Sunday, 30 August 2015

so my bags are packed ....

There was a mini miracle in our home at 6pm tonight .... I packed for my trip, it was uncomplicated and quick, everything in its place and a place for everything .... lots of space left and well below the 23kg allowance.  Accompanying this is my small rugsack and I am not FOR ONCE carrying 100 loose things ranging from jerseys to pens and mags. 

Somehow I cannot get this right if we go somewhere in the province ... but did a remarkable job for an overseas trip. 

I am nervous, excited and apprehensive all at once.  Suddenly at 9pm I decided that I do not want to leave my family.  Then I started missing my daughter in CT.  Then I started wondering who would be sitting on either side of me on the flight ... would I know them, and if not, would they be nice or really flippen irritating? 

I have listened to advice from dozens of people, got wonderful reading material about the Holy Land from three very caring people and today when I was in the Repository I was touched by how many people popped in simply to say goodbye to me.  

So I am ready .... just painting the toes and then off to bed.  The 430am alarm is going to be quite a shock to me tomorrow. 

I have an awesome roomie on the trip, so I am looking forward to that.  I am travelling with a group that I know and with my own parish priest which is special. 

So onwards and upwards .... Tel Aviv ... hope you ready for me. 

Till soon 

c'est la vie xxx 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Preparing for Pilgrimage

I am going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

I am going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

I say it twice, because I am still a little overwhelmed about this incredible opportunity that someone has given me. 

A pilgrimage. 

I have read about it.  I have seen programmes about it.  I know many priests who lead pilgrimages.  I work for Fr Chris who is a plethora of info about pilgrimages.  

And now I too am going to have this incredible experience. 

On Thursday I attend Bible Study classes.  Every week for 2 years already.  This class and the ladies who come to share and discuss and learn from Fr C, have formed a close bond.  I honestly feel that I immerse myself in these classes.  

I get completely tearful as the time draws closer because I am overwhelmed by the thought that all the things I have read and all the lessons Fr C has given us, are going to become virtual as he leads us on this trip.  As we read about Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat, I am in awe as to the fact that I will stand there, seeing that very same water.  The temples we read about will be alive and real to us to drink in with our eyes.  The steps Jesus took to the Last Supper, His birthplace and on and on goes the list. 

I think to come back and return to Bible Study is going to be incredible.  To read from the Bible and to be able to close my eyes and absolutely see and feel and smell and really immerse myself in things that I have seen for real. 

I am blessed beyond words by those that made this possible for me.  I am going to do this trip with every single one of my senses on high alert. 

18 sleeps and counting ..... 

till soon 
c'est la vie  xxx

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

the elusive search for a better best bestest self

During Lent our Priest came up with an interesting concept of finding our "best selves" ..... to me it meant using where I was then, as a person, as a starting point and then working towards a "better self" and then on to a "best self".  I do not think the last term is reachable for most of us, including me.  Some may find it possible. 

It was to be a process of also including looking at ourselves and very often how we react and relate to others.  When we do so in a "bad" way .... are we really being our "best selves"?  Is what we do and say to others and about others helping to build this change, or is it the very thing that feeds our staying the same?

I saw changes in several people who had taken this concept seriously, including those leading the way .... it seemed if we bit our tongues a little more, spoke with gentleness more often, spoke to people instead of about them and generally ran our lives in a way that had us constantly asking ourselves "am I showing the best me doing this"?, then this, with work, would be attainable. 

I actually think I did quite well ...... note the term "I" ........ because I also did not let others ratify whether or not I am ok.  I decided I was.  I tried to breathe before speaking, not sweat the small stuff, give others the benefit of the doubt.  I tried to be a "better self" in how I reacted to others and things they did and said, even if these were about me.  I never had to work on loyalty.  That is something I think is parked in my "best at" stable of talents, but one that I have learnt can cause great pain because loyalty given is not always loyalty gained.  I concentrated on everything ... what I ate .... how I drove ..... what I watched, there is no use trying to be your better self if you drive like a lunatic, treat people in shops or restaurants badly or such.  I realised that we need to focus on those who truly love us.  A fact we often overlook because we are so busy chasing those that are not always there for us.  

Lent has come and gone ....... and this week ..... and the one before ..... in fact the whole last 30 days, triggered by one small thing, I have been wondering if I am still in my "better, best me" space.  I can already hear footsteps as those who want to point out my shortcomings approach me ....... and that is fine.  As long as this is a period of growth .... as long as these shortcomings are shown to me gently, with love and kindness ... for the good of me.  And just as important, allow me to point out yours with love as well. If only one of us has faults, then one of us is lying. 

At first I was lambasting myself about the "better self".  I am a person that needs to be reassured that I am ok.  There .... I have said it.   I seriously doubt that is the worst personality trait to have.  If I know you are self conscious about your figure ... I will try and boost you.  If I know you have issues with a particular thing, I will always try and help you with that.  So mine is the fact that I am not driven by money, rewards, fancy cars, fancy clothes or any of those.  I am driven by simple things like well done, thank you, you matter, I am glad I know you.  Recognition. My dad one day said it was the key to me.  I never knew at that time that you may be the only person to ever completely grasp that dad. 

