quotes

It's so Easy

It's Sunday and today I just want to share an inspiring thought with you. Pray sunday

It's so easy to go through life with our eyes closed to the beauty around us, to the great people who surround us and who help us in so many unseen ways.

It's so easy to focus on the negative rather than enjoy the positive.

It's so easy to fail to nurture our souls. For me, as a Christian, that's through prayer and meditation and Bible and other reading, but for you it might be something else.

It's so easy to forget to make the most of every day, forgetting that life is a gift.

It's so easy to fill our lives with superficiality and to forget to look deeper, beyond what we want and what we think we need to look good, live comfortable lives, be popular, find success.

However, while it's easy to do all this, it's also not that difficult to turn our lives around. It might take a little effort to get out of one mindset and embrace a new way of thinking and believing, but it is possible.

For many of us it could be a matter of trust and belief, perhaps in a Higher Being - I call that person God - or maybe even in ourselves. It could mean turning our faces away from some of the things, and even people, who distract us from being the person we long to be. That calmer, less stressed out, less materialistic, kinder person?

We might have to change our perspectives on many things, and it might be a life's work, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Let's set our hearts on the positive ahead of a fantastic week!

 


Let Yourself Rest

We're halfway through the month of May and it's the weekend!

If you've had a busy week, or a busy and stressful month or year so far, I just want to say ... 'maybe it's time to down tools and have a bit of a rest, if you are able!'

Now I know it's not possible to just turn life off but sometimes having a bit of 'downtime' does help with the stress and energy levels.

Those of you who have been following this blog will know that a month or so back I found myself, rather unexpectedly, without gainful full time employment as I left my job at the BBC when my contract came to an end.  And I headed into what I'm calling my 'New Adventure'.

Although at first I struggled just a little with not having work to do every day, and not having a 'routine' which was defined by productivity and work, I have to day I did quickly settle into my new lifestyle where I had less pressure to perform and deliver. I've enjoyed having a bit of 'respite' and being able to  concentrate on family life, and rest and meet up with friends and ... well just have a bit of fun.

I'm now gathering momentum again and picking up a few contacts and jobs ... I'm sure I'll be telling you about this a bit down the line ... but I'm so grateful for the weeks of 'R and R'. And as I'm now working as a freelance writer and broadcaster again, I'm determined to work on projects which inspire me and not cause myself too much stress in the future.

I found this quote some while back, and it's been perfect for me in the past month or so.

I HAVE turned off the news from time to time (previously, working in the media. it sort of dominated my existence at times) and I've had one or two days when I've done nothing. I was exhausted so I've rested and I'm learning to accept that I'm not defined by the job I have, the possessions I might not have, the way I look or even the way people look at me.

I am enough, simply by being 'Me'.

If you're in a bit stressed out and need to make some space for yourself ... hope this encourages you too!

 

Let yourself rest


All Shall be Well

There's a great quote which has over the years given me great comfort, especially during difficult times and periods of 'trial' in my life.

Julian of norwich quote May 13

The quote, as you may see. is attributed to a Christian mystic and theologian called Julian of Norwich and it wasn't until I actually moved to the 'Fair City' of Norwich in the county of Norfolk in England that I took the time to find out more about her.

Julian lived in the 14th century and resided for most of her life in the city, which has a history as a commercial centre as well as a place with a vibrant religious life. 

So the story goes, it was when Julian - possibly not her real name although we don't really know much about her - was aged around 32 when she became seriously ill. It was the year 1373 and on her deathbed when she received a series of visions of Jesus, or what was described as "shewings" of the Passion of Christ - visions relating to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

And actually it's on May 13th in 1373 that it's reckoned she received those visions which is why I'm thinking about this especially today.

Miraculously Julian recovered and wrote two versions of her experiences, one which we think was completed very soon after her illness and another written years later. The book was entitled Revelations of Divine Love. It contains a series of Christian devotions and thoughts.

Although she was probably religious before all this, it's thought the experiences eventually led Julian to become what is called an 'anchorite', or 'anchoress' living in permanent seclusion in a cell which was attached to a chapel known as St Julian's Church, Norwich.

Julian was not unique in her Christian calling and not the only person who chose this lifestyle. The anchorite was and is someone who withdraws from secular society to devote their life to intense prayer and the ascetic lifestyle where they choose a frugal life without possessions and 'sensual pleasures' in favour of spiritual pursuit and enlightenment. 

