Categories
time trust

Time Poor?

This photograph of my dog has no relevance to this post – apart from him never being time poor or time rich – but it for one of my readers who told me how much she loves my posts but especially the ones with photos of Renly, who she knows personally!

I was a meeting the other night and there were people there who kept saying they were “time poor“. I had heard the expression before but not really engaged with it. I think what they meant was they were doing lots of things and so were busy.

I response in my head in the meeting was to think that maybe they should be thinking about what they are meant to be doing and asking their hearts if this was what they should be doing. And then my next thing was to want to boast and say that “now I’m healed/healing I am time rich“. But then I realised that both those responses are wrong. I am comparing and being proud. Neither of which is being respectful to the people I was with who are working really hard for my little town.

As I pondered it and did some journaling around my thoughts I realised I often panic that I don’t have time to do things and that this is what is stopping me getting some work that I should have because I’d be great at it. But I am also worried that I won’t have that allusive “enough” time to do all I think I ought to be doing. So in reality I was no better. I still think I could be “time poor“.

So more listening to my heart, listening to God who Created the Whole Universe, listening to the Universe. Then I realised that if I listen to my heart then I do have enough to do each day the things I am meant to do each day – whether that is keep house, run workshops, visit an ill friend down south to relieve her husband, see my mother, have coffee with my friends, be in school to do the things I am great at doing there. I will do what I am meant to do with the energy and time I need to all that.

So not “enough” as in the worrying that there isn’t enough but trusting that each and every day what I choose to do from listening to my heart will be what I am meant to do, and that I will not do too much or too little, will not be too busy, too time poor, but will glide through calmly knowing that I am being what I’m meant to be with enough time, energy, resources, experience, etc that I need. And then like my little dog I can enjoy the moment, seize the day, and live life to the full of who I am and what I love to do.

An aside – too often we see “living life to the full” as being super busy, but I am finding that the more I listen to my heart, to God, to the Universe, the more I am filled with deep joy, deep contentment, deep peace and a freedom to trust, the more I know that I am living life to a fullness that I never had when I was busy.

Categories
respect unconditional love

What Does It Look Like To You?

Newborough Beach Boxing Day 2022 taken by myself

Who has not looked at clouds and seen shapes, dragons, spaceships, incoming rain, promises of sunshine? The worst thing is when someone says “no that’s not right”. It is your imagination seeing the things. You know they are just clouds but are enjoying what you are picture.

I was thinking about both Respect and Unconditional Love and thinking they can look different to each one of us. I don’t think there is a one size fits all of respect or unconditional love.

I was walking with someone this morning who is struggling with something and I felt I had got the handle on it, but just as I was going to say my bit she said how hurt she’d been about people telling her why they thought she was dealing with this. I closed my mouth and listened to her. I did not say these friends of hers were wrong. I did not say they were right. I did listen and say that her feelings were her feelings. I gave her the respect she needed at that moment in time. Perhaps I could say I did not feel respected because I didn’t have my rant but actually that would not have been kind and helpful to her.

Perhaps Respect and Unconditional Love come when we lay aside our needs and wants and listen to the other person. Perhaps if we believed we were loved unconditionally by God, by the Universe, by something more than us, then we could let go of our needs and allow others to feel respect, to feel really loved.

How will this work with those who are striking? Who are asking for more money but who say they feel their jobs are not being respected, are not the caring jobs they signed up for? Money is not the answer if they are still expected to work in the conditions they are working in. Those in government, those in management, those with power, need to bend a bit, show these people they are important to the workings of this land.

I wonder if those in power, in government, in management, also do not feel respects, do not feel unconditionally love. How often does the media run down the government? With the latest words for the Prime Minister all that followed was complaints and criticisms. How would we all have felt if we put forward an idea and got it slated? But then those lower down do not feel respected.

