Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Pulverised Cardboard Box

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Those who know us will know that Tony and I are cat mad, sometimes in the true sense of the word when they drive us to distraction climbing curtains and using the armchairs as scratching posts.  Incidents that usually encourage one of us to say "oh bless them", which doesn't seem to discourage them somehow.

However, there is one thing that regularly gets destroyed in our house and that is any paper carrier bag.  You see Charlie loves to hide in paper bags, it floats his boat and makes him purr like a Ferrari ticking over, but Amie doesn't like Charlie to hide from her.  So the moment she sees a paper bag she jumps on it and sinks her teeth into it.  Not so good when Charlie is actually inside.

Within about 20 minutes Charlie is fully revealed in all his splendour and his beloved carrier bag is in a heap on the floor.  We of course are reaching for a vacuum cleaner!

At Christmas I bought Tony a rather nice suitcase for his trip to New Zealand in 2011, and it came in a large cardboard box.  "At last!" we thought "something Charlie can hide in and enjoy it".

I know you've already guessed.  Amie saw the box, saw Charlie go inside, leapt on top and sank her little teeth into a convenient gap.  She mustered her not inconsiderable strength, gave us a look that said "think again" and started ripping.

Although it is a much slower job and Charlie will get a lot more fun out of it before we have to buy each other something in a large box again, by the next morning there was a respectable amount of wreckage strewn across the lounge.  By last night Tony was sticking the box back together with sticky tape!  However, it's Christmas so we said "b****r the cleaning" and got on with enjoying ourselves.

There is though a moral to this story.  How many of us spend our lives ripping away other people's carrier bags and cardboard boxes because we feel lonely or want attention?  We just won't let them 'hide' anything of themselves from us.  How many of us feel that when we go into any relationship we should grow more alike, and feel frightened and threatened at some level when our lovers and friends remain resolutely different?

Ask yourself how often you've consciously or subconsciously tried to change someone to suit you?

It probably hasn't worked, it's probably led to a number of short-lived relationships, or even long agonising ones, and at the end of the day you've had a pitched battle similar to the armies getting bogged down in the trenches during the First World War, rather than a loving and supportive relationship.

So why not give up the battle, let them have their paper carrier bag or cardboard box, and get on with liking and loving the people you chose to bring into your life - exactly as they are.  Build your own inner strength so that who you are is never threatened by the unknown in anyone.

To all the dear people that I love - exactly as they are.

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights (and a complete cardboard box if you want one!)


"God Cries When a Sparrow Dies"

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I'm not sure that the quotation is worded correctly but that's a line from the New Testament of the Bible that has always stuck in my mind.

This blog was inspired by a lady I met on Monday 27th December who was in the invidious position that I was in, in 1999.  She had lost a much loved pet followed a month later by a very close and dear relative.

In my personal experience and that I have gained from working with others who are bereaved, bereavement is hell and it takes so many different forms (sometimes in the same day) that it's very difficult to actually 'do'.

Now I've had many dear people cross to the Spirit World (I can place over 30 men there alone) and it hurts differently every single time, but the hardest thing I've ever gone through is trying to mourn a beloved father and a beloved cat in the same month.

I was so confused, I felt equally badly about losing both of them, that in turn made me feel guilty that clearly I loved animals more than humans so what kind of monster was I?  It was emotionally horrific and believe me my heart goes out to anyone who suffers that particular torture, as it did to the wonderful lady that I met yesterday.

Fortunately for me I had a Spirit Guide at the time and he pointed out that the Spirit World does not measure love by body shape and design or number of legs.  The Spirit World includes animals of all species amongst their number and they work to rescue and heal animals in the same way as humans.  They recognise no greater worth, they only recognise love in all its forms.

Sadly I didn't have time to spend with the lady I met, and we were in a public arena so encouraging her to get her grief out onto the table and release it was inappropriate.  Yet she's worried me from that moment to this.  I just hope I said some helpful words.