This choice to separate from ordinary life is not just a Christian concept, we find it in many religions but in the case of Julian and other Christians, becoming an anchorite ... a kind of hermit who stays one place ... was about a focus on the Christian Eucharist as well as prayer and devotion. Often these people became considered a kind of living saint. The earliest anchorites are recorded in the 11th century but by the 13th century when Julian was living, it's reckoned there could have been as many as 200 anchorites in England alone. The anchoritic life is considered to be one of the earliest forms of Christian monasticism and in fact some still exist today ... in the Roman Catholic Church it's described as one of the "Other Forms of Consecrated Life".

Regardless of the fact that she was separate from society, Julian did make an impact. Although she apparently preferred to write anonymously even in her own lifetime she was influential. There are surviving records of four wills in which she was named and there's an account by another celebrated mystic called Margery Kempe who writes about the advice and counsel she received from Julian.

While Julian remained separate, her 'anchorage' was attached to the side of the chapel so she was still able to play a part in the life of the church - she could receive communion and hear Mass. By the time she died, sometime after 1416, she had been in her cell for about 25 years!  

Although little known outside of Norwich and East Anglia in her lifetime and for many centuries,  Julian of Norwich's Revelations, including her second 'Long Text' in which she revealed a few personal details as well, have fortunately been handed down to this generation.  In the 17th century she became popular and loads of people translated her work. She did disappear from view for a while in the mid to late 19th century but was 're-discovered' in 1901 when a manuscript in the British Museum was transcribed and published with notes by an editor and translator called Grace Warrack.

Since then many more translations of Revelations of Divine Love  (which is also known under other titles) have been produced and Julian is now very popular. Her spirituality and thoughts and reflections appear to ring true with 21st century seekers after truth.   

Since 1980, Julian has been remembered in the Calendar of Saints in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on May 8th, and she is also commemorated on that day in the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the USA. While she has not been formally beatified or canonised in the Roman Catholic Church,  she is venerated by Catholics as a holy woman of God, and is sometimes referred to as "Saint", "Blessed", or "Mother" Julian.. In the Roman Catholic tradition her feast day is today - May 13th. And if you visit the magnificent Anglican cathedral in Norwich, at the West Porch you'll find a statue of Julian created by the local sculptor David Holgate and commissioned to commemorate the new millennium. 

There are many quotes from Julian of Norwich from her Revelations that have made it online but I still love this one more than others. 

Julian chose a hard, prayerful and thoughtful life but she was still a human being, a woman, and it must have been tough at times. Detached from the world, sitting in a cold cell in the perishing Norfolk winter and sweltering in the summer. Not following her own will, but that of God. 

Although I'm sure her resolve and faith were strong, she maybe at times did feel isolated and perhaps even, occasionally, wondered if she was spending her life usefully.

Most of us can recognise and perhaps empathise with those emotions.

So today I imagine Julian receiving this message and finding the comfort and peace and courage to move forward in life.

"In my folly, afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted: for then, methought, all should have been well. This stirring was much to be forsaken, but nevertheless mourning and sorrow I made therefor, without reason and discretion. But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." (The Thirteenth Revelation, Chapter 27)

 


The Hidden People

I've been thinking recently about how many people there are in the world who seem to be 'hidden from view'.

In a culture that appears to be a bit obsessed by people who are able to make a big 'noise' about what they do - including 'celebrities' who seem to dominate our media and social media and whom many people believe are the role models we should be following  - it is easy to forget that actually it is not THESE people who often make the difference to our lives.

During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and especially during the first  'lockdown' it seemed, for a while, we got away from all this. There was a real emphasis on and people really began to recognise the contribution to our lives of people who we may be inclined to take for granted. People in the 'background' who not only keep the wheels of our communities turning, but at the time were even putting their own lives at risk so that we could be safe.

You know who I'm talking about? The nurses and doctors and medics who looked after us when we were ill and dying. That band of brave hearts, and masses of volunteers who are now making sure we all get vaccinated against this dreadful virus! Then there were those who kept the shops open so we could still get essential supplies and those who kept transport going. Teachers who kept the schools open especially for the children of those 'essential workers', those who ran foodbanks and delivered provisions to people who couldn't get out. Neighbours who checked on the people around them, people who drew rainbows and painted on pebbles, just to make us smile and feel happy.

