The duality of life

Just as the quote below says, we need oppposites in life. We need challenges which, although painful at the time perhaps, will help us to grow emotionally and spiritually. If life were just one series of material and bodily pleasures, what impetus would we have to improve ourselves, or to seek the pleasure found in spiritual endeavours such as meditation, helping others and finding our way back to the Divine? The duality of life is one of the ways that God throws in his fishing line in the hope that we will take the bait and return to Him.

Here’s another beautiful quote that I came across this week:

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us

to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

– VOLTAIRE

In order to grow from life’s challenges, below are outlined just a couple of examples of how to change learned habits of behaviour and react in different, more positive, ways:

  • when someone is angry with you, don’t retaliate because you will simply be fanning the flames of their ire. (I had to learn this skill pretty quickly as a high school teacher. At the start of my career, I took part in a couple of quite ridiculous in retrospect shouting matches with pupils. My goodness, the flames of anger must have been reaching out of the top of the building! But I was presented with this opportunity many times to change my ways of reacting to pupil challenges. And each time I learned how to behave more positively, more lovingly. Teaching isn’t all lovely children and fun, although it is that too. To really appreciate the good times, we need to learn through the challenging ones. So, to get back to the issue of anger, quite often if you are quiet and say nothing, this can extinguish the flames! It is really difficult to do this at first, but you eventually reach the stage where you immediately see this challenge as a test. How will you react? If you can do this, it is a major spiritual step forward in my view. If you have a mantra, repeat it over and over inwardly. When the person’s ire has burnt out sufficiently, then you can talk to them quietly, reassuringly. They don’t need to hear harsh words; they don’t need to hear how stupid they’ve been; any kind words and acts you can offer them at this stage will sow a seed in their consciousness. Hopefully, they will think twice about igniting their rage in the future!
  • when you feel rushed for time and feel as if you don’t have enough minutes in a day, do an activities audit. I PROMISE YOU THIS WORKS! Write down all the activities you do in a day/week such as taking the kids to dance class or play dates 3 times a week, doing the weekly cryptic crossword in the weekend newspaper for 2 hours, watching 4 hours of tv a night. Which of these activities are really essential to your life and which can you simply let go? Learn to let them go and you will feel more at peace, more relaxed. The challenge of time pressure was created by you and you can change it.
“The only reason for time is that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
– Albert Einstein

Yet more in common!

Today marks the 3-year anniversary of the brutal murder of the Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, by someone who was offended by her views. You can read my original post from back then, which includes a lovely poem about diversity, here.

#moreincommon

Let’s not despair at the gladiatorial style politics displayed by many of our world leaders; instead, let’s give hope to others by our example of understanding and compassion.

🌿✨😊🌿✨

Let’s not look for differences to be suspicious about; rather, let’s seek out what we have in common and celebrate that!

🌿✨😊🌿✨

Let’s never doubt that the ordinary man and woman can make a difference. If we choose to change the way we relate to every person we meet in person, see on television or read about in the media, we can effect great change. For we are all interrelated on this third rock from the sun and every thought, word and action affects those around us. Let’s make positive choices therefore to always see that we have #moreincommon.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

🌿 Mahatma Gandhi

Much love, Anita. 😀

These 5 simple things: advice to my younger self

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and give some advice to your younger self?  Here’s what came to me today during meditation of what I might say (with love) to the young girl I once was.  Please bear in mind, we should never berate ourselves for the things we have done in the past, for these all help us to learn life lessons along the way.    This post is also for Debbie Roth’s #forgivingfridays. Continue reading

Gaia

There is a hypothesis called The Gaia Principle first expounded in the 1700s by Scottish Geologist, James Hutton.  He studied the planets and concluded that in the same way our bodies are made up of billions of cells all working together as one single unit, everything on Earth also works together as one single, living, self-regulating organism – all living things, the atmosphere, plants, animals, humans, climate and so on.  And just as our bodies have their own regulatory systems (eg. nervous system, respiratory system), so the Earth has its own systems:  atmosphere (air), biosphere (all lifeforms), geosphere (soil and rock), and hydrosphere (water).  The health of the Earth depends on all these components working well in harmony.  If one system is impaired or malfunctioning, it will affect all the others.   There can be many reasons for impairment or malfunction, for example ozone thinning, unbiodegradable plastics entering the food chain, fracking, draining of water tables, to name a few, of which the common denominator is: us!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. John Muir

If we subscribe to the Gaia principle, I guess the overarching aim behind it might be that we learn to share, cooperate, compromise, discover consequences of our actions; that we learn the need to give back to the Earth in order that it may thrive for future generations. 

Scotland, voted the most beautiful place on Earth!

I love the Earth. It’s absolutely astonishingly beautiful. Let’s cherish it. I love my part of the world too. Here are some images from Scotland. The first image is the castle in my hometown, Kilmarnock. We live in a region called Ayrshire. If you look at the second image, this is a view of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. I like that we are never far from the sea no matter where we are! The Mackintosh rose is an icon of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the famous architect and furniture maker. You can visit examples of his work all around, from the Hill House in Helensburgh (a small town on the west coast) to the Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (our largest city), to the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. The fourth image is an interior view of the City Chambers (where the city councillors meet). Isn’t it gorgeous?!

In the penultimate photo, you can see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously in Scotland. In fact we are famed for being self-deprecating! The final image is of the paddle steamer The Waverly which chugs tourists up and down the west coast and islands.

I would dearly love to see images of your part of the world! Why don’t we collaborate on a joint post on the beauty of our world? If you’d like to do this, just add a link to this post https://anitaneilson.com/2019/03/11/gaia/ when you’re writing your blog. Right, I’m off out to litter pick and look after my little part of Gaia. Have a great week. Much love, Anita.😊🌻🌳👍

Be a superhero!

We have a temperature gauge in our shed in the garden. It’s true to say that a lot of Brits are obsessed about the weather, as we can literally have 4 seasons in one day (we are an island nation buffeted by the Atlantic ocean from west and south and the North Sea and Scandinavia from the north and east. A case in point was yesterday when I awoke to a beautiful, sunny day; by 11am it was snowing heavily and covering the daffodils which only last week thought it was Spring and whose stems had ever since been climbing steadily skyward.

The point is I awoke this morning to the temperature in centigrade of -10 (that’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who use that scale). My first thoughts were, “I’m freezing. I’m sore. It’s so cold.” But during meditation this morning I realised that actually I’m not freezing, but people who had spent the night out in the cold were. Sure, my mind thought it was in pain, but I would soon get better once the central heating got going in the house. I have a house, a home. It’s safe, secure, warm. I have the choice to turn the heating on or off. I can make myself a hot drink or soup any time I want. Some people aren’t so lucky. I’m one of the lucky blessed ones.

When you’re out and about today and it’s cold (and even if it’s not), don’t pass by the homeless person you see most days. Be a superhero. Buy them a hot drink/soup or a pair of gloves. It doesn’t matter their reasons for being homeless. We can all judge each other for something. Let’s not do that. Just show some love and compassion even if they’re not ready to receive it yet. It’s the intent, the act of giving of yourself to help someone else, that’s what matters. Have a great day everyone. Much love from a frosty, snowy, cold Scotland. Anita. I leave you with some images of snowy scenes. Be careful out there.