find ourselves and understand our purpose.

We barely remember the things we’ve been waiting for because the moment they arrive we start waiting for the next thing to show up.

As children we could hardly wait to grow up.
Then as we get older things change.
We want to slow it all down.
We want to hold on to the few precious moments we get with those we love.

We become aware of how fast it’s all gone by. We try so hard to slow it down, to be present, but it keeps moving, even faster now.

Stop waiting and just BE.
Appreciate where you’re at; even if it’s painful.
Be grateful for this moment, this time, this lesson, the joy, the sorrow, whatever it is, BE with it. Be in awe of it and the learning that comes with it.

The day will arrive when you miss where you’re at today. You will look back on the most difficult times of your life and realize these were the most important and transformational moments of your life. They set the stage for the good things that followed.

You will also look back on all those special small moments and wished you had lingered in them longer. So linger in them now.

Don’t wait it all away. BE present with it today.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

Take time to look back to see how far you’ve come.

I love this girl.
She used to be shy, afraid of the world, and worried about what she might become.

I’d like to go back in time, give her a hug and whisper in her little ear;
“You’re perfect just as you are. There’s going to be some storms and you’ll face them. You’ll get lost now and then, but you’ll always find your way back.
Every once and awhile you’ll forget who you were meant to be, but then you’ll remember and you’ll be fine. Everything’s going to be okay.”
❤️
I’m grateful I got to be her when she grew up.
❤️
At times, life seems to inches along so slowly and you don’t realize how far you’ve come or how much you’ve grown. Then, you turn around and wow, it hasn’t inched along at all. Time has flown by. You’ve crossed oceans, navigated storms, trudged through some muck, fought some battles, have a few scars, climbed mountains, seen some breathtaking vistas, met amazing people and covered a lot of ground. And damn, you should celebrate all that.

Take time to look back, reflect and remind yourselves how far you’ve come.
You might be surprised to find, you’ve come a long, long amazing way baby.
So, Cheers to you!
🥂❤️

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 ~ 🌹❤️

Allowing yourself and others to change and grow

I was listening (okay I was ease dropping) on a conversation the other day.

Two women were chatting about a common “friend”who is constantly changing.

“She can’t stay in one place,” one of them said. “She has changed jobs four or five times since I’ve known her,” the other one commented in that rolling her eyes tone of voice.

I heard phrases like;

“Get her act together,”

“Stick with one relationship,”.

“Her bohemian phase,” and

“She needs to decided if she’s Buddhist, an atheist or something different.”

Hmm, their “friend” sounds a bit like me in my late 30’s.

It appeared they believed those who are constantly changing are somehow broken.

I have a completely different perspective.

I believe we should be constantly changing.

You’re allowed to change your mind or shift your perspective. Especially when it comes to the big stuff. That’s how we grow.

The knowledge, experience and insights we acquire over the course of our lives SHOULD shape and change us.

My God, if I was still living my life based on the insights and experience of my 12 year old self, I’d be a hot mess of jellybeans, acne and mood swings, guided by my crush on Bobby Sherman and a desire to grow boobs.

Like everything on the planet, we’re supposed to change. Those little seeds we come from are supposed to take root, grow, blossom and then we shed our leaves (aka Feng~shui your life) rest, and start all over again and again and maybe again.

You don’t have to stay in a particular mind set, job, relationship or community if it no longer feels right. When we change our mind, shed old thinking and outdated perspectives, it means we’re thinking, pondering and working our brain muscles. It means we’re growing and creating the space for new adventures, new relationships and new opportunities.

I hope you allow yourself to constantly change and grow. And, along the way you let go of the attitudes, beliefs and people that no longer give you life. If you can’t, at least don’t judge the ones that are.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Follow your joy.

If what you’re doing, what you have, where you’re at or who you spend your time with, doesn’t bring you joy ~ give yourself permission to let it go.

If finding joy seems hard because you have a mortgage to pay, a family to support, educational goals you want to achieve or you’re caring for someone, change your perspective and find joy in these things and where these things and people will lead you.

If you can’t change your current circumstances you can still;

  • Make self care a priority. There is no one who is more important and worthy of self care than you, no one.
  • Stop worrying and overthinking, it serves no purpose. It takes as much energy to focus on what’s right in your life, as it takes to focus on what’s wrong. However, the affect of focusing on what’s right can have a huge positive benefit on your physical, spiritual and mental well being.
  • Nurture yourself in nature. Learn to be still beside the ocean, in a forest, or sitting on top of a rocky bluff. Listen to the peacefulness and bring calm into your life.
  • Avoid being drawn into other peoples drama/conflict.
  • Manage the internal dialogue in your head. We tell ourselves stories about ourselves that are just not true. Stories such as “I’ll always be alone.” “I’m going to be in pain my entire life.” “I’ll never get fit.” “I’ll always be poor.” “I won’t be happy until this situation changes.” Change the story you tell yourself about yourself.
  • Make plans to do something you’ve always wanted to do, even if that something is still off in the future.
  • Try spending less $ on “stuff” and spend more time making memories and having experiences.
  • Interact with positive uplifting people.
  • Take a break from media and tune into a comedy channel instead.
  • Purge stuff; sell, donate or get rid of things that no longer serve you and your life.
  • Say goodbye to toxic people and relationships.
  • Stop being offended by every little damn thing. You’re not responsible for how others behave or why they do the things they do. So stop being judgmental or worrying that others may judge you. We’re not all on the same path, we’re not supposed to be.
  • Get moving. Physical activity to the degree you’re able, can; improve your memory and brain function, help manage chronic pain, assist in weight management, lower blood pressure and improve heart health, improve your quality of sleep, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and, reduce “life fatigue”.
  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Focus on the things in your life that do bring you joy; the ones you love, your pets, your garden, a sunset, creating art, the first sip of coffee as you start your day, a ride along a stretch of open highway, your cozy pillow ( I love my pillow), kissing the lips of someone you love.

Life can feel like a “whack-a-mole game” with crazy, unpleasant circumstances popping up in unexpected places. You can still be happy, and you can still whack those things with a big smile on your face😁.

If where you’re at now is hard, find joy in knowing these challenging days will be behind you one day. You’ll look back on your struggle and be proud that you were strong and got through it.

When I look back over my life, its not the stuff or the pay cheques that brought me joy, it’s simple pleasures and precious moments that have always lifted me up.

You have more power over your current situation than perhaps you realize. Use this power to grow into the best version of yourself by following your joy.

Wishing you a happy, zenny, joyful, sunshine and lollipops kind of day☀️🍭 🤗

Love Toni ~ 🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️