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Life Lessons

Love and Relationships: Top 5 Lessons Learned Lately.

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My lately has been FILLED with lessons, literally overflowing .. some days I think that my head and my heart may explode. It is a mix of painful and light-bulb style lessons. I have come to accept and welcome the abundance of lessons that life presents to me, it is the light and the darkness and the life changing experiences that allow me to constantly evolve, share so much with others and gain the deepest insights into myself as well as my purpose in life.

A friend (more of an acquaintance) once sent me a message on Facebook .. “Gosh Lisa, you are always in some sort of terrible life event, I hope that the year ahead is less drama and more peace for you.” I realised at that point, how others sometime see those of us who embrace the intense times as well as the supposed ‘peaceful’ times. I am not a fan of drama and it is not something I crave, my spirituality, self acceptance and self love mean that I mindfully avoid this type of experience. It may appear from the outside that some of my darker times are rather dramatic, to me they are a part of living authentically. To interpret them as ‘drama’ does not do them justice.

As I am sure is the case with most people, the pursuit of love and the experience of our relationships has been the greatest source of learning, growth and self awareness. I honestly believe that until we have truly accepted and embraced the learnings that we need in love, relationships will continue to teach us. It may be your marriage, your ‘failed’ or past relationships, your lack of any relationships .. whatever is still evolving is doing so because you have more lessons to learn.

I absolutely respect whatever is right for every human being in regards to love and relationships. I respect that some people are deeply happy and fulfilled with their school sweetheart, their best friend, their equal, their opposite .. or with being single. I have learned to let go of judging anyone else by their relationship status, I only wish that more people would let this go too! I am surrounded by people in traditional marriages with two children, long term relationships and also people in relationships that they know are not authentic, I hold judgement on them all. (I encourage you to do the same, a life with less judgement is life with more joy!)

As a 40 year old woman .. (who still feels 30!) who has never been married, I am often in the minority. It bothered me during my 30s, it also taught me more about myself in my 30s than I could have imagined though. I trust the process, I rise and grow into my higher self with every experience, with every break in my heart that cracks me open even more. Lately, the lessons have come from some of the darkest times and as I process the depths of the darkness privately, I intend to share the lessons publicly, so that anyone else currently in the darkness knows that they are not alone. Trust in your process, take your time, and be open to your lessons.

Top 5 Lessons Learned Lately:

♡ If your relationship becomes toxic, damaging or scary in any way .. it is time to walk away. It may be a painful decision, in the long run it is most likely to be more damaging to stay though. There are fine lines in our lives, around what is acceptable. I read this quote recently that fits perfectly right here: “Make a mistake once, it’s a lesson. Make a mistake twice, it’s a choice.”

♡ Everyone deserves a second chance. (except for the extreme cases!) Echoed in that last quote, making a mistake and learning from it can be one of our greatest lessons in life. However, not taking that lesson and applying it to something as precious as a human being, that is a choice. Being given a second chance by someone is one of the greatest gifts in life.

♡ Even if you are the most compassionate, supportive and giving person, there will be times when you simply run out of love and compassion or a circumstance is beyond your control. If you are being pushed beyond your limits, if your values are consistently being tested and compromised, if you have done everything in your power to support someone and it is not making a difference, it is perfectly OK to walk away. It will be hard, it will take every little bit of strength and resilience you can muster, you will be OK though.

♡ Swearing, hate filled words and insults are not a part of a healthy, love filled relationship. It is not OK to hurt the people you love with words that provide a short term ‘fix’ for deeper issues. The way that this makes a person feel can never be erased, decide where you draw the line in this area of your relationships .. and remember: we accept the love we think we deserve.

♡ Authenticity, honesty, integrity and grace are all traits and values that will improve your relationships, and your life in general. Focus on what these might mean for you. Authenticity and honesty for me are about being transparent in all areas of my life, never lying and always respecting my values. Integrity is all about honouring my values, respecting and honouring the values of others, and avoiding anything toxic, inappropriate or offensive to my values. Grace is about choosing my words and my actions carefully, forgiving my self, behaving with grace and encouraging others to do the same.

Have you had any amazing lessons learned through your own experience of love and relationships?

Blogging Life Lessons Parenting

The blog comments that deserve their own post: Part One

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The comments section on my blog is a place I visit often, not only to reply to every word that is shared. It is also a little haven for me to soak in all of the honesty, the shared experience and the abundance of connection. It is especially during these (current) difficult times that I find a whole lot of love and comfort there.

