And now I’m in Sydney!

I am visiting my cyber-writing-buddy Alison today on her blog,  oh how I do wish it were in person!

Alison has been running a series on her blog called “Ordinary home’s and gardens” – be sure to read the preceding posts, they are fascinating.

So for anyone who has ever wanted to know more about where I live (and I’m sure there are score and scores of you) then……

CLICK HERE TO READ THE MOST AMAZING BLOG POST – EVAHHHH

Oh and by the way, I have a little friendly ‘most blog view’ competition going with another of the ‘ordinary homes and gardens’ posts…..so tell your friends!!!!

Are you springy?

re·sil·ience [ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns] 

noun ~ the power or ability to return to the original form, position,etc.,
after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

Resilience is a word that is bandied about a lot these days. And, despite many other fad words that I dislike, I do have to agree with this one.

And I like the definition – another dictionary said ‘spring’ back, which gives a nice image, don’t you think? Springs to me are joyful, happy objects 🙂

We try to teach our children resilience. We want them to spring back from the hurts and disappointments they will surely face in life. Teaching them from a young age to ‘return to their original form after being bent and stretched’ will give them the tools necessary to navigate their world as they grow.

Part of teaching a child resilience is, I think, being able to withstand seeing them hurt, and allowing that hurt to teach them something. It’s allowing them to grow and learn through their own experiences and to ‘bend’ instead of break under those lessons.

I have one dear friend who, at the moment, demonstrates to me almost daily the power of resilience. Faced with what I can only describe as a nightmare situation, she is bending, not breaking. She is being bent and stretched almost to breaking point but somehow, always manages to ‘snap’ back into her beautiful self.

Is she denying what is happening? No. Is she not dealing with circumstances as they arise? No. Is she allowing bitterness and resentment to change her original form? No.

She is being resilient, like a tree in the wind; bending, not breaking. And you know what? Her children are watching. Watching and learning. She is teaching them resilience in the most foundational way. By being one of the best examples I’ve ever seen.

I hope that if ever I am faced with an overwhelming situation, like my friend, that I am resilient, too. We can make a conscious effort to learn resilience even without the extreme circumstances. How we handle the little things that come along daily will give us a good indication of how we will handle the big things when they do happen.

How easily upset do we get? How easily offended are we? How much do we allow small inconveniences to put us off kilter? Exercising our resilience muscle in the small things will certainly ensure that muscle is strong and well used to the exercise when we do need it.

How can you improve your resilience?

Beauty at first glance

We found this growing in our garden earlier in the year and had no idea what it was. With a little research I have discovered it is a Clathrus pusillus, or Red Cage Fungus as it’s often called.

Isn’t it beautiful? The colours were so vivid and it seemed so delicate. I was sad to realise that at the end of the day, it had shrivelled and disintegrated into a pulpy mess, covered in ants and flies.

Now that I have finally got around to finding out what it was, I know that what it did was exactly what it should have done.

This particular fungus gives off a dead, rotting meat smell (I didn’t notice an odour but then, I didn’t exactly go sticking my nose in it either) which attracts flies and ants, which then feed on it and do their part to deliver the spores to other parts of the garden.

Apparently they are also potentially poisonous if ingested and some animals have died as a result of eating them.

But I can’t get past how beautiful it was. Popping up in the midst of all the brown leaves and dirt sat this amazing, vibrant creature. As beautiful for it’s strangeness as anything else.

It was a reminder that ‘all that glitters is not gold”.

How easy it still is, at the age of 40, to be fooled by someone’s or something’s outward appearance.

To be taken in by beauty only to discover too late the foul stench of decay.

 

 

I’m in America!

Okay, so that’s a little bit of a fib. I’m not really in America per se, but I am there in spirit as I visit a wonderful blog in the good ole US of A.

I have the extreme pleasure and honour to be guest posting on Beth K Vogt’s blog, In Other’s Words.

Why not pop on over and have a squizz? Go here – In Other’s Words.

Oh, and if I were one to tell others what to do, I would tell you to stay awhile and read some of her fantastic, thought provoking posts…. 🙂

See you in the States, people!

Stay strong….or not.

Being strong is talked about a lot, especially when someone is going through a crisis.

But what does it really mean to ‘be strong’? And should we be aiming at that anyway?

I wrote about being strong in my very first post – here.

And as I watch more and more of my friends deal with all sorts of horrible, traumatic events in their lives, the more sure I am that telling someone to ‘stay strong’ in the midst of those circumstances is a pretty useless piece of advice. It seems to me, what we are really saying is “Please don’t fall apart because then I wouldn’t know what to do.”

The world judges strength in all sorts of ways – by not crying, by getting angry, by getting even, by getting on with life, by laughing, by gritting your teeth, smiling and pushing on. The strength that most people want to see in others is often a denial of what is happening.

To me, that’s not necessarily strength, or not the sort I want, anyway.

And as women in particular in society right now, we are told to be tough, to be strong, to harden ourselves against all the world, men and bad relationships that life will inevitably throw at us.

You know what?

I don’t want to be tough, hard or even strong.

I want to be soft, gentle, to know that I can cry when I need to, be weak if I need to. I want to know that I don’t always have to ‘tough it out’.

Somewhere along the way, we have lost the ability to simply be. If that means we are weak  for that moment, week, month or year, then so be it. If we don’t want to get mad, get angry or get even, that’s okay.

Being strong, to me, is crying when you need to, finding joy in the small things even as life crashes around you, it’s getting up each day, recognising it’s a hard day, crying your eyes out in the shower and yet still managing to get dressed and take the kids to school.

It’s saying “I’m not strong at all – I need you to help me” to those around us. It’s allowing ourselves to have ‘bad’ days, to simply grieve over whatever it is we are facing.

The sort of strength I’m talking about allows for the whole gamut of emotions that a crisis typically brings and doesn’t shy away from feeling them all, as painful as it is. And if a friend of mine does me the honour of being ‘strong’ in it’s true form when I’m around, then I feel privileged to be there in that moment with them, however long that moment lasts for.

How do you define strength?