Today a friend of mine told me that I am the person that paints the target on myself and I am also the person who takes all the shots at it.  

I spent some hours tonight pondering that because it is obviously not a compliment and I was trying to work out exactly what about me causes that to be the image I portray to some. However those that know me quite well also know that life has taken some pretty shitty shots at me over the past 12 months.  So now I have to focus on not giving myself body blows anymore.   

And all I can think of is that obviously to some I am not my best self.  Not even my better self.  In fact I am probably just self.   And that was hard.  

But it made me think ..... how many of us who walked this road at Lent and "bettered" ourselves have actually maintained it?  Surely it is not just me slipping? 

So tomorrow I will get up and start the walk over ....... I think God will be proud of me ..... because He gives us the space to work on ourselves all the time.  However He does not expect us to change our uniqueness.  He sees me just as I am.  And He nudges me towards a better self.  But He does it with love and gentleness and kindness and warmth.  

And I want to learn that too.   Why don't you try it as well.  

I continue to count down to the pilgrimage because I have re-structured my goal .... I am not actually going there to find myself.  I am going there to rid myself of what I have allowed myself to become, often at the hand of others.  Karin is there.  And she, the better me, is waiting.  

till soon 

c'est la vie 


Sunday, 9 August 2015

changing my church perspective

I have been in this parish for many years.  In that time we very seldom sit in the same place twice.  We sort of gravitate to the same area, but different rows and different sides of them.  Not so for everyone ... some people have their spot and they sit there week in and week out ... years long ..... that is great for them also.  

Now a few weeks ago the church was jam packed and we had to go and sit right up front. The very front.  And in addition we sat in a section that we have only sat in once or twice. 

Suddenly we were almost in line with the altar.  For the first time I glimpsed the back of the priest while he was doing the Homily.  I could see the colour of the altar server's eyes.  It was the weirdest feeling.  In addition we were also at an angle so for the first time the people in the 2 adjacent sections could partly be seen from the front - which was a little disconcerting because it felt like people were looking at us all the time.  The best description was the front carriage of the rollercoaster.  We were too close, too involved, it eventually started to become uncomfortable for me.  

During Communion people passed across in front of us and it took us only 4 minutes to work out that with us kneeling and praying, our arms were seriously getting in everyone's way, so we resorted to a sort of arms down praying stance which was awkward. 

On to 2 weeks ago when I left the Repository a little late and had to dash across to the church.  Again very full so I did something I have never done in the many years worshipping there .... I went up the stairs and sat at the top little section where the board operator does.  I have never actually found out what the purpose of this section is, but I am assuming it is where the choir would sit ..... have to ask our Priest this one.  

Now this was a completely different perspective.  Firstly it is high.  And I sat directly behind the hip high wall, right in front (one would think I would have learnt).  The entire time whenever we stood I felt like someone in a witness box and whenever we sat I felt like a member of the jury.  Everyone down below faces forward.  We face their ears, looking directly at the opposite wall.  I had now moved from being literally right up there by the Priest, to a sense of "disjointedness" .... He was now a part of a lot of people below and I found the movement that ripples through a church to be interesting to watch because when you sitting amongst the people you do not see how many actually are walking in and out during a Mass.  

So I went from feeling too up close and personal in a Mass to feeling like I was watching from a different room.  A bit like I had been sent to the naughty corner.  I left feeling unfulfilled. 

The only more interesting place was the day I sat in the cry chapel ..... that is a whole other story, suffice to say I spent most of the Mass rolling a ball back and forward to a child I do not know.    I can still remember that from my own kids being little .... at least 15 years ago. 

So this week, this week we returned to a more regular spot, not too close, not too far.  

However this all made me think about perspective.  How two little moves in the church building had completely altered how I perceived those taking part in the Mass, the Homily, the traditions, the people in attendance and my whole experience of the Mass. 

And since then it has been on my mind .... maybe we need to do this in other areas in our lives ...... especially to do with other people.  It is not just about driving a different route to work, drinking out of a different cup, brushing your teeth with the other hand .... how about changing how you look at someone?  

Lately I am contending with someone who has it pretty wrong about me.  This person, I have realised, thinks something about me ..... they are wrong, and they have not stated it out loud, but a hundred little things have suddenly added up, little comments etc.   I am waiting for them to make their move and state it out loud, but my great disappointment is that this person knows me well, and yet he has got this so very wrong.  So how many other times do we do this to others? 

So step back, or step closer,  relook at some of the people that you judge and see if perhaps with a little movement on your part, there is not something you missed before.  

till soon, 

c'est la vie xxx

2019 - new beginnings and other excitement

2019 is a big year for me.  For the first time in probably 30 years I am not in a fixed Monday to Friday job.  This is huge.  I return from...