Sorry younger generation, we stuffed up!

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Sorry everyone, we stuffed up.

We the baby boomers.

Our parents came out of surviving the depression and World War 2 determined to make the world a better place, and determined that their children (us) would know a safer era than them. And they did (make the world a better place). And we did (enjoy a safer better childhood than they ever knew). They focussed on home, community, and inclusiveness and we all grew up feeling safe and secure. We inherited a much better world in our twenties than they did … because of them.

In turn, our generation fought for women’s liberation, pacifism, civil rights for all, and sustainability. We did make some progress there.

However, it seems the world is now turning against law, order, the ‘establishment’, democracy, tolerance and common sense. Europe and America are catastrophically divided down the middle. Australia now has ‘border control’ rather than ‘immigration’. WHAT is happening?

Our parents crawled out of the pits of the depression and World War 2 and tried to make things better in the 1950s and 1960s. But rather than carry on the legacy of our parents, and indeed the things we as a generation fought for in our twenties, we baby boomers took to thinking that it was all about us and economic prosperity and we have blown that safe secure world of our childhood, that our parents and grandparents left for us.

Now suddenly it is all going backwards to the dark ages. And unfortunately it has been OUR generation in leadership that has overseen this worrying trend.

Sorry younger generation, we stuffed up.

So there is the temptation to HIDE, try and normalize the abnormal, and hope that the younger generation will one day fix up all this mess …

I can’t.

I have three grand-children. I cannot have them look me in the eye and ask me in twenty years time … “how could you have let this happen?”. In my own little patch, I just have to keep fighting for what I believe is right.

I must carry on. I cannot let what is happening in the world of politics stop me doing my own little bit to try and make the world a better place. As an individual, all that I think is right and good (inclusiveness in society, caring for people less fortunate, saving the planet, and pacifism) is STILL right and is STILL good. I must carry-on believing in all that and spreading that word far and wide, so that will be the world my grand-children will know.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men – and women (my addition) do nothing” Edmund Burke

There is much truth in that.

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Finding my voice …

ID-10072476.PixomarWhen I changed the name of my blog to spring into summer, it was because I felt I had (at last) come through the winter of despair after the collapse of my marriage. My mood had become more upbeat and optimistic looking forward to a new and exciting life ahead, just as the season spring heralds the warm and carefree days of summer to follow. I feel this is a phase of preparation for me and instead of transforming my life from we to me, which was my previous focus, I am finding my voice in preparation for speaking my truth.

What does this mean?

Finding my voice is finding my inner calling and passion, and the ‘why’ or purpose for that passion. Speaking my truth is having the courage to make that voice of mine heard. This post is my first post about finding my voice. As it is a journey of discovery, this is simply the beginning and there will be other posts as I get closer to locating it.

Finding my voice

Ideally a true calling or passion would reflect my inner being that holds my true feelings, needs, values, thoughts and beliefs. My first step therefore is to connect with that inner part of me. That true side of me – my voice – has over many years, and in particular over the last few years, been hidden underneath an overlay of other voices. These have been the voices of my parents, society, religion, friends, my husband, my children and my own ‘I-need-to-be-perfect’ expectations of myself that need not have been so unrealistic. It is somewhat sad – and yet is the truth – that for so long my true voice has been stifled, drowned out by louder voices pounding away, repeating the same rhetoric over and over. Much of that rhetoric has stuck in my head as the truth when it has not necessarily been the truth. Sometimes those other voices have been so repetitive, so loud, and so persuasive that I have had difficulty hearing my own voice, let alone recognize it as mine.

That has now changed.

I have now found quiet.

And in the quiet, since I have been free of the marital settlement, since I have been organizing my life, since I have become an adult orphan, since I have been reflecting on my life with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere or become anyone in particular; I have been having flashbacks to certain events in the past. Now, rather than suppressing my true feelings, for the good of my family, out of care for my husband, out of respect for my mother, out of duty to society; I am allowing myself to feel my own feelings and I am recognizing those feelings as my own. Feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, humiliation, shame, anxiety, happiness, exhilaration, pride, contentment or whatever feeling I was truly experiencing at the time of those flash-back events. Rather than accepting things should have been done a certain way, I am seeing things from my perspective. I am questioning things. I am hearing my own voice. At times my deep needs have gone unchecked or my values were violated or my beliefs crushed or my ambitions curtailed in the name of being the good wife, the dutiful daughter, the loyal friend or the respected law-abiding citizen.

