Today…

Today is one of those days when I just need to remind myself why I do it…  *Give Me Strength*

 

Trying To Conceive

One of my dearest friends has been having difficulty falling pregnant, and last Friday, after more than a year of trying every which way, it was discovered that her eggs simply aren’t letting her husband’s swimmers in.  In some ways, that is kind of a relief – at least they know what the problem is now and can take steps to overcome that.

I particularly love that they are both keeping a sense of humour in the midst of so much emotional upheaval… which is why I think they will laugh at this very timely episode of Cyanide and Happiness.  And why I will continue to make jokes at her husband’s expense about his history of “breaking and entering” as a misguided youth.

The Heat Is On

Everyone is talking about global warming.  Pretty hard to ignore really when there’s a massive heat wave breaking all kinds of records in Australia and a freeze in the UK that is dumping snow in a usually snowless London.  You can’t really ignore global warming now… it’s here and it’s happening.  Question is, what are we doing about it?

I think there are enough blogs out there that discuss philosophically and literally what needs to be done.  Sometimes though, it’s the smallest thing that can make you realise just what the impact is likely to be in the future.  For me, it was a couple of photos below… the fact that humans are destroying this planet and while we go on about the impact on future generations (of humans), let’s just stop for a minute and think about all the other living things on this globe that don’t really get a say in how their planet is treated.

I just received this on an email…. 

It has been so hot in South Australia for over a week… 40+ degrees Celsius everyday, very dry also.

A guy lives at Maude.   His wife sent him these photos of a little Koala which just walked into the back porch looking for a bit of heat relief.    She filled up a bucket and this is what happened!

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Speaks volumes really, doesn’t it?  It’s cute yes, but also horrifying that an animal that would usually steer clear of humans is reaching out to them now for help to cope in these extreme conditions.

Makes me feel sick to think of all the carbon energy that was used in the last week with airconditioners…..

Say Goodbye to Meat

So on Monday of last week, as we drove home from a swim in my sister-in-law’s pool… my son bursts into uncontrollable fits of sobbing.  It scared me so I pulled over and asked him in a panic “what’s wrong?!?!”

In between sobs and sniffs, he tells me that he doesn’t want to kill animals anymore and that he doesn’t want anyone to eat meat because it’s killing animals.

I was a little taken aback, I had no idea where this had come from.  I asked him, but he was just too upset.  I asked him to tell me why he was so sad and he said, with the most conflicted look on his face “Because I like meat, but I can’t eat it anymore because it’s killing animals!”

I tried to offer the alternative of organic meat – that comes from animals that have a good life on a farm and when they die it “doesn’t hurt” (little bending of the truth…) but he wasn’t having a bar of it.  I reminded him that becoming a vegetarian means no more ham, no more bolognaise, no more lamb cutlets, no more chicken… and he was adamant – he wants to be a vegetarian.

So for this last week I have sat back and just watched whether or not it was a passing melt-down, or whether he’s serious.  And it looks like he has his mother’s genes in that once I make a decision about something, I throw myself at that decision wholeheartedly, and so has my son and being a vegetarian.

On one hand I am proud of him for the empathy and awareness he has for those around him, it’s such a beautiful thing to observe in someone so young and I hope he holds on to that trait for the rest of his life.  On the other hand it now poses a massive challenge for me in making sure that he gets enough iron in his diet and variety such that he can stick with his no-meat diet and not just slip back into eating meat just because he’s bored.

I am also quite comfortable becoming vegetarian myself if required, but Adam most certainly will not do that, so I need to ensure that we all have balance and the other unexpected factor in my son’s decision to become vegetarian, was trying to explain to him that while we all have the power to make personal choices for ourselves, we cannot force our opinions onto others.

Would love to hear advice from anyone that became vegetarian at a young age… or any recipes!!

Starting the year on karma’s good side

So this year I will be getting married, taking the trip of a lifetime with my new husband, striving for senior management status at work (and if that goes pear-shaped, falling pregnant instead) and before all of that, I am planning to jump out of a plane at about 10,000 feet.

With that in mind, I thought I should start the year out on the right side of Karma.  So on January 5th, I dealt with butterflies and nausea to walk into the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Southbank to donate blood.

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The last time I had any blood taken from my veins was over 6 years ago when I had my pregnancy test at the doctor.  I fainted in the pathology room  and had a massive bruise on my arm for ages afterwards.  So I warned them as I filled in the oodles of paperwork but they assured me that if I felt lightheaded or faint or weird in any way they would just stop the procedure immediately.

I was freaking out a little, which showed in the fact that my blood pressure dropped after the needle was put in and it took AGES to get 500ml from my little veins.  The machine kept beeping (to tell the nurse that the blood flow was too slow) and the people around me came and gave their blood and left in the time it took to drag 150ml from me!  But aside from that – I did it!  I am so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of blood to do a good thing.

I will be doing it again too, when I come home from my honeymoon and this time I will be registering on the bone marrow registry as well.