So the point of this blog is to encourage you to do two things, firstly - just love!  Secondly, allow your grief to take whatever form it takes without guilt or questions.  We can always look back on the past and score it "3 out of 10 should have done better" but that's rarely true.  What is true is that we did our best for the people we were at that time..

It might be that for her and for me grieving our pets was easier than facing the loss of a beloved relative, and actually we were or are grieving it all in one big messy emotional heap.

So don't feel guilty about your love for your pets, as my uncle said when I asked him what it was like to own your own animals "It's tricky when you go on holiday, but then you work so you have to plan holidays anyway, and it's sad at the end, but every day in between they will make you smile or laugh."

Never a word more truly spoken and no one needs to feel guilt for mourning a creature that brings all those smiles into their everyday life.

So don't measure grief, don't grade grief, and try not to worry how it appears.  Just let it be, then you will recover from it and link back to the love you've always shared with whoever or whatever you've lost, and know that love is the link that binds us forever.

Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, love and smiles wherever they come from


Friday, 17 December 2010

Was the Archangel Gabriel a Double Agent?

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Ok you probably think I'm being flippant and taking God's right hand messenger's name in vain at Christmas of all times.  I'm not, it's a serious question.

At a time when Jesus should be in the forefront of our minds and Christmas should be about peace on earth and goodwill to all men - to that I would add women and anyone else you're currently muttering about under your breath - shouldn't we be seriously thinking about that whole peace concept thingy?

Yet the very religions that are supposed to bring out the best in us have been used to allow humankind to demonstrate the worst of themselves as often as possible and with apparently reckless abandon to the point where many of us have abandoned them.

Whether that demonstration comes in the form of war, allowing others to starve, chopping down our neighbours' tree when they're not looking, cutting someone up on a roundabout, or gossiping to A about B and then B about A, we seem to have allowed the whole peace on earth thing to be something that is written on Christmas cards once a year.

Even our religions can seem to be different things created by apparently different Gods with different states of mind and attitudes towards life.  Yet the presence of the Archangel Gabriel in both Christianity (or actually pre-Christianity because Jesus was in fact a Jew) and the Muslim religion can only lead us to one of two conclusions:

1.  The Archangel Gabriel was a double agent working for three sides and three Gods.
2.  There is only one God.

Whether you're talking about mainstream religion or the Spiritual field, one thing you can be sure of is that Gabriel's name is revered within them all.  Whatever name you give to that being: God, Allah, The Universe, Father/Mother God, Divine Light, or anything else you care to name, Gabriel is right there, and (S)he's right there as the messenger of...(insert your preferred name for divine presence).

So at this special time for the Christian religion, whether you embrace it's beliefs or use Christmas purely as a time to spoil your family and friends and spend time with those you love, should we not bear in mind that peace on earth isn't a concept - it's an instruction.  An instruction which the presence of Gabriel reinforces precisely because (s)he was used to connect two very different types of faith, and because people in the Spiritual field feel his/her presence even now.

Gabriel is the Universal messenger to demonstrate our connection as one race of humankind and to remind us how alike we all are.

At this special Christmas time within our society I would like to wish all people of all religions and persuasions, all beliefs and philosophies, a very happy time.

In the hope that we'll remember how alike we are supposed to be.

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights.


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The dropped glass of wine

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Hello All

This is the story of the dropped glass of wine that didn't cause a crisis.

Imagine a quiet winter evening, three people are gathered in a house chatting away about life, the universe and everything.  At the same time wifey (martyr) is struggling to thread new lights onto the already decorated Christmas tree.  They are all engrossed in this superhuman effort to render the household somewhat Christmassy, with the two comfortably sitting on the couch cuddling cats wearing themselves out shouting constant encouragement and suggestions.

However, wifey really started to struggle and needed urgent assistance - to whit, someone to remove the darling kitten from the other end of the Christmas lights (which were switched on).  Hubby to the rescue, in one neat leap he left his comfy perch on the sofa and supermanned across the room, inadvertently taking his glass of wine with him.