Every Thursday evening we clapped for those who cared for us. People really showed their appreciation for those who had gone the extra mile and had shown so much kindness.

It was so refreshing!

One of the things I hope will be a legacy of the pandemic is that some of that kindness continues, along with our appreciation of people who in the past may have been 'invisible' to us.

Time will tell if that actually happens or whether we'll go back to our old ways of just taking people for granted.

In the meantime, as a reminder to me, I share this thought which I have found helpful.

And I just want to say ... to all those who make MY life better, more comfortable and easier to live, even if I don't know who you are and what you do ...  THANKS! THANKS! THANKS!

Bless the hidden people


Savour Being Alive

It's Monday and time to start a new week.

Now sometimes, we know, we wake up on a Monday thinking 'Oh no, not another week!'

Well I do anyway!

All the things I have to do, all the tasks I have to complete, the deadlines I need to keep to. All the people I might need to please ... you know what I'm talking about.

But I saw this thought from S.C. Lourie on social media recently and it really inspired me to think differently about Mondays.

So here it is!

Hope it inspires you too!

Happy Monday everyone!

 

Start of the week


Let Go

In the last few weeks I've been stepping out into a new world.

I'm calling it my 'New Adventure'. The door on one job closed a bit unexpectedly and so I've been having to reassess where I'm at, and what the future might look like, especially workwise.

I've had lots of conversations, with myself and others, as I try to figure out what the future might look like, and a few have kindly reminded me that it's not the first time I've stepped out into the unknown and sort of 'reinvented' myself. Many have also been kind enough to remind me of the talents they believe I possess ... sometimes when your head is in a mess it's easy to forget that you DO have experiences and even gifts which you may have not used for a while but which are just lurking in the background ready to be nurtured again. 

It's easy to panic at times like this, to jump into another job because you think you have to be in 'proper employment' to be a worthwhile member of society. You know what I mean - clocking into work, going to the office, being part of a team.

Well maybe the past year of pandemic lockdown and restrictions has taught us that there may be a different way for some of us. And although, of course, I do need to work to keep life floating on and bills paid, over the past month since my 'proper employment' ended I've been slowly beginning to come out of a bit of a fog and now I'm starting to think laterally about what doors might open for me.

If you haven't realised it yet, I work in the 'media' and I'm a writer, and I've already picked up some fun writing projects. I'm having lots of conversations with people to see what might be on the horizon and I'm getting loads of great advice from family and friends, including one pearl of wisdom received this week.

A friend discouraged me from rushing into anything that ultimately won't make me happy, or which might even may make me 'unhappy'. And it made me realise that it's been a little while since I made that logical choice to only embrace projects and experiences which I feel enhance my life and bring me real satisfaction.

So, that's where I am right now. Still questioning, still musing.

And, because I'm a person of Christian faith, I'm still praying about it all.

Which brings me to my thought for today and a picture I saw shared on social media.

This image reminds me that sometimes, when one is stepping out into the unknown, it's easy to keep being dragged back by the coat tails by a 'previous life'. To be so tied up in your head with what you've lost that you forget what you might gain from a new 'adventure'.

So, today, I'm determined to look with optimism into the future, not looking back too much to 'what was' and trusting God for 'what is to come'. 

Completely in God's Hands!

 

Spiritual door


Before ...

I love an inspirational quote - but I guess you've noticed that by now. 

I can't believe it's four months nearly since we began this journey through 2021 'One Day at a Time'. And I have to admit sometimes it's hard to find something to say ... every day.

And then I find a quote like this online!

So today, here are some words of wisdom from a great American author - Ernest Hemingway.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Thursday inspiration


Optimistic Monday

The other day I was having a conversation about long distance travel with some family members.

It's been a LONG time since many of us travelled anywhere, let along to the far flung corners of the globe. The past year, especially, with the coronavirus pandemic locking us into our own 'space', even the shortest flights and boat trips  and even car journeys have been somewhat restricted.

But we can dream!

Anyway, I was saying that one piece of advice I received about long distance journeys by air sounds a bit weird, but it actually works, especially when you're travelling to somewhere which is in a different time zone  - say three or four hours 'behind' or 'in front' of home.