Reaping What You Sow

It’s been hard to keep up with my RSS reader over the Christmas break, we spent much of it away from computers and while I had my little fix of Facebook for mobile and caught up on a couple of my favourite blogs via the web browser on my blackberry, the service where I was staying was average at best so it was just all a bit too much effort.

So I was just about to go and “mark all as read” on my RSS reader because I can’t stand that little (1000+) sitting in the tab telling me how slack I have been, when the most recent post on A Buddhist Perspective caught my eye.

Cause and effect is a natural, universal law; as natural as a leaf floating down from a tree, as universal as night following day. Since causality is a natural law, there is no judge or ruling body that determines our consequences. Neither is there blame or anger.

Simply put, we reap what we sow. The seeds we sowed with our past thoughts, speech, and actions determined our lives today. And just as our lives today were caused by those seeds, what we think, say, and do today will shape our future.

I spent much of my holiday giving thought to a situation I find myself in right now that I never ever dreamed I would be.  I’ve questions the causes, the seeds I have sowed – my thoughts, words and actions – over and over and over in my head and also contemplated them with a couple of close friends.  And this passage just reminded me that no matter how crap I feel about it, at least I don’t feel anger or blame – towards myself or anyone else. 

Knowing we too have planted the seeds for hardship and suffering what can we do?

We can look around and decide what we want to continue and what we hope to never see again, and then determine the seeds for both. And we can understand that while we may not be able to change everything we wish; it is the right thing to do. We can then work to plant the good seeds as we create the conditions that enable those seeds to flourish and our bad to lie dormant.

By understanding that everything, even a careless word or unkind look, is subject to causality, we can ensure that all our thoughts and actions arise from the wish to behave virtuously and live compassionately.

And as I continued to read the post, I realised that this is exactly what I was doing this holidays – making some really, excruciatingly tough decisions that kept me awake at night and had me reaching for a box of tissues on more than a handful of occassions – but in doing so I was planting good seeds for the future and trying to look for the virtuous intentions behind the actions of both myself and others.

In 2008 I planted many seeds that delivered me incredible rewards and results.  My 101 Things in 1001 Days has been a positive and driving force in this, as has the therapy I have sought for both myself and my relationship.  Approaching life with an attitude of gratitude has opened my eyes to so many new possibilities and had a positive impact on the expectations I have previously placed on some of my closest relationships.  I’ve found new ways to feel empathy for people that I have struggled to understand for years, in particular my father.

One of the things that really warmed my heart over the new year was to see the number of visits to my blog from people seeking to write their own 101 in 1001, and to the 2nd most visited post on my site after this, those seeking to write a letter of gratitude to someone dear to them.

Here’s to everyone that is sowing positive seeds for 2009.  May you reap what you sow, and then some.

2008 Reflection

This is not actually a reflection on my year that was 2008.  That is all here already, in the posts on this blog.  This is more for the people I cherish who have had a totally different 2008 to me.  Those that have had battles and challenges they never saw coming, and that will leave them remembering 2008 in a completely different light to me.

Because while I was excitedly planning my life with my partner, getting engaged, planning a wedding, starting a whole new career path… some of my nearest and dearest were coping with terrible, life-altering news.

One of my favourite people in the world was told that her chances of conceiving a baby were hampered by all manner of things from only having one viable fallopian tube, general fertility problems, to strange and rare conditions of the uterus that will impinge on her chances of bearing a baby to full term.  Yet she’s never given up, always searching for new options and treatments and ways around these obstacles.  She’s inspirational.

Another one of my more gorgeous friends who has helped me in ways I cannot even measure was diagnosed this year with an aggressive form of arthritis.  Struck down in the prime of her life (she’s only 34) with this crippling condition, the challenges do not stop there… the only thing that will help her to halt the progression of the arthritis is a form of chemotherapy medicine that she has to take once a week, for the rest of her life.  That in turn means that she has also had to deal with the confirmation that she will be unable to bear children of her own.  I literally broke down into fits of sobbing in the car after she told me, because she has been so instrumental in my son’s life and has always said she ‘wants one just like him’.  I am literally still in shock that someone that does so much good in other people’s lives could be dealing with this – it blows my mind.  She is so strong and brave, she amazes me every day.

A new work colleague, within weeks of me starting my new role, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  I’d only known him such a short time when this happened and he instantly struck me as such an incredible individual, but seeing my colleagues crumble when they heard of the news via one of the most incredible letters, read out by our Managing Director – made me realise just how special and amazing this guy really was.  The positivity that exuded from every pore on his body, as he fought through surgeries, chemotherapy and test results – all the while asking to be kept in the loop on work because he was bored – just floored me.  Most people that I have encountered with cancer really turn into themselves, but this man was open, staggeringly positive and maintained a presence within our lives at work, even while dealing with ‘beating the beast’.  There is a good news light at the end of this story though – as he’s been given the all clear and is literally running his way back to optimum health as we speak.

These three are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the story of 2008 for some of the people I cherish.  For all of them, I have said to each that words simply cannot do justice to how much I feel for each of them, or demonstrate how much I would love to take some of their pain away.  Maybe it’s the mother in me, but I just wish I could wrap them all in cotton wool and make it all go away.