So how do we change? One of the things that strikes me with the Lord’s Prayer – which I don’t think was meant to be read parrot fashion but was a serious of ideas we should be looking at – in “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” that this means us. You and me. For that to happen we need to be giving respect, giving unconditional love, listening and respecting the person we are with at the time, caring for our planet, our world. Caring firstly for those nearest to us.

If each of us showed respect to the person we met and then they showed respect to the next person they met and so and so forth, but the end of the day so many people would feel better about themselves, and I think towards each other. I don’t think it is about “making people Christians” but is about showing unconditional love, showing respect.

You know Jesus never told anyone to convert. He did tell them to change their lifestyles but he also showed them respect, unconditional love, and told them that the Kingdom of God, that true place of peace and deep joy, was nearer than they thought, was actually deep inside of them, but sometimes they just needed to let it out. And letting it out comes, I think, knowing our self-worth comes from within not without, that we are loved by something so much bigger than ourselves and that we have nothing to lose by being nice to others.

So today I will try to believe I am loved and respect and pass that on to others. That I really do not have anything to lose by being kind.

Categories
dog trust

Lessons From My Dog

Renly enjoying the beach. Cornwall August 2022

My dog is now 11 years old but he doesn’t realise it which is why you can see him leaping around like a puppy here on the beach. My dog, like most dogs, loves life and makes the most of things.

It struck me on New Year’s Eve how much I could learn from my dog. Renly is frightened of fireworks and has got more scared as time has gone on. But he never worries about it in advance. Around the beginning of November he sits cuddled on my lap as the world explodes outside and then goes to sleep. Because I’ve been full of flu I was in bed at 10pm on 31sst December, with the dog asleep by my side. We woke at midnight to the fireworks going off. He trembled next to me. The fireworks finished and he went back to sleep. He did not stay awake and worry about whether that was it, whether there would be more, whether things would be more scary. He went back to sleep.

There are other things he is afraid of – like big dogs. He was attacked twice by big dogs and so when he sees them he barks loudly at them. But he isn’t anxious before he goes out worrying about who he might see. Every time we go out he is so excited to be going. There is no fear of being attacked, of seeing someone he doesn’t like. Yes he is fearful when he sees a dog similar to the ones that attacked him but it is only in that moment.

So Lesson ONE – don’t be anxious about anything.

Lesson TWO – only worry about what is happening at the time. Deal with the moment and then move on.

Even when out he doesn’t stay nervous after seeing a big dog, or after hearing fireworks, or being frightened by some noise. The fear is in the moment, dealt with and then he moves on to the next part of the adventure.

Lesson THREE – is trust the one who cares for you. With the fireworks Renly fully trusts that if he snuggles up close to me that I will look after him and even though I don’t make the noises go away I am there for him. On walks he can be loud and barky towards these big dogs because even though there were two occasions when I didn’t manage to step in in time every other time I’ve been there for him. And even with the two occasions I did stop things getting horrid. I need to be trusting God and the Universe like that. Knowing that yes sometimes bad things to happen, but that I can snuggle under God’s wing and be protected by them. I don’t have to sort the world out on my own but can just stay safe and out the way.

So my intention for this year is to become more like my dog – to live in the moment, to not be anxious about anything, deal with things as and when they are happening but not outside those times, and to trust that God/the Universe has my back and that I can trust in my heart in all things, leaning into God when I need to and knowing they are there for me.

Categories
signs Slow down

Signs Part Two

Yesterday I spoke with my youth group about the Wisemen and about Signs and from that felt I had to do a follow on post from what my co-leader said. I love my youth group because there is no us and them but we all chatter away as equals, just some of us have been doing it longer than others!

Why did Herod’s chief priests not see the signs of Jesus’ birth? I think it was because they were too busy. They were trying to please Herod, fit in with the ruling powers, fit in with each other, do “the right thing”, and were following the status quo. Maybe too they didn’t want to look because it would unsettled the lifestyle that, even though they might not have been comfortable with, they were using all their energies to fit in to.

