Monthly Archives: January 2014

Try a Little Kindness…

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Hello World!

120px-GoodHeart_Barnstar_HiresHere I go, on about choice again… But this time I’m talking about the choice to help or not.

Watching ‘The Blind Side’ recently got me thinking about why some people can find kindness at no matter what potential cost, while others look the other way and are too scared to do anything. Some, like the mother in this story, can find it in their hearts to help in the most unlikely way.  Leigh Ann Tuohy, the woman portrayed in this movie, saw a need in a boy that overtook any fears for her or her family’s safety. Had she gone with the stereotype of a young black man from the wrong side of town, she may have jumped to the conclusion that this boy would attack and rob her in some way. But instead she chose to offer him a bed for the night, and in doing so she offered him hope and eventually a family. Women like this we imagine to be more likely to hold a some sort of fundraising benefit rather than actually help an individual. They help but from a safe distance. I wish I could say that I would do the same as Ms Tuohy but I don’t think I could bring a stranger into my home the way she did. I do help out in my own way, both with my time and my money, but nothing on this level. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for this lady.

I know some very kind souls who have chosen to earn their living giving to others. They accept lower wages than they may get in the corporate space and do this willingly. The are rewarded by the good that comes out of their often thankless and soul destroying work. The same can be said for those who can find it in their hearts to foster children needing a safe home. I really take my hat off to all of these people as there are not too many of us that are willing or able to do this. 

The good thing here is that we can all help in some way, and that we can choose how we help. It doesn’t need to be as huge as what Ms Touhy did but can still make a difference to someone’s life. Just something that comes from the kindness of your heart. After all, isn’t that what giving is all about? Sharing something because you want to, not just because you can.

So what makes us choose they way we do or don’t help others? Who knows. The point is that we can all probably do a bit more. We all need a hand sometimes and even when we do hopefully we can still in turn find a way to pass that kindness onto someone else. Even if it is just a smile for someone who could really do with one.

Imagine if we all did just a little more to help others, wouldn’t the world be a better place.

Til next time…

Jo

Checking Your Filters

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Hello World!

I wonder sometimes, how many awesome life experiences we miss because we are walking through life with too many filters on. We filter how we act, the way we dress, the jobs we do, even if we don’t really want to. What would you do if you didn’t stop yourself with an “oh I shouldn’t” or a “what would everyone think”? What would your life look like if you loosened these filters a little?

Filters can really get in the way, even with the things we do day to day. We get stuck when we are attempting tasks because we are trying to be perfect from the get go, and in doing so we block the free flow of thoughts that might come to us if we weren’t. Rather than waiting for the perfect ideas, which as we all know rarely come instantly, just do something. Take some sort of action and it is amazing what other ideas will come. You may never use your original ideas but at least you have taken the filters off and are allowing yourself to go with what comes to you. I think that is what happens when people leave things to the last minute and say they work better under pressure (I have certainly been guilty of doing this!). I don’t think it’s that we come up with any great ideas that we couldn’t have come up with earlier. It’s just that by then we are so desperate to get the task done that we throw anything down and build on that. The filters are loosened. How many times have you come up with something great at the last minute and thought ‘why didn’t I think of this before’ but then of course not had the time to finish it properly. The thing is you probably could have come up with this idea sooner if you had taken the filters off earlier.

Of course we can’t live life without any filters and there are definitely some people who could do with some more – a certain politician hailing from Queensland with fish and chips on her CV comes to mind… We all know people who say or do things without any regard for what it means to themselves or others. It can just be downright annoying, but in other cases it can be hurtful and mean, sometimes even devastating. There are folk amongst us who could really do with a major filter service. I am not talking about the  occasional outbursts when we do or say something we are sorry for because we are all guilty of this at times. The difference is that some of us will take on board what we have done and be careful to not repeat it in the future, whereas others won’t care.

Teaching children to understand filters is one of the balancing acts that comes with parenting. You want to save your child from hurt and disappointment so its easy to put lots of restrictions on them in order to keep them safe. The problem is, a lot of the time these are things they need to find out for themselves so they develop a good balance of their own filters. How many people grow up and get busy doing what they think they should be doing, rather than going with their desires, only to end up really unhappy, or rebelling against too many restrictions sometimes with dire consequences.