As it arced gracelessly through the air spraying red wine to all corners of the household there was a deafening screech followed by the sound of wailing and cursing.  Hubby was down on his hands and knees on the floor trying to suck the carpet and wifey was berating the unfair gods that their carpet should be so summarily ruined in a month when both cars had decided that an extra visit to the garage would be very nice thank you.

Into the midst of this chaos a quiet voice (we'll call it Jayne) said "do you have any ********?" (insert name of well known stain removal brand).

The screeching and berating stopped and all that could be heard in the silence was the sound of frantic carpet sucking and gentle weeping.

Fortunately it transpired that there was some of this well known brand of stain remover in the house so Jayne and wifey prised the weeping hubby off the carpet and sent him to the kitchen to locate said cleaner.  Mainly because neither of the ladies has a short term memory nor do they do domestic so they wouldn't have been sure exactly what they were looking for and would probably have come back with chocolate.

Chocolate is obviously a wonderful food stuff - being based on the coffee bean which as everyone knows is a vegetable - however, it is not known for its carpet cleaning properties and sadly, unlike alcohol, you don't cease to care about your ruined carpet once the entire bar has disappeared.  In fact it doubles the crisis because now you have to worry about the carpet and your waistline.

To shorten a short story that has become long, the famous stain removing brand was battered into the carpet and the stain was magically gone!

The Christmas tree was finally finished and looking glorious, the kitten had been lovingly removed from the lights rather than utilised as a fairy and was now purring happily on top of the bookcase (prior to falling off into the plant below).  The humans had hot drinks and more wine and the world felt rosy again.

From this heart-warming Christmas story we can learn several things:

1.  Ask your Christmas lights to fail when you test them not after you've put them on the tree.
2.  It is possible to gently extract one set of lights and weave in another whilst fending off a kitten.
3.  When teetering across the room like a fairy - I mean knight in shining armour- keep your hands in your pocket.
4.  A kitten falling into a metal plant pot makes one heck of a noise and shortens your life by several seconds.
5.  Don't panic before you check whether you have a famous brand of stain remover in the house.
6.  It is useful to have an uninvolved observer on hand during a crisis.  Which means...
7.  Always have a Jayne - if you don't, stay calm, sort it out and pencil in the panic for sometime never!

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Widi-Beke Factor

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I thought I'd mix my television shows today rather than my metaphors, and demonstrate how we can learn about life and our own actions even through television programmes.  The world can deliver many good lessons if you know where to look and are aware of what you're seeing.

I'm a great fan of Strictly Come Dancing with special mention of Anton du Beke and to be honest, with great respect to Ann Widdecombe, I was cross at what happened this year.

Year after year the judges go on about it being a "dance competition", as do many of the fans, and pillory those like myself who have two left feet and no sense of balance or direction.  The judges also regularly criticise the British public when they do what they have a right to do and vote for their favourites, and when the hated one goes we always hear a version of "at last, the British public have come to their senses."

Yet this year the BBC in all it's Widde-sdom decided to pair Anton with a lady who obviously finds walking a little difficult and who was considerably shorter than him.  If you look at other pairings you cannot help but notice that the height difference is far more favourable.

Anton took it like the gentleman he is and did the only thing he could do which was to employ his lovely sense of humour and gallantry.  Ann took it like the trooper she is and I honestly believe did her very best on all occasions.  For someone terrified of heights to agree to being flown in shows her dedication to the show and to entertaining the audience.  Clearly they became good friends and it has to go down as one of the most successful Strictly partnerships of all time.

However, I've also been following the commentary by fans on Facebook and I couldn't help but notice that the general commentary when Widde-Beke went out was similar to the judges - at last the Widde-Beke voters had come to their senses!  This after weeks of vitriol and insults levelled at these unknown and basically unsound of mind voters.  No one commenting asked why we might be voting for Ann and Anton, and yes I voted; they simply relied on insults and, as one person put it "potty mouths".

Here's why I voted.  It wasn't fair to Anton, there was no way that Ann was ever going to be a dancer.  As a middle aged viewer I enjoy seeing the slightly older dancers proving that age is no barrier to excellence, and I would be uncomfortable with Strictly if it didn't cover a wide range of age groups; I would lose relevance with the show.  I also felt that I had a right to vote for someone that the BBC had decided was worthy of appearing on the show.