I think too often even if we don’t like something we try hard to fit in, to stay with it, because it is all we know. Too often we don’t get healed because this is all we know. There is a story where Jesus says to the blind man “what do you want?” and it is obvious. But actually it could have been that the man was used to his lifestyle and actually might have said cash. Peter and John, after Jesus’ resurrection, say to the crippled man “silver and gold we don’t have” as though maybe that was what it looked like he really wanted.

Last night got me thinking – how often are we too busy to look at the signs? Not because we don’t want to know what is happening but because we are too busy, carrying too much trauma, believing what we see and read on the news, on social media, from our friends. We allow our group, whether that is friendship group, church group, work environment, even our towns we live in and our good projects, to be where our energy goes. We do not sit back, slow down, gaze at the stars, try and put together what is the Universe saying, what is God saying.

Last night the comment was made about taking time out to pray to know what one was meant to do, but it was followed by the comment “and then we would find other projects to fill our time”. As if the whole point of clearing diaries, finding out what we were meant to be doing, was so that we could take a bit of time out before filling things up again. But really maybe we need to stop and just spend some time looking at the signs, and the going to worship the miracle God might just be doing that we are too busy, like Herod’s chief priests, to notice.

We need to not just slow down for a season but only walk out in what our hearts, the Universe, God our leading us into. Can we do it? Or will it fall to someone outside, as it did with the wisemen, to notice what is really happening? To come into alignment we need to go much slower.

Categories
honest open

Say It As It Is

Beach at Rhosneiger, Angelsey.

It is that time of year when I slow down on my postings. I’ve got a job freelancing in a local high school and potential for another one. That means lots of prep and lots of waiting for funding to be approved. I find it quite tense and I have to honest with myself about that. There is no point saying I still feel creative when actually my head is elsewhere. Also with Christmas coming up I get a bit panicky about it. Silly things like feeling like I don’t have enough time to do what I need to do, see who I want to see, buy the gifts I’d like, etc. So again I have to be honest with myself.

I have just read “My Brother’s Name is Jessica“, which is about a younger brother dealing with his feelings about his older brother wanting to transgender. The parents are busy with the mother’s career in politics and they want to pretend nothing is going on. The part that, for me, opens up the whole story is when Sam shouts at the journalists who are asking probing questions about Jason, the older brother, “My brother’s name is Jessica“. I was on a train and I sobbed. For me it was then that everything comes out into the open. There is no more hiding. No more pretending everything is alright. Everything is in the open. It is at that point that things change. I won’t say any more because it will spoil the story and I would say this is a “must read”. It is one of the few books I have read this year in one sitting.

Too often we try to hide things, pretend everything is alright, hid the truth. I was working some 12-13 years old kids the other day and we were looking at the Stevie Smith poem “Not Waving but Drowning” and how too often not only are we drowning but smiling, but also we often pretend that other people are just waving so we don’t have to ask how they are, don’t have to be open with them. As with the novel it was not just that the rest of the family didn’t want to understand what Jason/Jessica was going through they also had things in themselves they didn’t want to look at.

I think sometimes we do worry that if we are open about how we feel that we have to live out that. So say I say that I feel sad/angry/jealous [those are feelings I often have to deal with especially this time of year] then maybe I worry that I can’t then be happy/content, etc. But, as I’m sure I’ve said in another post, it is possible to acknowledge our feelings, the feelings of others, but it doesn’t mean we have to “live on that island”. All of us live with nuances of a bit of this and a bit of that. It is also why I don’t like to call feelings positive or negative feelings. They are just feelings. Being angry is as true a feeling as being happy. They are both full on real feelings that come from a place of me and what I carry. But if I hide those and then wave away then I am pretending even to myself that I am not really drowning.

So like Sam with his feelings of what is going on with his brother/sister let us be open and say it as it is. Let us be willing to say “I love you because you are you but I need some help getting my head round why you are doing what you are doing“. Let us being willing to say “this is hard work and I need some help because I really want to get some understanding around this“.

