Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Another one of my joys is cooking, and today with the weather being a bit wet and mis, I decided that I just HAD to make some yummy, fresh, tomato soup!  While making it, I was singing along to some of the songs on the radio, feeling really content.  I was also secretly anticipating the delicious taste and the enjoyment my family would have while tucking into the soup. I was in my joy.

Even though I had some bread in the fridge, at the last minute, I decided that freshly home made soup deserves freshly baked bread, We have an amazing new bakery just down the road, and the baker uses only 3 basic ingredients in his bread - stone ground flour, water and his own home grown yeast.  No additives or anything else!  So off I tootled down the road to get the bread and then onto school to fetch my kids, really excited to nurture them with my joyful soup.

It was delicious and I concluded that in living your joy, you are serving others.  In this particular case, it was my family.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

I absolutely love this quote!!

“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you
Because what the world needs
Is people who have come alive.”
H. Thurman

Sometimes I think we are all so busy looking for the bigger purpose in life and finding out what it is we are "meant to be doing with our lives."  We also stress about having to serve others.  I have come to learn, that the best way to serve others, is to live your joy and in doing so you are serving the world in the best way possible.  One of my biggest joys is sharing what I have learnt; hence my love of coaching, teaching, workshops, circle groups, motivational talks, blogs etc.  I have also come to learn that it is so intrinsically a part of me that I don't even need to try and think about it.  I do it all the time, naturally.  For example when I read an amazing article, I start emailing it to all those I think will enjoy it too, before I have even finished reading it; or when over- hearing two moms in the car park the other day, talking about their children and how they are battling with discipline - I'll go and sheepishly tell them about a book I read that would really help; or a workshop that will really help someone with something they are specifically struggling with; or  a piece of advice that I have picked up; or an amazing website or blog I have discovered.  I haven't even thought about it; it is just such a strong urge and a huge joy.

So think about what fires you up and happens so easily for you.  Often those joys might seem small or irrelevant, but when you give it some thought, you realise just how much joy it gives you and how it serves others.

Look at your energy levels when you do something that is joyful to you.  It is a huge clue as to what your joys are. Another way of discovering some of your joys or strengths, is to look at some of Marcus Buckingham's work, in particular, "Now discover your strengths" where you can identify your top 5 strengths and then see how you use those in your everyday life and how much joy they give you and how they can serve others and yourself.

Go live your joys and be alive!!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hello Again!!

I haven’t been very active on my blog at all these last few months.  2013 has brought on a whole new life for my family and there has been a lot of confusion, fear, anger, tears, deep sadness, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness as well as calm, patience, faith, adjustment, miracles and love.

My dad has been in hospital for 100 days today!  Can you even begin to imagine that?

 A big, yet relatively standard procedure (inserting a stent into a blocked artery in the neck) with a one night stay in hospital didn’t go as planned and led us into a completely new and terrifying world. This world of the ICU with its doctors, nurses, drips, blood tests, brain scans, x-rays, beeping machines and artificial lights was unchartered territory for us and brought with it a sea of emotions. Every day seemed to take us deeper and deeper into this manic place; we were lost, confused, bewildered and the angst and helplessness was completely relentless.  There was no way of getting out.  It was like we were lost at sea. And every time we seemed to gather some hope or make progress, something else would happen and we drifted further and further into the deep, dark ocean away from our place of safety and normality.   At first my dad was conscious, aware of it and trying to deal with it all – his changed body, his fear and the uncertainty. But after a second stent procedure on the other side of his neck (which ironically went really well), he slipped into a coma a few days later and it was just my mom, myself and members of our close family.  We had lost him in all this madness, never to regain him again, because one thing is for sure, the man I have known as my father, is gone.  Forever!

There is no way, after what he has endured in these last few weeks, that he can ever be the same again, physically or mentally.  His fight for survival was so enormous and the sheer exertion of trying to stay alive has battered him and his beautiful, strong body, like a storm would ravage a little boat in crashing waves.   
Over time, he has regained consciousness and where he has been, we do not know.  Where he currently is at, we also do not really know.  He is not able to speak because of a ventilator pipe down his throat, although he is slowly being “weaned” off that; he is in isolation as he is ‘carrying’ one of these hospital superbugs that he managed to survive; his right arm is lame and his right leg very weak.  We still don’t know from one day to the next whether or not he will make it out alive!  Even if he does, the path ahead is still full of so much uncertainty and there will be many more challenges to be faced, mainly by him again, but also for my mom, who will become his main care giver.  Does he still have enough strength for the road ahead? Will he be able to cope mentally with such enormous changes in his life?

 I am currently reading Elizabeth Lesser’s “Broken Open” and in it she mentions one of her good friends having had a major stroke, and she quotes him, “Illness had shattered my self image and opened the door to a new chapter in my life … The stroke was like a samurai sword, cutting apart the two halves of my life.  It was a demarcation between two stages.  In a way, it’s been like having two incarnations in one: This is me, that was ‘him’.” Can my dad cope with that?  Will he find the mental strength to deal with it all without sinking into a deep, black hole of depression?  I pray that he can. And I pray that like the mythical Phoenix Bird, he can arise from the ashes, and come to know his true magnificent self.

Then of course there’s my brave, brave mother.  Her whole world as she has known it has also collapsed around her and she too has been stumbling out of the ruins and is walking along this incredibly long and hard road, helped along by amazing friends and family.  But at the end of the day, she goes home alone to an empty house and bed, wondering what the day ahead holds for her and my dad.  And like my dad, I pray too that in time, she can find and choose light, hope, meaning and joy.

And in all of this pain, there have also been miracles, compassion, prayers, touch and love beyond all boundaries.  For all of that, I am deeply, deeply grateful.  As the rabbi Yehudah Fine, who had a major car accident and underwent his own painful journey said, “I would simply say that suffering and crisis transform us, humble us, and bring out what matters most in life.”