I beat the blues!

What can we do when the blues take hold of us?  How can we function in daily life? And can we really beat them?  Are the blues more likely to be depression?  This has been my story over the past month or so.   Read on.. Continue reading

Kerala Flooding Disaster

Our good thoughts and prayers surely go out to those affected in the southern Indian state of Kerala which has been badly afflicted by torrential flooding over the past month, with more than 325 people killed and 200,000 made homeless.  The amount of rainwater in this year’s monsoon has seen an increase of 30% on normal years (I’m taking these figures from Hindustantimes.com.

Scientists blame climate change and deforestation for the landslides which followed such huge amounts of rainfall in the region.  I’ve done some research on Kerala.  It has a population of 34 million people in an area of 34,000 km2, whereas the country where I live, Scotland, has a population of a mere 5 million in an area of 79,000 km2.  So Kerala, which is only a tiny part of the Indian sub-continent, has more than 6 times the population in an area half the size!!  Puts things into perspective.

My prayer today:

I pray that Kerala’s people may find their inner strength and determination to help each other through the awful situation in which they find themselves.  I pray that Government and industry leaders will have their eyes opened to the abuses done to the environment in India and across the world, and will finally stop these practices.  Money and convenience should not be put above caring for the environment and all its inhabitants (for there have surely also been many (unreported) deaths in the animal kingdom during this time).  Finally, I pray that we in the West will not shrug our shoulders at another disaster on the other side of the world, but will reach out to help in whatever way we can.

So, how can we help?

We can spread the word about this current disaster.  Information can lead to positive action and pressure being put on our leaders for change.

We can donate (eg.) to the Oxfam Kerala Emergency Appeal.

We can pray for those affected.

We can pray for and give gratitude to the emergency services personnel who put their lives in danger to help others.

We can use this experience to put our own troubles into perspective.  Let’s not use phrases like, “This dress is crumpled.  I’ll not be able to wear it tonight.  What a disaster!”.

It’s really not a disaster!

I felt compelled to write this today after watching the news this morning (something I rarely do, so it must have been meant for me to see).  If you do not share my views, that’s fine.  We are all entitled to our own opinions, we are all distinct and different – or are we?  Perhaps we are all interconnected and everything we think, say and do affects all others on Earth.  Something to think about.

Much love and many blessings to you today.  Anita 🙏😥

The decider game

I wrote this post last year around this time when I was watching the French Open Tennis championship at Roland Garros in Paris.  I was enthralled by the levels of determination, fearlessness and resilience shown by the players as they battled for supremacy on the tennis court.  I saw clear links with how we might nourish these spiritual qualities in our daily life.  The article, entitled Jeu Decisif, has been posted on Watkins MindBodySpirit magazine online today.  Click on the photo below to read on.  Have a great day!  Anita.

 

Is patience really such a virtue?

Patience, from the Latin patientia, a derivative of pati, to suffer or endure.

The trouble with patience:

Patience is our ability and willingness to endure misfortune and adversity.  Patience is certainly a virtue to my mind, conjuring as it does such synonyms as:  humility, submission, endurance, calmness, composure, self-restraint and equanimity.  And yet, some of these definitions may at first hand appear negative.  For example, if a person appears to be humble, are they perceived as allowing others to walk all over them?  Likewise with submissiveness.  However, when we bring to mind some of the other meanings of patience, namely the qualities of endurance, calmness, composure, self-restraint and equanimity, these appear to be wholly positive.  Many of us can confuse the concept of patience in order to get our own way in the end!!  This is simply the little self (the ego) trying to micro-manage every aspect of our life and that of others around us.

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

– Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister (1979 – 1990)

 

The struggle is half the battle:

The busier we are with daily life, the less even-minded I feel.  My calmness disappears in a fog of ego-bound restlessness, frustration and impatience.  I guess many of us have this struggle at various times in our lives.  But is it self-imposed?  I think I’ve figured out why this is.  It’s all to do with our relationship with the big T: Time.

Time’s up!:

Time is a manufactured state that we humans imprison ourselves in and one against which we struggle impatiently throughout our lives.  There is a better way.  Look to the animal kingdom, to our pets.  Are they stressed about time?  Are they rushing to be somewhere at an allocated time and worried about others’ reactions if they happen to arrive late?  No, of course not!  Let’s stop putting ourselves under this time pressure.  Not so easy in the workplace, I grant you, but a few moments stepping back from the frenzy of time-restraints can reset our inner balance, enabling us to work thereafter with increased patience, calmness and equanimity (not riding the storm of emotions high and low).

