Breakdown or Breakthrough?

In a world obsessed with the pursuit of happiness – an ever-elusive destination we live in a constant search of, but never seem to arrive at – having feelings that your life is moving in the opposite direction can be a very scary prospect. But is there something very necessary, honest and real about going through an apparent breakdown that could actually be an opportunity for a breakthrough?

Learning to cope, to be resilient and ‘keep it all together,’ are skills we’re taught to develop as children, with boys in particular feeling the pressure to ‘toughen up’ and ‘soldier on.’ Whilst these can appear like they’re serving us in the world and bringing the acceptance we’re desperately seeking, could this lack of expression actually be holding us in a prison of suffering, when being vulnerable could be the key to emotional freedom? Continue reading “Breakdown or Breakthrough?”

Appreciating the Role of a Housekeeper

I have been running a hotel with my husband for the past ten years and over these years have helped out in all departments for maybe a day or two when we have been short staffed or when someone calls in sick at the last minute. However, in the last two weeks I gave myself the task to fully support the housekeepers. I just jumped into the job doing whatever was required from cleaning the toilets, bathrooms, polishing, making beds, vacuuming, to restocking teas and coffees.

What I really got to appreciate is that there is only a short window of opportunity to prepare the rooms from when guests leave to when the next guests arrive, and in that time everything has to be done, from cleaning the room, to polishing, dusting, making the beds, fresh waters and topping up teas and coffee facilities. Once all that’s done, then the public areas need to be cleaned and finally the counting and bagging of all the dirty laundry. Wow, this is a task… with guests leaving at 11am and the next ones arriving by 3pm… not a long time between at all!

Continue reading “Appreciating the Role of a Housekeeper”

The Magic of the Mundane – Appreciation is the Key

In our world, it is common for us to appreciate almost exclusively the ‘big ticket’ items in life – the new job, house or car, the unanticipated windfall, the volunteers who help out in a disaster, the player who scores the winning goal for the team. It is, in my experience at least, rare for us to appreciate what we deem as insignificant or mundane events like enjoying a lovely meal or just a cup of herbal tea, for example. Such moments are relegated to the status of being merely incidental and instrumental in our pursuit of the big-ticket items.

Even rarer is it for us to appreciate qualities, those of others and ourselves, the exceptions involving social rituals like death, marriage, and graduation. Rather, our focus tends to be more on achievements and material acquisitions. Continue reading “The Magic of the Mundane – Appreciation is the Key”

Appreciation or Gratitude?

As a child I was frequently admonished for being ungrateful. My mother told me often how good I had it because I wasn’t born during the war (WWII) and that I should be grateful we had food and a roof over our head. In later years, our GP, the ‘family doctor,’ echoed this sentiment when he suggested how fortunate I was and how grateful I should be for studying at university at a young age rather than having to wait for years as he had, and once again because of ‘that war.’

And of course, there was much – and then some – to be appreciated. I remember the sun streaming in through the curtains one Easter morning, bringing the promise of Spring and warmer weather and Easter eggs. And even though I was ashamed and embarrassed at first, I appreciated and loved my godfather for pointing out my competitiveness in a board game. Nobody else had gone to the trouble and I would never forget.  Continue reading “Appreciation or Gratitude?”

Time, Life and Me – Now One and the Same

How often do we say “I don’t have time,” “If only there were more hours in the day,” or “I need time for me, everything I do is for everyone else”?

Common, tiring and ever so draining, constantly wanting more time, never feeling there are enough hours in the day to fit everything in. Our lives are so full of things to do and places to be, it makes sense we feel this way.

I can totally relate to all of this, as in the past I used to squeeze as much as possible into a day. Looking back, my days were gauged by how ‘good’ they were based on how much was achieved or completed. Continue reading “Time, Life and Me – Now One and the Same”

Workplace Abuse: Are You Being Followed?

For most of my life I was locked into complaining about the abusive situations in my life being unfair and unnecessary. It was my “Why me?” war cry. I felt picked on and bathed in a tremendous amount of self-pity at the personal nature of the abuse.

And yet abuse is experienced by all of us at one time or another. We don’t always allow ourselves to feel it, preferring to pretend that it isn’t there. Maybe we feel unable to deal with it or maybe we don’t want to deal with it, or perhaps it is so commonplace that we’ve just become submersed in its subtle ways. When the abuse becomes extreme, we often become much more motivated to explore what it might be about, because the tension in our body is so uncomfortable. Continue reading “Workplace Abuse: Are You Being Followed?”