It may seem like a strange place to find these things, unless you are a blogger or someone who reads and appreciates them. Besides those who hide behind their screens and who choose this place to project their darkest selves, it is actually full of the exact opposite .. those who care deeply about others, those who value kindness and compassion over all else.

Mary Kate Maguire recently left a comment on this post that deserves to be shared in full:

“As I sat on the porch one day with a Mother friend of mine, toddlers milling at our feet, she noticed a smudge on my face. Without thinking, she dampened the edge of a napkin with her spittle and deftly wiped the smudge off my (startled) face .. It took a moment for her to realise that she had just done the VERY thing that she had always sworn she would NEVER do to her children, not to mention another adult!

When we enter parenthood, we perhaps expect that we shall be transformed in multitudinous magnificent ways; as we embrace this significant Rite of Passage.

What we don’t expect, is that we may potentially transform to resemble the type of parent we once judged, or were certain that we would never become.

If I had ever taken the time to write a list of all the things I would NEVER do as a parent –  then giving birth without full anaesthesia or ideally a voluntary Caesarian was top of my list.

Instead I gave birth on my living room floor without a painkiller in sight. (A choice I had previously opposed as negligent risk taking!)

Next on my list of “Never Evers” was the prospect of long term breastfeeding. As a young woman I was a little revolted by the idea of Mothers who breastfed babies who had teeth .. yet my own daughter continued having occasional breastfeeds until she was two years old.

“Bed sharing” was another concept that I considered totally bizarre before I had a child, yet as a parent I soon found this was the most comfortable way to night-feed my breast fed infant. As the parent of a child who often suffered great difficulty in falling asleep and also suffered nightmares, the comfort of my bed guaranteed a restful night of sleep for all.

So once again I found myself doing something as a parent that I once considered to be a symptom of questionable judgement!

Then there were the glorious career aspirations I held BEFORE I had a child .. I firmly planned to be back at work six months after baby arrived. In my ideal vision, I was committed to having a meaningful and upwardly mobile, full time corporate work-life AND a baby. I was very afraid of losing my place in the corporate arena.

To my complete surprise, I relished being a full time Mother until my daughter was almost four. When I resumed my work life, I discovered a completely new and rewarding career direction within the non-profit sector that I could never have envisaged prior to becoming a Mother.

In my 20 years of parenting I have learnt that our children certainly teach us to change, respond and grow in a myriad of ways that we could never have forecast.

I am proud that as a parent I have found myself willing to embrace SO many things that I would never have expected myself to do .. and I accept that along the way I have sometimes resembled the sort of parent I once judged.

When I find myself expressing love and wrapped in a warm loving hug with my daughter, or listening to her confide in me, or sharing significant experiences with her, I KNOW that I have become exactly the sort of Mother I always most aspired to become.”

{Beautiful photo of Casey Wiegand}

Life Lessons

Lately .. a little update and my thoughts on judgement.

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Lately has not been pretty .. it has been far from perfect, and I have not felt much joy at all.

Eeek, not the most positive start to one of my posts! You know what though, I am all about keeping it real. Yes at first glance my blog may appear neat, pretty and ‘together.’ I see it as a bit of a metaphor in that sense, not all is as it appears, in a blog or in a person. Always take a closer look before you make a judgement.

We are all guilty of passing judgement quickly, it has certainly taken me many years to let go of that instinct and bring some mindfulness into the way that I look at others, and the world. It really does change things if you are able to create some space between your thoughts and your reactions.

So, lately has been difficult. My blog is my safe space, my outlet for the creativity and urge to share through words that fills me with purpose and butterflies. The reality is that life sucks sometimes. Life presents us with decisions that we would rather run and hide from, being an adult is hard! I have recently made one of the toughest decisions, ever. It has involved breaking some hearts, one of them mine, and one of them my precious son’s.

It is early days, it is all still very raw. The words are swirling in my head while my heart is broken and I am slowly, slowly crawling back into my beautiful and blessed life. I have learned that sitting with our emotions is essential, unpacking and living in the darkness of grief and loss is not though. In fact it is important to avoid doing that!

So for now I am working on the sitting, taking steps to avoid the unpacking, and I am deep in the process of self care and the healing of our hearts. Please don’t judge me, or anyone else for that matter, ever. I am a strong, resilient person who has been given the tools through tragedy to be able to rebuild. It is not the case for everyone though, and you never know who is hiding behind a seemingly ‘together’ blog or life.

Always take a closer look, always speak with kindness and please never assume, anything. I share where I am right now, with the honesty that I do, because I know that there will be someone else who is here in this darkness right now too. If that is you, please know that you are not alone, please remember that you are loved. If it is someone you suspect or know is here too, please reach out and let them know that they are not alone.