That ad that was banned…

…please share far and wide!

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A strong woman

Everyone knows a strong woman. The one who things always seem to happen to yet she copes just fine! You admire her and say things like ‘I don’t know how you do it.’

Well consider this. She doesn’t have any choice. Some days there is nothing she would like more than to have a breakdown but she can’t afford to because there is no one to pick her up. She doesn’t have the luxury of a husband to share responsibilities with. She might have had one once but he was constantly telling her how useless she was and a waste of space. It took a huge amount of strength to leave that marriage. Why did she stay so long? Apart from being afraid of what he would do she thought she would be viewed as a failure.

She’s probably always laughing and joking because if she didn’t she would constantly be crying. Perhaps when she was 11 years old, 4’6″ tall weighing 5 stone it was the only way to protect herself from being bullied when she started secondary school.

Miscommunication

Lying awake in bed last night I wondered if I died how long it would be before anyone noticed. My children are all grown up now, the youngest left home in October last year. I wasn’t feeling morbid, more reflecting on how disconnected we are from everyone today and don’t seem to have so many meaningful connections. It’s easy to send a quick text, a social media comment or a message using a myriad of apps because we are too busy to get caught up in a real conversation. If you tend to be introverted like me then it takes longer to build up a meaningful friendship than ever. People are very quick to post likes and compliments but how many of them would actually pick up the phone to see how you are? One if you’re lucky. I may have about 500 ‘friends’ on Facebook – I did have over 2000 at one point but I only have a deep connection with a few of them.
We get a fleeting moment of pleasure when someone replies to our message but if we see they’ve read it and haven’t replied how hurt do we feel?
I had been on a retreat at the weekend where no one was using their phones or internet. I hadn’t met many of the people before and the rest I hadn’t seen for 2 years or more. Yet in some ways I feel more connected to them than I do my own family. If I don’t call my sons or my parents they are very unlikely to call me. I’ve tried in the past to leave it until they do but after a week or so I give in. So it would be a long time before they noticed I was gone.
If I didn’t reply to someone’s message or text they would probably assume I was busy as I do in the same situation. I think we are more nervous about calling people these days because we’re worried about bothering them. I go on regular retreats so again it would be several days before anyone noticed anything peculiar.

I mostly seem to talk on the phone for business or administration purposes only these days. It almost makes me hanker for the days when email was the preferred mode of communication. Anything is better than this.
So this week if someone texts or messages me I am not going to reply. No, I am going to pick up the phone and call them. I am not going to text or message anyone either. I going to call them instead. It will be interesting to see what their reactions are, if they even bother to pick up or call back if they are busy. Which is extremely likely – that they will be busy that is.
Reporting back next week…

Doing the right thing

Sometimes it’s not easy. I volunteer with a local charity. I’ve been doing it about 5 years now. It has been going for over 40 years and is entirely run by volunteers. Last year it won a Queens award for voluntary service too.

Our local MP – or ex MP as he is now until the General Election if he wins – is the Vice President of this charity. Oddly enough he turned up at an event on Saturday showcasing local volunteering organisations. I manage the social media for the charity and was sent a picture of him to post on the Facebook page. The charity is strictly a non political organisation and just over 2 weeks before the election this felt wrong. I thought about it further, and reflecting his voting record in the commons decided that morally and ethically I had to stand by my principles.

Not only that it felt disrespectful to all the volunteers who give up their time for no personal gain. He arrived at our AGM last year after it was finished and didn’t turn up at all to the presentation of the Queens award. How odd then that he has time now with an election looming (not)!

I do wonder how many people check their MP’s voting record?  Although he consistently votes for gay rights (surprise, surprise he is gay!) he voted against the promotion of equality and human rights – go figure! He has voted in favour of trident, military action, fracking, fox hunting and the bedroom tax and other policies that negatively affect the most vulnerable in our society and against allowing in more Child refugees.

I was discussing my dilemma with some Buddhist friends this evening and they agreed with me. It’s not always easy doing the right thing and going against the herd. I don’t always get it right but I will always strive the best I can to ensure the mark I leave on the world is mostly positive.

Not in my name.

Dear universe…

It’s one year on since I put out my request to be united with my soulmate. You did good and sent me exactly what I asked for (including what I didn’t want) but I accept that’s my fault because I didn’t put it in the positive. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process and I now love myself a whole lot more. I also have more clarity about how I want my life to look and what my dealbreakers are. 

So here is my request again – tweaked. 

Now I’d like to be in a loving committed relationship with my soulmate.  Thanks universe. 

Love Helen x

Love at first sight?

I confess I’m an incurable romantic. I love the notion of a man sweeping me off my feet and we fall madly in love. However I also have my feet on the ground and know that love is a verb and takes commitment from both parties.

I went out with someone a few times and at the end of the first date he said he thought there was ‘chemistry ‘ between us. I wasn’t sure but I knew I liked him as a person.

On the second date we were kissing and he said he hoped we could one day spend the night together and still be friends. I said no, I’m 53 and want a serious relationship so not until we have that. He was a great kisser but I was determined I wasn’t going to get carried away!

On the 3rd date we were having lunch and I noticed how blue his eyes were and his lovely smile. That evening I realised I was starting to fall for him. I haven’t seen him since.

He had said I had made an impression on him the first time we met in 1993. Which I guess is why he then pursued me 23 years later. I certainly remembered him and liked him but I didn’t fancy him. Besides we were both married to other people at the time so it wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

I wonder if he had built up this fantasy version of me and then he discovered I wasn’t perfect and a bit insecure. I’m not passing judgement – I’ve done it many a time myself. I’ve also fallen into the trap of falling for someone’s potential in the past.