For me this entire situation, which I believe is mirrored on the X Factor at the moment, shows us how much we judge others without ever asking them what their thinking was, even over things as relatively unimportant as a dance and a singing competition.

We judge, we condemn, we now do it publicly on social networking sites, yet we don't use that little three letter word that can bring so much love and respect with it - why.

For me, and I know for others, the Strictly vote was a deliberate decision made in sound mind to call the BBC out and show them that if they wanted to mess about with our Anton then his fans would mess about with their dance competition.  I feel that we had a right to do that without being insulted.

So the next time you find someone annoying you, instead of condemning them, speaking to everyone but them, and treating them to a demonstration of your brilliant but perhaps cruel sense of humour, why not just ask them why.  And if you don't like what they say, withdraw quietly leaving no damage behind you.

As a friend of mine has just said, she wonders if people see unimportant things as just that - unimportant - therefore their words and actions don't count.  However, that unimportant thing might be very important to someone else for a reason you don't know.  So just remember, what doesn't matter to you might matter very much to someone else.

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights


Monday, 6 December 2010

Nativity not Negativity

Today I read the most fabulous blog by a man named Tom Evans - you can find it here http://goo.gl/5CGD9.  It was about literature and negativity, and it echoed so many ideas that I've been mulling over recently, and maybe not so recently.  In fact I need to go back to the 1980's to explain the start of it.

I know it was the 1980's because I was living my former life when I saw the television programme.  It was Panorama and they were talking about attitudes to health in the USA, saying that they could buy drugs over the counter that were only available on prescription here.  More than that, the Americans were obsessed by their health and diet in a way that the programme makers considered to be unhealthy.  They said that it would happen here and quite frankly I laughed.  I was wrong.

For a long time I've been concerned about the sheer overwhelming weight of negativity that is thrust upon us each day and from every imaginable angle.  We have fear about our food and whether we know what's in it, our health, our fitness, our lifestyles, our telephones, our computers, foreigners, shall I go on?  I don't think so,  you've got the picture and you know the list could be far longer.

Like most people on a Spiritual path I'm choosy about reading newspapers and how much of the news I watch.  It can be quite hard to keep up with current events if you want to avoid negativity, but it can be done if you choose your publications.

I don't read women's magazines very often because negativity creeps in amongst the eyeliner and lip gloss.  You can barely read a magazine without seeing something about health and body shape, and so on.

Friends have noted that I'm more aware of these negative messages than others, but I feel lucky to be so because I can combat the negativity with positive thinking, whereas other people may not even be aware of how much they are being drip fed over the loudspeakers in supermarkets, in the media, and in other places that you might not expect it. 

I am though quite typical of people on a Spiritual path who find throughout their journey that their tolerance for the negative gradually diminishes and they wish to embrace positivity, joy and happiness as much as is humanly possible in this screwed up (but wonderful) world of ours. 

The posting I mentioned above crystallised for me the latest area that's began to impact on my consciousness - novels.  I have a number of fantastic writers whose work I thoroughly enjoy, and their new novels always jump off the shelf straight into my basket the instant their published.  Yet lately I've found that I'm enjoying these books less and less, because they're normally about murder, mayhem, lying, cheating and stealing.  In other words thrillers!  Not so very thrilling though.

The writers are brilliant but the subject matter tells us that the world cannot be trusted, evil is always out there, and even if you're the hero of the novel it's all coming back to bite you again in the next book.

After reading that awesome blog this morning it convinced me to take action and remove an entire area of negativity from my life by changing my reading habits next year.  There are so many wonderfully humorous books out there, so many non-fiction books that inform and inspire, that I don't need to stick with the same old same old anymore, and I'm not going to.

For me after the Nativity I'm going to bring in another positive step in my life campaign for positivity and peace of mind.

What will you change next year that will help you to live a happier life?