And it's this. 

When you get on the aeroplane, immediately set your watch, or your phone, ahead or behind to the time in the place which will be your final destination. In other words, start THINKING yourself into the time zone where you will eventually end up.

As part of this, I usually start to think of my meals differently. So although the crew on your flight may say it's 'lunchtime', in your destination it may be 'dinner' or evening meal time. Actually, to be honest, on very long haul flights I don't tend to eat masses at every opportunity. I find my digestion works better while flying if I keep to small 'meals' and lots of water drinking!

If you are travelling a long distance all this won't stop you feeling tired, that' jet lag' that many of us have experienced, but I've found it cuts down the 'disorientation' which you can feel, for example, when you land somewhere and instead of it being the middle of night (as it is 'back home') it's almost lunchtime. 

Oh, and the other thing I do is to avoid going to bed until it is actually night time in my holiday destination. When I travelled to Australia a while back we landed in Sydney around lunchtime and it was mid-afternoon by the time we reached our holiday home in the suburbs of the city. We were all exhausted and some of the family did have a nap but my niece and I opted to go to the beach, and although we were exhausted, because actually back home it was the middle of the night, we managed to survive until early evening and I, for one, had a good night's sleep. Again, it was a bit of mind over matter and it was such fun, although a bit surreal to be on a sandy beach in the middle of summer when just a day before we'd left London in the middle of winter!

Why am I telling you all this?

Well it's because it's the start of the working week, whatever that may mean for you, and I'm determined today to apply the same principle.

Thinking positively, thinking myself into the week ahead, not worrying about the things that I have to do or the long list of 'must dos' and meetings I have scheduled. Thinking myself into the week with optimism, believing I can handle anything that gets thrown at me and that life is great.

I found this image and it says it all I think.  It works for a Monday, but actually it can apply to any day! 

So - have a great day, and have a great week!

Monday optimism
 


Fearless & Free

This week I received my second COVID-19 vaccination. Which is amazing!

I wanted to mention it especially today, because April 24th is the start of the World Health Organisation's World Immunization Week. In the next week we're being reminded of the need to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. And at this time of a global pandemic it may have a more powerful message than ever before.

Covid thanks 2Here in Jersey the Government is cracking on wonderfully with getting everyone vaccinated against the dreadful virus and as a result, our coronavirus positive figures have plummeted.

We're still not out of the woods because as we relax some restrictions, and open our  borders to holidaymakers, other visitors and residents who want to leave the island, those numbers may go up again. However, with the protection of the vaccination I'm hopeful it will mean fewer losses.

There's no doubt that the past year has been awful. Not just for the lack of opportunities, loss of employment and 'freedoms' but also the loss of lives, among them some of my friends.

I'm also aware that Jersey and other countries like ours - relatively rich - are among the privileged in the world. SO many places on our planet are struggling to roll out vaccination programmes and to control the rise of COVID-19, especially with the different variants which are emerging. Which means that millions and millions of people are still unprotected, and still in danger.

So today, this week, I just want to thank everyone who has made vaccination possible, the scientists and visionaries who have fast tracked the creation of vaccines when usually all this takes many years.

SkyI want to say thank you to the Government of Jersey and all those who work and volunteer at our amazingly efficient Vaccination Centre at Fort Regent, the complex which sits above our harbour in our capital town of St Helier. From atop the hill you can see for miles across the town and the ocean - it's a sign of the wonderful life that's in store for us all.

And I pray that soon there will be equal distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines across the world, so that not just the privileged and rich nations will benefit, but everyone. The whole world deserves the privilege of the vaccine, the protection which comes with it, and the ability to move into the future fearless and free.

During World Immunization Week, especially, that message is so important! 

After having our vaccinations we are advised to sit quietly for 15 minutes, just to check we don't have any adverse reactions to the 'jab' and as I sat there this week, these words came to my mind ...

I am among the Privileged

On so many levels

But especially today

 

There are so many not so Honoured

On so many levels

Including today

 

So on this day 

I take nothing for granted

And trust that MY good fortune will  extend to others

TODAY

 

 


Choose Day

It's Tuesday. I saw this and thought it was fun!

Today I choose to be happy, to smile at people and to be kind! 

I choose not to be negative.

I choose to be positive.

Have a great day!

ChooseDay