A moment in time.

“I am invariably late for appointments… I’ve tried to change my ways but the things that make me late are too strong, and too pleasing.”  ― Marilyn Monroe

 

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I was planning to visit the children in Hobart, a four hour drive away. The spreadsheet file I had been working on had to be sent to my accountant by 11 am. When I checked it, I realized it had been corrupted. I spent an hour retrieving the previous saved version and retracing my steps to get it to the required finished product to send on. There were a few unexpected queries from work that needed my urgent attention. Time was marching on. The house looked like a tornado had hit it. I still had to have my morning walk, shower, dress and pack.To top it off I was fighting this tremendous pressure in my chest to make sure that I got away on time so that I could be there on time. This made me frazzled. As if reading my mind the children each sent me a text, urging me to make sure I left on time, to make sure I would be there at the appointed time for dinner. I became anxious at the texts. This was not a child’s graduation, a wedding, catching a plane, or a medical appointment. This was not a national emergency. This was dinner. When the third text came through, everything descended down on me and I sat down on the floor and cried.

It was a descent of my own making. I had not been able to put myself above the moment. I had let it get to me. I has lost control of this moment because of all the other moments that had gone before. It was all the other moments. They all came flooding back.

My life had always been that we must be on time.

I had lost so much of myself over the years due to worrying about being on time and often not quite making it anyway because of lost time in the worrying. ‘Come on, get ready. Quick, quick.’ I would never feel quite ready and would become flustered in feeling not quite ready, applying make-up hurriedly, leaving behind a mess in the kitchen, arriving to wherever-it-was-so-important-to-be-on-time all anxious and stressed.

When being on time counts, such as catching a plane or attending a medical appointment or attending to a national emergency, I can and do prioritize being on time. At other times, other things are more important to me. My priorities differ.

My preference is to always be there for people; either late or on time, I will be there. My preference is to finish what needs to be done over here so that when I get over there, I can fully engage in the moment of over there. My preference is to remain calm so when I arrive I can relax and enjoy the moment of now. My preference is to calm the distressed child, attend to the unexpected accident, take the phone call from a friend in need, mop up the spilled milk then try, as best as I am able, to get there on time. My preference is to attend to whatever I feel is most important, to take in my stride those ‘things’ that get in the way of plans and schedules. My preference is to remain calm and, if too many important things crop up, slip the ‘being on time’ to a lower priority – and not worry about it.

My values and priorities are important too.

The point is not whether being on time is a good value to strive for or not. The point is, it is not my value. It is a value that belonged to someone else. I became stressed and anxious by not living up to a value that belonged to someone else.

The reason that I was feeling upset now, was not because I may be late, or because I was overwhelmed by too much to do before getting away. I was grieving for those times I had violated my own values, for those times I had not taken the time to calm the distressed child, or mopped up the spilled milk, or taken the phone call from my friend and for those times when I was not there when I should have been because I was rushing to be on time to somewhere else for someone else.

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Image:Courtesy[olovedog]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Foundations of freedom – freedom from constraints

 

ID-100150920.Toa55 I embarked on a series of posts on foundations of comfort and in my last post ended up with freedom. The change was more than a subtle change in my thought process. It was profound. In thinking through what I require for security, I realized how much security constrains my freedom. Then I learned that freedom is not a thought process. It is a feeling. I know because that wondrous feeling swept over me when I was not expecting it and yet I recognized it as my long-lost friend and welcomed it in as part of my being.

There are three aspects to my freedom: freedom from constraints; freedom to act; and freedom of capacity. Think of me as a bird in a cage. In order to fly I need to be let out of the cage, I need to want to fly and I need to have the capacity or ability to fly. Without those three things, I cannot fly. I cannot be completely free. Today I will discuss the first aspect.

Freedom from constraints

To be free to fulfill my purposeful life I need the absence of constraints imposed upon me. Those of captivity; coercion; obligations; moral codes; guilt; mental turmoil; fear of danger, harm or pain; financial impediments; influence of other people; rules; restricted access; and attachments.