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights.


World Peace - the Biggest Uphill Battle of All Time

Earlier this week I couldn't think of a single thing to blog about, and then today two subjects inspired me to put digit to keyboard.  The first was protecting yourself, and the second is...well...protecting the world.

I've noticed a lot of discussion about Iran lately, and as a person who does try to do her bit for world peace I have to say that the tone of that talk is concerning me.  There seems to be a movement being created to put fear into the hearts of western shoppers that reminds me very much of the same thing that happened first with Iraq and then with Afghanistan.  

I'm not commenting here on the rightness or otherwise of entering into either of those wars, I don't know enough about the whys and wherefores of the decision making to make an informed comment.  It's just that I saw pre-fear being whipped up on both those occasions and it's happening again now.

I'm also not going to go into the nitty-gritty of what's happening at the moment and where it might lead.  Trying to work out what our individual and collective governments are thinking and up to is as much beyond me as anyone else in the world - because they don't tell us the truth.  

What scares me is that people are talking fighting talk and other people are passing on that fighting talk without thinking about what they're doing.

I'm an historian by training and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a lot going on of which the truth will never be known, because records will be lost and amended to make certain countries and individuals seem to be a lot more innocent and/or righteous than they were.  

What I do know is that to continue to spread fear before we know for certain that there is a need to fear, is only creating the very fear that is required to bring about yet another call to arms that could cost countless numbers of lives.

So I'm begging you, don't be afraid until we at least have some evidence  that there is a need to be afraid (hopefully better than the evidence pointing to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq).

Don't think that the majority of the Iranian people are doing anything other than living their lives in their own way and hoping that they won't be nuked in their sleep.  If you look at history they have at least as much reason, if not more, to fear the west than we do them.

There are fundamentalists out there who we all need to be afraid of and they exist in all cultures and religions.  Do we honestly believe that when Christian, British and other fundamentalists spit their vitriol out to the world other nations don't quake in their boots?  Of course they do, and of course their fundamentalists scare us.

Just please, please think before you pass on any negative messages.  The more we can be positive, the more that we can feel love and spread love, the quicker we will get a start on making this world a safe place.  Goodness knows it's going to take long enough, so let's get started now.

Wishing everyone, everywhere, happy days and peaceful nights


Sunday, 5 December 2010

That's Why They Call it a Private Life

I love social networking, I have some good friends scattered all over the world and we use social networking in a meaningful way to keep up with each other and make sure that everyone is safe and happy.  I also enjoy making new 'virtual' friends and finding out who they are and what they're up to, but I have to say that I don't feel comfortable with the people who request friendship and then use it to try and ram their private life down my throat.

Most people feel comfortable with keeping their private life behind closed doors and revealing to people who don't need to be involved in it only the public side of themselves.  There is a healthy reason for this, total revelation gives every person you meet too much information, it also pre-empts their opinion of you and, to a certain extent, labels and pigeon holes you forever.

Whereas if you meet each new person that comes into your life with a clean slate on both sides, you will not only have the fun of getting to know each other but you will also allow yourself to be changed by the experience.  Even negative experiences with people will teach you something about yourself and allow you to use the negative lesson as fuel for a more positive future.

I came to a point in my life where I refused to discuss the past, go into what happened within my first marriage, complain about my childhood (unless an old family pattern rears it's ugly head again and reminds me), or talk about how I felt from the ages of 15 to 35.

I took that decision because I realised that every time I told a new person about my past they were judging me in light of that past, and quite often new people would throw old accusations at me that had no basis of fact in the present because I had told them that it had once been a good way to hurt me.  I know of other friends who have taken similar decisions for similar reasons.

So before you reveal everything about you on a social networking site, or even your quirky side, think carefully if you want to always remain that person or you want to grow and develop as life takes you, shapes you and moulds you.

I for one wouldn't want to be known for only one aspect of my personality or as the person of my past, nor would I wish to close the door to improvement and ever increasing happiness.

As to my private life my lips are sealed by my latest sparkling lip gloss LOL.

Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights