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-~🌹❤️

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 ~🌹❤️

Trust your power

We don’t have to see air, electricity, gravity, radio waves, atoms and molecules, to know these things exist. We trust their power, we trust they exist.

You don’t have to see the POWER in you,
to know it exists, you just have to TRUST that it exists.

You are more capable, knowledgeable and powerful then the world has led you to believe.

We place too much power in the hands of others by letting them determine who and how, we should be and what our capabilities are.

It doesn’t matter how many times somebody tells a tiny acorn it can’t grow into a strong, towering Oak tree, as soon as the acorn is planted the right conditions, it will prove them all wrong.

You my friend, you are the acorn.
In the right conditions, you can only grow into who you’re meant to be.

You’re one powerful, mighty, unique
and kinda’ magical, little human being.
(or acorn, you choose 😁)

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 ~🌹❤️

You’re a masterpiece

Nothing hurts more than the lack of affection we give ourselves.

It’s not arrogant, big-headed or egotistical to like or even love yourself, in fact, it’s necessary.

If you seek love, look in the mirror, learn to appreciate, accept and love that reflection.

Treat yourself kindly, talk to yourself kindly. Nurture your body, mind and spirit with kindness, gratitude and acceptance.

We place far too many expectations on others to love us and make us happy.
Your happiness is your job.
My happiness is my job.
When we learn to love ourselves, we have fewer expectations of others, and that’s liberating.
Amongst 7 billion people on this planet, there’s no one like you.
You’re a magnificent, unique, beautiful and mysterious masterpiece.
Treat yourself like one.
Love yourself like one.

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

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

Rainy Monday morning ramble☔️

Rainy Monday mornings, the perfect opportunity for rambling reflections☔️.

Outside, dull gray clouds drop rain from the sky, creating small pools of water on my patio. I’m snuggled inside, coffee in one hand, pen in the other and a fire warming my toes. My puppy Bo’ is also snuggled up, enjoying the calm a morning like this brings.

An array of birds are taking shelter in the hedge outside my window, popping out every so often to pluck a worm from the ground and take it back to the nest.

The wind and the chill provide the perfect opportunity to sink into a cozy ponder of thought. My first thought being; I am so blessed and grateful for this life.

The day also provides the opportunity to ask; “What did I learn or observed last week that will help me this week?” Hmm so many thoughts come to mind.

I observed a war that makes no sense. Young men, woman, fathers and mothers, fighting and dying for the deranged ego of a narcissistic leader. What if they all just put down their weapons and walked away, walked back to their homes and families? War is pointless. No one person should ever hold so much power over so many. War teaches us how fragile our lives, our way of life and our planet is. So this week I will live with a more grateful and compassionate heart.

Last week, I observed thousands, maybe millions of people around the world unite to support those in need and those who are hurting. These acts of humanity have reminded me that the human spirit has a huge capacity to care, to help and to love. We’re so much better when we work together. So, I will join others, when I can, to make our world a better place.

I observed the selfish and reckless behaviour of a few, bent on getting their way irregardless of the impact their actions had on others, cause disruption and chaos. Witnessing this type of behaviour reminds me that our actions, even when merely observed, can have a far reaching impact. Someone is always watching, observing and learning, including our children. Our actions can create positive ripples or waves of destruction, the choice is ours.

I observed how little it takes to make myself happy. A few stones collected from the seashore, a paint brush and my imagination, can clear my mind and keep me busy for hours. We don’t always need to have great expectations of ourselves. The best things are often simply things and simple moments, and the calm and contentment these moments bring.

As you start out this new week, I hope you reflect on what learning you will take with you, what type of ripple you create and what behaviours or expectations you will leave behind. Whatever you decide, I hope it brings you (and perhaps others) calm, contentment and peace ☮️.
Love Toni ~ 🌹❤️

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 🐝❤️🐝