Some things on this list are not imposed upon me, they are imposed by me. I impose some of my own restraints. As long as I impose them myself, I can also remove them. I cannot enslave myself. The issue comes down to my ability to remove them. That ties in with the freedom of capacity which I will deal with in another post. For now, I will put aside impediments to my freedom imposed by guilt, mental turmoil, financial capacity and some of my own moral codes, and look only at restraints imposed by others or by my situation.

To be free, I need the absence from

I need to be free from fear of danger or harm. I am fortunate to live in Australia, a nation free from slavery, tyranny and oppression. Putting aside the political argument that for some that may not be completely true, I myself feel relatively safe.

I need to be free from pain. In order to be truly free I need the absence of this divorce process (my captivity), the business (my obligation) and the moral code of doing the right thing by others ahead of myself. These are factors blocking my total freedom at the moment. I am working on them.

I need to be free from the restriction of my own requirement for certainty. Only then will I be free to find my new creative self.

On the other hand, now being single, I am enjoying freedoms that I never had before, because –

I am now free from

I am free from the coercion to do things I do not really want to do. Previously I would not have called it coercion, I would have called it compromise. Whatever it is called, that obligation to fit in with another person all the time is now gone.

I am free from the influence of others blocking my ideas, opinions and beliefs.

I am as free as I can be from the control by others.

I am free from restrictions in the use of my space. I have free access to the whole house whereas previously other members of the family claimed that space as their own.

I am free from imposed limits on my free time. (Except when I impose them myself, which does not count because I can lift those limits if I want to. Note to self: stop restricting your own free time by finding more ‘must do’ duties.)

I am free from attachments. Now here is the turnaround. The first twelve months after separation I was grieving the loss of my relationship, my most precious attachment. Now I can see that the absence from that attachment will allow me the freedom to become my authentic me.

That is truly liberating.

 

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Image courtesy:[Toa55]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Life in Transition # 4 – Overwhelmed and Overloaded

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

Mark Twain

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One of the first emotions that I felt in the hours after my husband left me was panic. My mind was in complete turmoil as I battled despair and hurt from the betrayal, sadness at my lost past, and fear for my future. Feeling completely overwhelmed I compartmentalized my pain and deferred major decisions. I put those into metaphorical boxes and shut the lid tight. Two years later I was having to open those boxes. The difficulty in facing those decisions had not subsided, not one little bit. I was feeling overwhelmed again.
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Overwhelmed is when you think you cannot cope and you spend much time in worrying about not coping and the fact that you are feeling overwhelmed.
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Overloaded is when you genuinely do have a lot to do and cannot physically do it all.
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I was suffering from both.
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As I descended further down into another well of despair, the message I was receiving from loved ones was ‘stop worrying, it will all work out’. Then one day the sage advice given to me by my mother was different. ‘You have to face whatever it is that needs doing and get it done’.
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In a state of near implosion one day I found a place of quiet and realised that my mother was correct. I took a moment to learn how to breathe again (instead of panic) and then wrote down all that needed to be done. The list shocked me. I was definitely overloaded. I was in this transition state. I was still battling emotions of losing my past. I was forming my vision for my future. In my present, I was connecting with my loved ones scattered around the globe. I was trying to do something for myself to make me feel good about myself. I had a lot of responsibility in my current work that I could not delegate. Then suddenly – all at once – there were several ‘big’ issues that arose regarding the property settlement that only I could do. I felt I simply could not do it all. I felt so alone.
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Nevertheless, I had taken the first step by writing it all down.
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The next step – as hard as it was – was deferring my future to the future. I had to get stuck in and deal with the here and now. I took comfort from the fact that in the early days after my crisis I feared the future. Now I was looking forward to my future. To cope, I re-framed my property settlement tasks as steps towards my future.
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Next, taking Mark Twain’s advice above, I started to break each of those overwhelming tasks on my list into incremental steps. Then I started on the first step and I finished it. That first step, which was writing a quick email, only took me two minutes. It was not a major step but it meant that I had started. All I had to do was keep moving through each of those incremental steps and I could finish every item on the list. I felt invigorated
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I then went back to some of my business management strategies and prioritised tasks. I made sure that I started moving on the top priority tasks. Too often I became distracted with urgent less important tasks, and neglected the important non-urgent ones.
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For those tasks on my list that still felt overwhelming to me, I have enlisted some help. Over the three weeks since that first advice from my mother I have moved ahead and I have calmed down.