Here’s to clear filters for us all!

Til next time…

Jo

Changing it Up

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As we delve into 2014, many of our new year’s resolutions begin to fall by the wayside. We make them with the best of intentions as we know things need to improve in certain areas of our lives, so we can live a better one. The thing is, these resolutions involve a change of some sort and that is where we usually come undone. We form habits, good or bad, and those habits are hard to break. Even though we know the change is going to be for the better, letting go of those old familiar and somewhat comfortable habits is tough.

Change is often something people choose, whether it be consciously or not. It can be good or bad. Some change however is forced upon us. This change forces us to draw on our inner resilience. For some, that resilience is inherent and can be called upon it when its needed. For others it’s harder to find and when they are left in the wake of this type of change, getting past it can seem insurmountable. In the end though, we are left with a choice, we either find a way to deal with it or we don’t. If we don’t find a way to get past an unwanted change that has been thrust upon us, things will simply get worse. We must remind ourselves that life is here to be lived and to merely exist because of something outside of your control is such a waste, especially when there are many who would have given anything for that opportunity. 

Making the choice to change something that will ultimately improve our lives can still be difficult. It might be leaving a job or a relationship that you know you need to leave and no matter how difficult the process is going to be you know you need to do it. Sometimes we tend to take a few steps forward, then fall back into comfortable habits thinking that is not so bad after all because it is familiar. It is important to remember that just because something feels comfortable, it doesn’t necessarily mean its good for you. After all how many of us would go to work in our slippers? They feel comfortable but are not what we need to be wearing to work (unless of course you work for Peter Alexander!).

Some people are naturally more resilient than others but I do believe that it is possible to develop this strength. The trick is, I think, to take little bites into making things better, not try to eat the whole meal at once. In the case of getting healthy, all of a sudden going on a strict diet and work out plan at once is probably going to be difficult to sustain (well for me anyway!). Perhaps adding a walk each day to start with might be what you need to do and build from that. Just do something! It’s amazing how empowering just the knowledge that you have achieved that seemingly small thing really is. The changing a lot of small things can often add up to one big change for the better.

Here’s to some good changes in 2014!

Til next time…

Jo

 

Life and Scrabble

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Hello World and Happy New Year!Image

I have come to the conclusion that life is like a game of Scrabble. You dive into the bag that is life, get what letters you get and then it is up to you to make a word from them. You have the choice work on them until you get a triple word score or you can settle with throwing a few letters down each time and seeing what happens. There is also the option of passing on part or all of the game.

While I believe we have an endless supply of choices available to us, some things are fixed and we must learn to work with and around them when necessary. I have learnt the hard way that sometimes life gives you what it will give you and there is nothing you can do about it. Those bad things are inescapable but there are other things you can move around to make them better or worse. No matter what life throws at you, its important to get back up and, to use another Scrabble analogy, try another combination of the letters you have in your pile. Sometimes you need to pass to give you a chance to regroup but be careful that you don’t pass to often or for too long or you may very well miss out on the things that could make your life great.

In life, just like when we play games like Scrabble, we sometimes look at others and think they have everything going right just because they are lucky and things seem to easily fall into place for them to succeed. I find it impossible to believe that everything just magically goes the way people want it to. Generally I believe that those who are genuinely happy and successful in their chosen field are that way because they refuse to accept any other way and work their way to success. They see life for what it is and make the best of what they have available. If what they want is not readily available they manoeuvre things around until either they get what they want or realise the options are truly exhausted and pass until something better comes along.

There are people who let the bad things that happen define them. They almost seem to be wear their pain as a badge of honour and seem comfortable being defined and restricted by what has happened to them. This is sad because they always have the option to shuffle their letters around until they find something better.

Then of course there those who pretend everything is wonderful just to make sure that everyone else thinks they are having a great life, when in fact they are not. This is perhaps the saddest of all because they are more than likely making themselves suffer just so they appear a certain way to others, who in most cases, don’t really care.

As I ponder what may be in store for me in this new year I am certainly planning to get plenty of triple scores, even if I have to make up some of my own words.

How about you?

Til next time…

Jo