So while there can be strong attraction at first sight love takes time to grow. I’m holding out for a man who is prepared to give it time too.

What are you searching for?

I would wager that everyone is searching for some sort of meaning in their life. There are probably as many ways of doing this as their are people in the world. Many are probably not even aware but everyone is motivated to do things that they think will make them happy. Even bad things. Because doing things that are unskilful (I prefer that to bad) can sometimes distract us from being with feelings, thoughts or emotions that may be painful or uncomfortable. Drinking or taking drugs is a prime example of this.

You see when I look at my life it has been pretty hard (by Western standards anyway). I was in an abusive marriage for 15 years and the abuse continued afterwards too, I am still single at the age of 53 having had my hopes dashed many a time, my eldest son is a homeless heroin addict and I have no idea where he is right now, I used to have a business and lost a lot of money in the crash of 2008 and had to sell my house to pay off some debts so I have no financial security (if anyone ever does), my ex husband died in 2014 so I am now my sons’ only parent, among other things. I am now consciously creating my life. I live in a beautiful area, I have enough money (for now) and some savings so I am richer than many in the world. But it’s not about material wealth for me, it’s about the riches within.

I would probably not have chosen this path if I had know differently when I was younger but all the hardships and good times have led me to where I am now. When my marriage became intolerable in 2001 I was so scared the only thing I could think of to do was to pray. I don’t believe in God in the Christian authoritarian sense but by praying – I didn’t really know who I was praying too – I found the strength within me to get out. It wasn’t easy by any means and I had 3 young children to think about too. What it did give me though, was faith, faith in something higher.

I have been studying Buddhism since 2007 and what I have learned from the Buddha’s teachings has helped me through many a difficult time since. I have learned not to take things so personally. Everyone is on their own journey and doing the best they can with the tools they have at their disposal. I was brought up in a Christian environment and now it all makes sense. I can see the meaning and symbolism instead of taking it all literally. I no longer want to be bound by the label of a ‘religion.’ Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist and Jesus wasn’t a Christian but we can learn from the examples they set. What I do like about Buddhism is that it recognises that everyone has the potential to become a Buddha.

We are all divine, spiritual beings. Human beings. The more we can let go and allow ourselves to be the more our divine nature shows through. We don’t need ‘fixing’, we don’t even need to search for anything. I now choose to radiate love, starting with love for myself. Love is the highest vibration. It is not weak, it takes strength to love. That’s why it’s hard sometimes, especially when we have been upset by someone else’s actions.See my previous post on forgiveness.

It is a paradox that when we reach enlightenment, we will realise that we were enlightened all along. I sometimes get glimpses of it in my meditation, that sense of pure love and light and peace with the world. That’s when I am reminded I can stop searching, I already have it within me. Of course I forget but one thing I always remember is to have faith.

Love to you all you amazing beings. Choose love, always.

Forgiveness…

… can be very hard but if we don’t we are the ones that suffer. Take a moment to think about a time when someone did something that upset you and you haven’t forgiven them. How does it feel? You see the think is if you are holding onto that resentment it hurts you, not them. Forgiving is not the same as forgetting or condoning someone’s actions. Rather it is recognising that they probably didn’t upset you intentionally and they are suffering too. Even if they did mean to hurt you it is because of their conditioning and chances are someone has hurt them.

I remember several years ago seeing one of the mothers of the children who was murdered by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – the moors murderers – in the 1960s on the news. This was over 30 years later she was still wanting revenge. I know what happened is probably the worst thing that can happen to a parent but she was the only one who was suffering.

Around the same time there was a bomb in Northern Ireland and amongst those who were killed was a 3 year old boy. His father, who had lost his only son, was being interviewed on the news. The interviewer asked him if he wanted to get back at the IRA for what they had done. His reply was, ‘No, because two wrongs don’t make a right.’ You see he knew that holding onto hate would only make him suffer even more than he was already.

I know I sometimes set high standards for myself that I fail to reach so I have to learn to forgive myself. I look to the example of the Dalai Lama and his attitude towards the Chinese. It is possible but if we still find it too hard to forgive others we can start by forgiving ourselves…

Loving a woman who knows her worth

A woman who knows her worth she wants a man who has his stuff sorted, especially by the time he reaches his  40s or 50s. She has been through a lot and has possibly been abused too so she is not there to rescue him. She already has a busy and fulfilling life and wants a man who will add to that.

A woman who knows her worth can’t be fobbed off by saying he is too busy. She is busy too but she will make time for a man she likes. No one is too busy to make a quick phone call or send a text. She has a full diary so wants to make plans in advance. She knows things come up unexpectedly so if he has to change those plans she would like him to let her know as soon as possible so you can rearrange. She won’t be upset and will have to do the same herself from time to time.

A woman who knows her worth she will always treat a man with respect. She will give him a second chance because we aren’t perfect. She does not want dramas from him, she has had enough of her own. If he changes his mind she wants him to tell her. She is strong enough to cope so there is no need to try and spare her feelings. She will be direct and tell him how she feels because she has the emotional capacity to express her needs. If he is unable to meet those needs she will walk away.

A woman who knows her worth will love a man like he has never been loved before. She is not perfect but she loves and accepts herself completely. If he loves her back he will be rewarded in more ways than he ever dreamed of. It may not always be easy but I guarantee it will be worth it.

Wishing you all love beyond your wildest dreams.