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My advice for anyone who is feeling both overwhelmed and overloaded is to start addressing being ‘overloaded’ first and write everything down. Writing down my list gave me back a sense of control and lessened my feeling of being overwhelmed. As for starting on that first step? That was empowering as it meant I had started on that first step towards the future I crave.
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You may want to read or try:
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Getting Things Done. David Allen
Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. Steven Covey.
Toodledoo: electronic To-Do list with priorities, goals, tasks, and sub-tasks.
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ImageCourtesy[Stuart Miles]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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My resources for pursuing my purpose

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama, Tibetan Leader.

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Having determined my purpose in life is “living to my highest self and inspire others to do the same”; and in considering how I may go about doing that; I found myself in a quandary when I came across the above quote. I thought I was supposed to find purpose and meaning in my life, then I would become happy. Now I read that I am supposed to find happiness; and then that will become my purpose. I became confused.

Here are another three quotes that added to my confusion:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” Richard Leider

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
Gautama Buddha

So in moving on, I had been wading through trying to work out my life’s goals and aims in order to fulfill my purpose and this had been proving a bit difficult when I became unsure as to whether I should be aiming for happiness or purpose.  (Message to self: it is far better to be confused about whether to pursue a life of happiness or a life of purpose than to be stuck back in pain, anger, despair, fear and turmoil.)

Then I came across this quote:

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”  Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Aah! Light-bulb moment. I think I will start from there – my resources. If I look at what I already have to work with, it may become easier to find out where I need to go.

My 35 years business experience has taught me that, whenever you begin a new project, you should always firstly look at your resources – in business that is infrastructure, money, and human resources. The next steps are to look at what resources are missing, fill in the gaps, then march on to completing the project. The initial step, however, is always looking at your resources; look at your starting point.

In my life’s direction it is a little bit back to front because I am not sure of my actual project and therefore my goals. However, I thought there would be no harm at looking at the starting point – at what I already have to work with.

This post is therefore outlining my new beginning, a first draft appraisal of listing what resources I already have. Later I will explore these in more depth and then move on to my goals. The first 8 in my resources list are my strengths. The last 2 are the people and the tangible resources I have in my life. The beauty of looking at all this from the point of view of my “resources” or the things that I have, is that it makes me focus on my strengths and my positive attributes and the people and tangible assets I already have in my life. This is a fantastic strategy of moving away from that dark place of grief and despair where I was focussing on my losses, my weaknesses and being negative towards myself….

In listing my resources, I have realised that I have got more to work with than I had previously thought.

Here is my list. .

My Resources For Pursuing My Purpose

  1. Character strengths
  2. Personality strengths
  3. Attitude strengths
  4. Talents
  5. Skills
  6. Education
  7. Knowledge
  8. Experience
  9. Support
  10. Security

Onwards and upwards to my new life with enthusiasm and vigour 🙂

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Image courtesy [jscreationzs]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Responsibilities ++++

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I started writing a single post on responsibility in June. Three months and twelve posts later I felt I finally finished the first step of writing about the responsibilities I have to myself and the journey I must take. Why did it take so long and why the focus on me? That was because, now being single after nearly forty years as a wife and mother, it was a huge awakening to realise that not only should I take responsibility for myself, but finally I could. All those years of putting responsibilities to others ahead of myself were gone. It had taken nearly two years for me to reach that point – of finally (guilt-free) to think of myself. However, once that door was open, the ideas flowed on and on – hence the twelve posts.

Nevertheless, much of my responsibilities to myself are still thoughts on paper, ready to be actioned when my goals have been set. Responsibilities to others on the other hand continue to surface and occasionally (well often actually) take precedence. These responsibilities are not to be forgotten along my journey. I decided to list them as a reminder to myself to be grateful for them, knowing that in having them I am a worthwhile needed person and I am not really ever alone. Those in italics are moments that have happened while I have been focussing on my own self in my writing. They are all part of my real world.

1. Family

I have family and responsibilities as a grandmother, mother, daughter, sister and aunt.