How to nurture patience in your life:

So how can we develop and nurture patience, and all its synonymous qualities outlined above, in our daily lives?  Below are 3 examples:

  1. You’re late for work.
    Instead of flapping and rushing, pause, close your eyes and take as many calm breaths as you need. Then think through the situation logically. How might you create a win-win situation for you and your employer? For example, phone them to explain and offer to work later to make up the time.
  2. You give a task to someone to do and they have not done it by the desired time.
    Do not allow yourself to become angry. If you find yourself thinking disparaging or angry thoughts towards the person, do not give these more power by enunciating them. Instead say nothing and walk away for a few minutes to collect yourself. Keep trying to slow down the breath as this will allow you to think more clearly. Why was the desired time so important to you? Can the task be delayed? What are the reasons for the task not being done? Did you properly supervise the person and check in on their progress? How can you proceed? and so on. Any decision you take, or words you say, must not derive from chaotically-veering emotions but should be wisdom-guided.
  3. You are finding a painful situation (physical or emotional) intolerable.
    Remember that life is God’s play (lila) and we are simply the actors in it. Depending on our individual karma accrued from past lives and our current incarnation, we are presented with situations to challenge our bad habits and our attachment to this world of sensory pleasure. God wants to see if we will renounce all the wonders that He has provided for us and find pleasure in inner communion with Him. Can we trust in Him that everything will be alright? Can we find the humility to understand that we don’t control our lives, He does? Can we submit to this higher power in the wisdom that often the things that are good for us can sometimes initially seem painful?

Have a wonderful week, and remember to be patient!! Anita.

Love and kindness to all

Love is such a powerful emotion.  Most of us find it easy to love our nearest and dearest –  our family and friends – and for some people this is enough in life.  They see no need to extend their love outwards from this closed circle.  In fact, the thought doesn’t cross their mind at all!

I used to think like this, but now the thought of sharing love to others outwith my little circle crosses my mind all the time.  I know it’s God prompting me to act.   I believe the first and easiest way to extend love outward from family and friends is to focus on the local community, which has a diversity of layers and avenues to become involved in.

Here are a few things we can all do to show love and kindness to those in our community:

Donate:

Donate food, toiletries etc. to the local food bank for those who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed themselves and their children.  Don’t donate with judgement in the back of your mind.  Just help people who need help and give gratitude to God that you are financially able to do so.  We think nothing of spending £10 on a good bottle of wine to take to a family gathering.  Include your local community as your family now!  I’ve decided to allocate 10% of my weekly food bill to the local food bank.  You could, if you prefer, allocate a specific amount each week, say £5 or £10.   Do it regularly.  Make it a new, positive habit in your life.  One added benefit of this is that you will feel good knowing you are making a difference.  Not only will you be changing others’ lives; you will be changing yours too!

Respect others:

Treat others respectfully:  do not use them for your own gains; think of their good points when they are being difficult; speak well of them to others; walk away if they seem intent on having an argument with you; do not read their private correspondence; give them space; allow them to be the person they are, not the person you want them to be.  Treat them as you would like to be treated.  In other words,

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”  (Exodus 20:16)

 Actions speak louder than words:

Be actively helpful:  for example, pick up litter from your neighbour’s garden if you know s/he is unable to do so; if someone asks for your help, give it if you are able (this could be simple things like giving directions, opening a door for someone with a pram/in a wheelchair and so on); and that metal gate to the park which squeals and grates each time it is opened or closed – go ahead and grease it so that others will not have to hear it.  Actively look around your local community as you walk or drive through.  Where is help needed?  Can you phone the local refuse department to uplift an old sofa which has been lying on the grass verge for a week?  Can you phone the police department to install speed detectors on a local road where cars regularly speed?  Can you pester local community groups to do litter picks in your area?  If community groups are unaware of problems, how can they be expected to deal with them!  That’s where you come in!

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how to spread love and kindness out to your local community.  Please feel free to send in your suggestions.  Much love, Anita. 😀