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love

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?

Life Lessons, Photography, Wellbeing

January .. the month that was slow and filled with reflections.

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January 2015 was a series of slow days linked together with a lot of time for reflection on the year that stole my spirit. I had taken a break from work to create some space, to slow down, and finally I was able to do that. At times it was simply about breathing, and making it through the day. In my past life I would consider this a wasted day. Do you ever feel a sense of guilt if you have not created and ticked off a super human to-do list every day? If so, it is time to let that go.

It is perfectly OK to simply flow into your day, if time permits. Breathe in the moments and release the need to always be doing, something. It has taken me most of my lifetime to perfect the art of flowing into my days sometimes. Of course there is the daily routine, work, school, meals, groceries and other commitments that simply cannot be ignored. It may only be one day a month that you throw away the lists and the expectations, and that one day will make a difference.

Whilst looking back at January 2015 I noticed that even my photos were less hurried, I had more time to contemplate and also more time to be creative. Just taking the time to reflect on the photos for a little while gave me a sense of calm again, whilst at the same time I am surrounded by the lovely chaos of starting big school and returning to work!

Do you ever really slow down?

Kindness, Parenting

Valentine’s Day .. the alternative version

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It is one of those ‘days’ that can divide opinion passionately. In the past I was a little indifferent, often swept up in the romance during my 20’s and 30’s when dating and long term relationships relied on grand gestures. Since becoming a Mother, and since my perspective on life shifted dramatically after losing my Mother, Valentine’s Day in the commercial sense has really started to bother me.

The hugely over priced red roses (my least favourite flower anyway), the giant teddy bears in florist windows and the overt advertising appealing to your emotions, and convincing men that this is the time to redeem anything that needs redeeming. It feels a little heartless, even though there are red hearts everywhere we turn!

Now that my little man has started school and entered into the community in a much more significant way, I feel that this is the perfect time to lead by example on things like Valentines Day. It is my hope that I can influence him in a way that will allow him to see beyond the marketing and the commercial takeover of what should be a day all about love.

So I have a few ideas that I am going to introduce and I would love to hear what you think, and whether you might want to join me in creating something a little more meaningful around this traditional celebration of love.

♡ Choose a charity or cause together as a family or with a group of friends or colleagues in the weeks leading up to Valentines Day each year, a charity that fits well with the theme of love. Is there a retirement home in your area? A beautiful group activity is to make some Valentine cards and deliver them to the retirement home to brighten the lives of the older residents. Is there a children’s charity that you could support by organising a drive for some of the items that they need most, turning the focus around onto bringing more love to the lives of children in need.

♡ Valentines Day is also the perfect time to focus on self love and self care. The concept of taking care of ourselves so that we can be our most vibrant, energetic and giving is such a lovely family focus. Create a list for each member of your family to decide on the things that they consider essential “self care” for themselves and keep the list handy as a reminder for everyone.

♡ Aim to turn the focus around from that of only romantic love and create a broader celebration of love in your family, workplace and community. Valentines Day can become a time that you remind all of the important people in your life that they are loved. Make a list of the people who have supported you recently, or the people who you have not seen in a while and prepare some hand written cards to surprise them in the mail.

♡ A love themed family and friends dinner for your nearest and dearest on Valentines Day could be so much more meaningful than trying to fit into the over crowded and often over priced restaurant scene on this day. I am the biggest fan of fine dining don’t get me wrong..Valentines Day is becoming a bit of an exception to that love though.

♡ Gratitude and a focus on the positives is another great family activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day. I am going to start a ritual of giving cards (either handmade or carefully selected from ethical or charity sources) with a list of the reasons why I love the recipient, why I am grateful for them being in my life and how they have made my life better.

What are your thoughts about creating a broader celebration of love this Valentines Day?

Image credit: Miann Scanlan