I am now seeing things from my perspective, rather than from the needs of my husband or children. I am understanding the profound effect the sudden early death of my father had on me, rather than seeing it from my mother’s situation. I am remembering times when I did or did not do things that I felt were right or wrong.

I am allowing myself to feel my own feelings.

I am looking underneath those feelings at the violated value or the unmet need or the sense of loss or the crushed (or lifted) pride that is triggering those feelings.

I am thinking of ways I may restore my unmet needs, and self-esteem; and ways I may live by my values and beliefs.

I am planning ways I may transfer my voice onto a pathway of living a richer life for myself and – by ‘speaking my truth‘ – helping others find their own voice.

This is my journey …

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Images.courtesy[Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

I believe

ID-100131775.AfricaOne of my greatest beliefs has always been to be part of a proactive civil society. I believe that if something is not right, one should speak out, or act to change it. As a couple, my husband and I lived by that code and were active in community affairs together. I was the quiet gatherer of information. He was the negotiator, the voice, drawing in supporters with his gregarious nature. One thing was for certain, if there was an issue we believed in, we did not let it go. We were a formidable force. Together we could change the world.

My belief system crumbled with my marriage collapse. For a long time, I could not think of world affairs. I could not think of community. I could only think of myself. I was down on the floor in a reflective haze gazing at the walls thinking only about me. I felt that I had lost my inner compass, that I was not acting on my own beliefs. I was not out there contributing. I was not righting the wrongs. I was not speaking out. I was not standing up for others less fortunate. I thought it must have been us as a steadfast couple that gave me the energy to speak out and the courage to make a difference. I thought it must have been our professed shared values of peace, fairness, and respect for all, and the unity of sharing those values, that gave me my inner core of strength. I was so strong that I was able to stand up and speak out. I wondered what happened to those beliefs that we had stood for together. I wondered whether I only acted the way I did, and I only believed what I thought I believed, because he was beside me.

The truth was, at the time when I was down on the floor, I felt that I had lost peace, fairness, and respect at an individual level. If I had lost them at an individual level, and they were my source of strength and therefore my strength was gone, how could I help others?

I have now changed. My beliefs have changed. They changed when I was down on the floor. This is what I now believe.

  • I believe in me.
  • I believe I can change the world, my world.
  • I believe I can change my world, one decision, one action at a time.
  • I believe it is taking me a while to become the person I want to be… and that’s OK.
  • I believe that although my circumstances may have influenced where I am, I am responsible for who I shall become.
  • I believe that to find kindness, I need to act with kindness.
  • I believe that to find respect, I need to act respectfully.
  • I believe that to find fairness, I need to be fair.
  • I believe that to find love, I need to be loving.
  • I believe that to give peace, I must be at peace within myself.
  • I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences, and regardless of whether anyone notices.
  • I believe that I can become a hero in my own world, and to become that hero will be a great achievement of which I can be proud.
  • I believe that to find balance in my life, and be fully present in my life, means I will become that hero in my own world.
  • I believe that even before I become a hero, I can start changing my outside world, one heart, one person, one soul, one need at a time.
  • I believe in me.

What do you believe in?

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Foundations of Freedom – find my voice and speak my truth

” I was going to die sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you… Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest its personal. And the world will not end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will fall in love with your own vision, which you may never have realised you had… And at last you’ll know with surprising certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” Audre Lorde

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Here is part of what I wrote in my last post:

“We now have the freedom to vote, choose, express opinion, work and earn money, associate or assemble with those of our choosing, become educated, or be elected into positions of power… We are now free to pursue whatever we desire in terms of our dress, our leisure activities and our relationships with each other – in both the coming together or the breaking apart.”

I do not believe all that is true. It appears to be true. In reality it is not all true. I believe all members of our society do not have all those freedoms (of speech, expression, opinion, assembly, education etc). I believe every person in inter-personal relationships or in social groups do not have the same freedoms or power to speak as others. I believe they should have. One of my goals is to find my voice and to express my opinion and my beliefs on that. This is something that is burning within my soul. My desire to speak those truths.