Let us all learn to be honest, to say it as it is, but also to know we don’t have to live isolated on that island of confusion. We are all able to change, to learn, to move onward, and to love each other and the process.

As the sea will move over those rocks in the above picture and will change the way the beach looks as it moves the sand, stones and wares away the rocks, so we can move, change and be smoothed if we allow God/The Universe to roll over us. And also to reach out to each other. We are not alone in this, but it can feel like that if we keep quiet and pretend that we are waving when in fact we are drowning.

Categories
Captive thoughts

Take Every Thought Captive

Photo by Anna Bondarenko on Pexels.com

This post title is taken from 2Cor 10:5 which says “take every thought captive”.

I heard a sermon once about how we were to spear each of those thoughts, capture them, so to speak. And I’m sure there was an analogy of standing in a river trying to spear those thought like someone spearing fish. So you had to get a good look at that thought, spear it and then fling it away.

A friend and I were talking about spearing our negative thoughts over coffee yesterday and we both seemed to have the same internal picture. But we both realised that as we did the spearing so we gave those thoughts a good look, even examined them to decide if they were good or bad thoughts. Sometimes we even chewed those thoughts over before casting them aside and even once cast aside we might still give them another good ponder, poke them around a bit, see if they were still edible.

But that was not doing either of us any good. It also wasn’t helping us to live in that true peace and joy of God. In fact keep looking at these captured thoughts doesn’t mean giving them a poke afterwards. I don’t think it even means judging those thoughts. But I also don’t think it means ignoring them.

To be honest with ourselves we need to acknowledge that some thoughts, which come from things people have said to use or done to us, trigger traumas, trigger feelings, that if we don’t acknowledge will fester inside of us.

So if I just throw away those thoughts that are painful and don’t acknowledge that it has caused a reaction then I am cheating on myself and actually could go on to doing harm to myself, my relationships, my future. But also if I pick and poke at that thought, work out who is to blame for me feeling/reacting that way then I am also going to do harm. The person or situation that caused that thought may not have meant how I reacted to it. So if I chew on that thought again I will cause harm to myself, my relationships and my future.

So what are we meant to do with these thoughts if we can’t attribute blame, cant judge, cant investigate, can’t throw away? I think we are meant to accept them as our thoughts, notice and acknowledge them, accept this is what we are feeling/how we are reacting, etc to whatever, and then hand them on to God/the Universe/a High Power.

So whether is it the craziness of the UK political situation, fears of covid, fears about economy, global warming, education, etc, etc, worries about what to do in our future, … [add your own] , we acknowledge openly to ourselves this is how we feel, these are the thoughts that have swum through the river of our mind are ours, and then we capture that thought and pass it higher.

As the song in Frozen goes “Let it go, let it go“. But don’t just fling it away. Instead hand it onward to that higher place/person/being that can handle it.

Here is a piece I wrote on a similar vein 4 years ago. It is interesting that my thoughts haven’t changed much, even if I didn’t remember writing the piece. Taking Thoughts Capitve

Categories
joy peace

True Peace, True Joy

Sunrise over my local park. Taken by myself Oct 2022

There is some stuff going on in my life and I spent half the night planning my speech to say what I really thought, talk about my hurts, my fears, etc. I felt I had a right to say this. Funny how we are brought up that way. And then go on to do some self improvement stuff which talks to us about firm boundaries, being honest, our rights, etc.

Well for me about 5.30am I felt an almost audible voice asking me why I felt the need to say what I felt, why I needed to put over my point of view when in fact no one has asked for it. So I chewed this over, noticed a few repeated patterns that I thought I’d dealt with, and then asked what I could do to change.

What came to me was Philippians’s 4:7 “The peace of the Lord that transcends all understanding” So being me I journaled around that.

What came up was that that real joy and real peace are there for us no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter what we are feeling. It doesn’t mean that we deny our feelings. Often living in that total joy and peace of God/the Universe we can be more open and honest with ourselves about how we feel. In fact I googled an article around this and the writer said how they go walking with their anxiety rather than trying to hide it, and this was from a piece that started with the Phil 4:7 verse.