My second grand-daughter was born 3 months ago and I enjoyed the happy occasion and have had regular visits to help out. I have visited my daughter, mother and siblings interstate. I visited and supported my daughter a second time after a sudden death of a friend. Currently I am playing mother, cook, and chauffeur to my third son who had knee surgery a week ago.

2. Friends

I have friends who have remained close to me throughout my life and its ups and downs.

During my visit to my mother I spent some time with my best friend who had been recovering from an operation and helped her choose the pattern for her new lounge suite.

3. Business

I am responsible for the continued survival of the business, its clients and staff.

That is my daily life and I try my best to be a fair leader.

4. Community and Society

I am responsible as a member of society to contribute to community and humanity and to speak out for truth, justice and the environment.

I have been contributing to online discussions on peace and social justice issues

I voted at the federal election on Saturday. Yes, I know, I know I do not have a choice as voting is compulsory in Australia. However, I did have a choice. I could choose between the candidates and the order I placed them, and by doing so contribute to either Tweedle-dee or Tweedle-dum becoming Prime Minister of Australia (or not).
What a contribution I have made!!

5. Marital

I am responsible to my children and myself and to everyone above to keep sane during the continuing process to end the financial settlement between my ex-husband and myself as soon, as fair and as amicably as possible.

For some bizarre reason deep-seated in my brain I continue to be the one to keep striving forward on this settlement, the administrative burden of which continues on a weekly basis. When is is over, I will be able to apply more of my energy to points 1-4 above.

I have thought through on all my needs and all my responsibilities. Now is the time to set myself some goals.

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This has been the fourteenth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.
1. Responsibilities
2. My own needs
3. My basic needs
4. My health – diet
5. My health – exercise
6. My Home
7. My finances # 1 Sinking
8. My finances # 2 Survive
9. My finances # 3 Priorities
10. My finances # 4 Freedom
11. My joy
12. My contentment
13. My journey. Poem Ithaca.
14. My responsibilities to others

Image courtesy of [Smarned]: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Financial Opportunities of Divorce. #4 Freedom

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Assuming that I follow my own pep talk regarding facing my financial situation and dealing with it; assuming I protect my home, maximise my retirement savings and budget wisely; assuming I am able to move from a survival, to a modest, to a comfortable income; then in front of me – not despite but because of the divorce – an exciting world of opportunities are open to me. Now, being single, those discretionary expenses listed in my last post are mine alone to decide on.

I have choices.

I have dreams.

I have freedom ……………….

to do whatever I want………….

  1. Retire soon and be contented with a basic lifestyle.
  2. Work a few more years and relax in a modest lifestyle.
  3. Work a bit longer, save hard, and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle….. down the track
  4. Resurrect my previous career and work for a period in a profession that was lost.
  5. Reclaim my ‘me’.
  6. Become a new ‘me’
  7. Retrain and start a different career, in something I feel passionate about.
  8. Start a new business in something I feel passionate about.
  9. Sell my home, down-grade to a smaller home, and enjoy making my home my own.
  10. Move close to the beach
  11. Or into a city centre
  12. Tip most of the difference in funds from down-grading into retirement savings.
  13. Sell my home, invest the money, and volunteer abroad for a year.
  14. Use some of my funds from down-grading my house on a **FANTASTIC** holiday
  15. Buy a van and travel around for a year or more.
  16. Become more involved in charity work.
  17. Visit my children, family and friends more often. YAY!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
  18. Write a book.
  19. Learn to play the piano.
  20. Learn, learn, learn about a lot of interesting things.
  21. Write about everything I have learned in life.
  22. Finish things.
  23. Walk along the beach 🙂
  24. Dance
  25. Watch the sunrise each morning.
  26. Potter about
  27. Count the clouds in the sky
  28. Do nothing. 🙂
  29. Speak up for what I believe in.
  30. Contribute to making a better world

Please of choices.

Wow….. what an exciting time is ahead for me.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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This is the tenth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.
1. Responsibilities
2. My own needs
3. My basic needs
4. My health – diet
5. My health – exercise
6. My Home
7. My finances # 1 Sinking
8. My finances # 2 Survive
9. My finances # 3 Priorities
10. My finances # 4 Freedom

Image courtesy of [BoinsChoJooYoung]: FreeDigitalPhotos.net