That has become part of my purpose:

My purpose is to find my voice and to speak my truth.

 

 

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Images:Courtesy[stoonn]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Contribution and finding my new bike

 

ID-100176056.nongpimmyPersonal roles

Having spent 37 years pouring my heart and soul into being the very best wife and mother that I could possibly be, my purpose in life seemed to end with the ending of my marriage. This happened at a time when my younger two children were spreading their wings. My main two roles in life and the driving forces of my being were suddenly gone.

Work roles

With my world crumbling at my feet, I found that getting up every day for work gave me a sense of purpose. Having meaningful work to do everyday helped sustain my sanity the first year after separation. It also provided me with my sense of normality, as a link to my previous world, and the comfort of a regular routine.

About a year ago I had an epiphany. I realised in that instant the real meaning behind my work had been to provide for my family and that was gone. I resolved that I would change the direction of my life. The drawback to that decision was that it would take some time to logistically change directions and for a while it became a plodding painful process to keep getting up to go into work as my work no longer held meaning for me.

That turned around when I re-framed this current period as my ‘transition to my new life’ and set myself some goals for my transition. One of my transition goals became ‘dignified management of our business’ while-ever it was retained. In that change of focus my daily work shifted sharply from being something that provided me with comfort and stability to one that provided me with an avenue of contribution. Without realising it at the time, my own needs had moved up from the self-focussed ‘I need protection and comfort’ to ‘I need to contribute and give back to society’. In the period since, I have channelled my days at work into being a fair, kind and balanced leader. In return I have received a feeling of accomplishment and contribution.

Community roles

Prior to my marriage ending I had been active in the community by voluntary involvement in an environment group. In my distraught state after my husband left me, I resigned from the group and not not returned. During my cocooning period of reflection when reviewing my beliefs, my mind drew a blank when I reached world affairs I had previously been vocal about. I became concerned my underlying beliefs had disintegrated and I was apathetic and uncaring. I now understand that in my state of crisis, I had to focus on my own survival as a priority. I had to heal myself before I could again begin to help other people.

About a year ago, I found that I had begun again to read articles about national and world issues. It was a defining moment for me. Gradually that moved to reading books, exploring websites and contributing by making comments on other’s blogs. That gave me a feeling of making a contribution, even in a small way. This has fed a growing strength inside me of my need to ‘give’ shifting slowly away from my basic need to ‘receive’ comforts.

My new role

One of my prime instincts within me is a need to care for others. This need was satisfied in my roles as wife and mother. The hole left for my nurturing instincts by my marriage collapsing was deep and painful. I felt my very purpose in life had disintegrated. Whilst I have since channelled those caring instincts into being the best mother, grand-mother, daughter, sister, friend and leader that I can be; I know that is not enough. I know that I have to move on to helping people less fortunate than myself.

Last post I wrote “With the best of intentions of picking myself up, fixing myself up and getting back on the bike; I have come to realise that it is not me that needs fixing, it is the bike.”

My old bike (my drive) was being the best wife and mother that I could possibly be.

My new drive will be to find my voice and promote human welfare.

That will become my new bike.

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ImageCourtesyOf[nongpimmy]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My life in transition # 5 – the aloneness of decisions

” Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” C S Lewis “The Silver Chair”

ID-10022566.Danilo.RizzutiChoices are not the same as decisions.

A choice is when there are two or more items on the shelf and you choose one.

A decision is the end-point and the thing you get to live with after the other choices have been discarded.

In its cruelest sense, I was the discarded item of choice. The decision was the ending of our marriage. The choice was his and he gets to live with his choice. I get to live with his decision.

I coped to a large extent from the consequences of his decision by making my own choices. For example, I chose aloneness over loneliness.

Loneliness was feeling sorry for myself.

In the early days post separation loneliness descended upon me.  I felt my whole world had collapsed and with it all those levels of companionship and support my husband had seemingly provided. Gradually I realised that comfort could be provided by other means and from other people. I even embraced aloneness as my companion and as an opportunity to develop my creativity. By doing so I have not let myself become enveloped in any further loneliness.

Aloneness is a state of being alone

Aloneness does not simply mean living alone. Aloneness is being the only one in exactly my position with my strengths and weaknesses, the only one with my inner beliefs and desires, the only one who can face my difficult moments when I feel most bereft.