How would I describe that total joy and peace? I don’t know. All I can say is that I know it is there. I know I can tap into it whenever I want to, though often I don’t try to – which is when I say what I shouldn’t or do what I shouldn’t and let my fears, issues, self-righteousness, hurt others.

The whole point of something “transcending our understanding” is that it transcends it, which means we cannot and should not try to understand it. What would be the point? It makes no sense to be fearful but at peace, to be grieving but feel deep joy. But then what would be the point of understanding everything?

It is great to have mysteries and as a Christian I do not want to understand all that is God. I do not want to be able to figure God out. Well what would be the point of that?

I have to trust in God with all of my being, not understand God with all my being. I have to let go of my need to sort it all out, of my need to be right all the time. I think if we all lent into a higher power of some sort, let go of our need to control each and every situation, let go of our need to figure the whys and wherefores of everything and just accept that somethings just are.

So today I am accepting that no matter what is going on in my life I am going to walk in a place of peace and joy that is bigger than I am, that I don’t understand, and that is ok.

Categories
Straight Wait

Trust

Me and my dog on a walk alone at a local nature reserve getting some down time. Photo taken by myself, Diane Woodrow, mid July 2022
Llanfairfechan taken by myself July 2022

I don’t normally fill my posts with bible verses but for the past few days these Bible verses has been buzzing about in my head. Firstly –

Trust in the Godhead/the Universe with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all you do and God will make your paths straight

Proverbs 3:5-6

There has been some stuff going on, and still is, that I’m not 100% sure about. But this verse, one that gets handed out regularly to those who are just starting out on their journey with Jesus, keeps buzzing around. And I have realised something …. It doesn’t mean just acknowledge the Godhead in the Christian activities you do, the things you think are “good” things, but it means acknowledge God in EVERYTHING YOU DO.

So that means in work, in family life, in church life, in therapies, in sport, in walking the dog, in making meals, in talking with people, etc, etc, etc. Now that doesn’t mean dropping God into all things, or even trying to be “holy”, whatever that means. I think it just means remembering and knowing that God is in all that you do – almost whether they are acknowledge or not. But it makes a huge difference when they are acknowledged.

For for instance I was somewhere and things were not going as I would have like and I was feeling a bit tense, but once I took myself off, did some deep breathing, did some remembering of the QEC things I had done and making sure I placed my whole trust, not just a bit of it, in God’s hands I felt so much calmer.

From there I acknowledge God in all that was going on and let go of what I thought was right and proper [my understanding] and from that moment things just went smoother. And things can only go smoothly if the path is straight and level.

Ok I had to keep coming back to that point of breathing, of remembering the QEC stuff and placing my trust in God not in my understanding, but each time I did I felt more at peace.

It did not change the situation but it changed my heart, changed my direction, changed what I was thinking and feeling.

Now I stand at a place where I feel I am waiting for something to happen. I can either wait for doors to open or I can volunteer for things and fill my time. Whilst pondering this another bible verse came to mind

Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths. Ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your soul

Jeremiah 16:6

And I feel like as I am trusting God with all my heart and acknowledging them in all my ways so it means I have to stand and look and ask. I don’t know what my ancient ways are, but I do know that I’d love to go and do whatever gives my soul rest.

And I don’t think rest means doing nothing. I think it means doing what we are meant to do, doing what keeps us in flow, what gives us life.

So volunteering might be the right thing, waiting for doors to open might be the right thing, getting my writing out there might be the right thing. But for now I am going to stand, wait, ask and trust with all that I am, that God will let me know and give me peace as to which way to walk; that I will see those straight paths.

Categories
gratitude hospitality

The Wild Hospitality of God

Pensarn beach, near Abergele. Photographed by myself Diane Woodrow
Taken this morning on my walk

I walked on the beach this morning, powerful waves pounding the shoreline [this picture does not do that sound justice at all], strong wind whipping my hair, images from the James Webb telescope in my brain, pondering the wild hospitality of God, because that is the latest topic on Godspace and I’ve been trying to write a post for it.