When I was married all major decisions could be shared. Where to live, how to provide financially, which projects to become involved in. Now all those decisions are mine and mine alone. My problem now is agonizing over the consequences of any decision I make, making sure any decision is fair and reasonable to myself and others, and feeling utterly alone in the making of those decisions.

I realise now these are not my decisions, they are my choices – where to live, how to make or spend my money, and what to do with my time. I realise that I can enlist help from others in making those choices and I can take my time in making them.

In contrast my most difficult decisions have been mine alone and have not been made with choices laid out for me. They were not made after protracted analysis or at times of quiet deliberation. They were made at times of distress. At those times of distress, the raging turmoil within me grew so intense that the only choices I had were sinking into complete collapse or finding calm. I chose calm.

From the calm within the turmoil I made those tough decisions – alone and with yet with total conviction because I just knew they were the right decision.

Those difficult decisions have been to change myself, to face the truth and to live by my core values no matter what.

Any choice I make now will come as a consequence of those life decisions I have made.
In fact, for any seeming conflict I have within myself for any current choice I now need to make, I only need to look back to those decisions and the choice becomes an easy one.

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“When the pain of what we are living becomes greater than our fear of changing, we let go. When our fear of drowning swamps our fear of holding onto nothing, we start to swim”. Louise Gallagher

 

 

 

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My ‘turning sixty’ resolution … to live by my core values.

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As a younger person I always had a plan for the future as to what I wanted to do with my life. Each year my birthday resolutions would be a great list.of things to do and projects to embark on. So many of the things on those lists never got done. Likewise my life on a daily or weekly basis had always been one of never-ending ‘to-do’ lists all neatly categorized into work, family, self, and community; then sub-categorized further into urgent, non-urgent and pending.

When I turned fifty, I resolved that I did not want to focus anymore on what I wanted to do, but rather on what I wanted to be. This was an enlightening moment for me and included such things as being optimistic, assertive, determined, dependable, kind, and moral. Ten weeks after my husband left me I revisited those commitments, resolving to hold onto my core values and to develop a framework of principles and beliefs to live by. I did that over a twelve month period. I have set up a page with links to the posts on those reflections.

During that reflective period, when I came to ‘higher’ principles such as peace, freedom and democracy, I became stuck. Even though I knew I believed in those things and had openly stood up for those beliefs in the past, it seemed they would require from me such strength of moral conviction and character that at the time seemed quite beyond me. I even felt I may have lost those values. I know now that is not the case.

What I believe now is there are four levels of living by your own core values and these are:

  1. thinking (holding a belief or value)
  2. stating (resolving that belief is true by writing it down or saying it)
  3. committing (having a plan to act on it)
  4. acting on them.

Even the very best of us would struggle to act on more than one or two core values at a time; although several other values can be held one or two steps down at the resolution level. When I was back in the pain of grief it was taking all my energy to act on one value only and that was the value of courage. Two steps behind, I freely stated other values and beliefs such as kindness, responsibility and dependability; intending to act on them whenever i could. However, for the values very high up, it hurt to just think about them and, at the time, I could not think of any way I could act on them. They were held at level 1.

I have moved on.

At my sixtieth birthday celebrations with my family I spoke freely of all my values (level 2). When I came home I went one step further and committed to act on five of them: courage, kindness, fairness, responsibility and appreciation. I wrote down several ways of how I could act on those values and I drew up lists of those committed actions, what I resolved to do. I will be exploring those commitments over my next series of posts.

In some ways this may seem like going back to where I started from. Back to to-do lists, rather than to-be lists. However, it is different because the to-do lists are now underpinned by those to-be wishes. In my commitments I have added that little word …. ‘why’…. the purpose behind the actions.

As for those higher values?

1. Over the past six months I have seen myself browsing the internet and reading about world-wide issues that need resolving such as famine and poverty; I have engaged in discussions on issues of national and community importance with others; and I have commented on posts and articles. I have moved those values from thinking to stating.

2. Whilst holding every respect for those who commit to and act on global, national and community issues, I no longer consider those values are any ‘higher’ than other values. There is much honour in acting with grace and dignity throughout a personal crisis; or indeed acting with integrity throughout normal everyday life. I do not feel I have to solve world peace to live authentically as me.

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