It amazes me that God gave us this earth to do with it as we wish, and it often looks like we have just trashed it, tamed it, worked it how we want, abused it. How often have we been disappointed when we have given someone, be that family member or friend, something special of ours and they’ve not down with it as we would have hoped? Don’t know about you but it makes me reluctant to give again. Yet God knows the beginning from the end because they are outside of time and place and yet still gave us this amazing earth. Now that is wild hospitality. But God also gave us the whole universe; too far away for us to trash, change or abuse yet there for us to marvel at and enjoy.

HOSPITALITY the act of being friendly and welcoming

Letting us, even once we have abused the gift we were given, be able to hopefully restore it, but also to be able to marvel at those awesome pictures from the James Webb telescope, sunsets and sunrises, a new born – whether human or animal, trees growing and changing, insects, I could go on and on. So much to wonder at, so much to explore. So much to show how friendly and welcoming God is.

I know if I was God I would stop giving good gifts because of the way my gifts had been mistreated, but God just keeps on giving. And for that I am going to marvel at the wild hospitality of God, the awesomeness of God and the forgiveness of God.

And as Jesus finished talking to the man who asked who his neighbour was I will try and go and “do likewise

Categories
Flexible trust

Flexibility

Photograph taken by Diane Woodrow
View from a walk taken by myself

I had a plan on Friday. Sarah from Everyday Words had just started her series of prompts for Write a Poem a Day in April because April is National Poetry month. My plan was to write from her prompts each day and post them through out April on both this website and my website, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, which I use to promote my writing workshops to get a bit of footfall through there. Well as you can see that did not happen.

Instead I got a job!!!

A friend of mine works in a local pub and is going to be off work for 4-6 weeks for a much needed operation. I’d been pondering about asking if I could do some shifts whilst she was off as things are quiet with regard to writing workshops, and was hoping maybe if my time was more focused I might just write more. Anyway I never got around to asking. But on Friday morning her and I were off out for coffee. She was having a quick chat with the landlord of the pub about something else when I turned up at her house and said “need to go as Diane and I are off for a coffee”. She was on speaker phone and he shouted “Diane, do you want a job?” So instead of going for coffee we went to the pub where I had a quick interview and started work that self same evening.

It meant that my head was in a bit of a different place and also I had to get done those things I wouldn’t have time to do. But mainly it was because I was really nervous about starting.

Funny isn’t it how I’ve been doing all this trusting in God/The Universe to sort things out for me and yet when they do it all of a sudden I go into a bit of panic – adrenaline. But also I did not go into sorting out my autonomic nervous system [ANS] but just allowed myself to be in freeze mode for a bit.

What this has showed me is that one’s ANS goes into fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode over change as much as over good/bad things. It is always there to protect us from the perceived dangers out there – which is great because I don’t want to be eaten by a lion – but also don’t want to be in high alter mode just about starting a new job.

Some of the panic was also because I had already planned what I was going to do Friday night and had to change that. No matter how much I talk about having flexible boundaries, of being aligned rather than set in hard stone, of trusting and going with the flow, I still like my safe routines, my knowing what is going on.

So once I had worked that out I was then kind to myself about how I felt, let expectations go and was able to really enjoy Friday night – even though some very drunk man decided to kick off and I got a pint of larger poured all over me.

I so love that life isn’t settled, that it is a learning curve and as Beth commented on another post “we are only human after all”.

So I shall enjoy learning, enjoying being human, enjoy making mistakes, enjoy knowing that I don’t have to stay in a state of anxiety and can more on.

Also with this job I am going to have to learn to go with the flow because it is Sunday morning and the landlord still hasn’t sorted the rota out for next week so I will just have to trust that it will all be fine 🙂

[Post for the Everyday Words prompts will start coming as from tomorrow 🙂 ]