Posted in Musings

Thank you, COVID-19

In my last post I wrote about being calm in a time of chaos.

But sometimes we will have days – perhaps more than often as this virus drags on – when the calm evaporates and the seas will get choppy.  There will be days when the waves will roar above our heads, and I would encourage it between the days of calm and quiet reflection.

Today is one of those days for me. 

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Posted in Musings

The Cleansing

It is spring!  My absolutely hands-down, stunningly beautiful favourite time of the year.  The tax return is done, we are coming out of hibernation, and humanity (at least in my part of the world) can begin to feel our toes again after the numbing pain of winter.  The earth begins to warm, the birds are chirping a little more loudly, and people are smiling as they walk down the street (yes, actually smiling – or at least I think I see a little twitch in their faces).  Nature has grabbed us by the hand and is saying, “Let’s go out to play!”.

Spring is synonymous with cleansing and cleaning.  We find the energy to toss out what no longer serves us, and inspired by the new growth we see in our environment, we also want to begin again.

So I was recently clearing out my desk at home, and I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying it is to… well… rip up the carp that had accumulated there.  (Note: I deliberately used ‘carp’ instead of that other word because this is a clean, safe blog, and I don’t want to swear, but I think you know what word I really mean, yes?

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Posted in Musings

One, Five

One, five.

No, not fifteen, but one and five.

There are so many things in life that we want to get to, right?  We keep being told that we need to do X amount of exercise each day or week, eat this or that, accomplish a specific chore, check off to-do lists, and on and on and on.  We can sometimes sit back and realise that it is just all too much, so we end up doing nothing at all! 

One morning as I was going through my twenty minutes of time allocated for stretches – essential for singers and anyone wanting to stay flexible! – I thought just that: it is all too much.  Twenty minutes is nothing, but my brain was on already on fast forward leaping into the activities of the day.  I was not in the moment.  Naturally, my focus became scattered, my stretches ended up looking like some pitiful 1970’s dance, and to top it all off my stomach was grumbling for some breakfast.  Enough already!

Enough.

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Posted in Musings

Knowing Me…Watching You?…A-ha

Okay, brace yourself, here comes a bit of a revelation: 

I love ABBA

And the above title got me singing ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’.  This song is about relationships – more on that later – but it also makes me wonder… how much do we really know ourselves? 

Do we spend so much time musing about other people’s lives and activities that we lose sight of who we really are, and about relating to others, that we end up feeling more fragmented because we just do not meet other people’s ‘ideal’ standards?

I think sometimes we can spend far too much time watching what other people are up to, especially online, and then in a subconscious way we start comparing ourselves with them.  A subtle depression and inadequacy can take seed within us if we decide that we don’t measure up to what that person is doing or what this person is saying or achieving.  In the meantime, if we do not use that information to improve our own lives, our time is just ticking away and all we have ever done is stare at a screen to keep up with someone else.

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Posted in Musings

The Darkness

An intense personal darkness is with me.  This has been triggered by several things, especially life and career transitions, but also because of the actions of some people around me.  Despite my own advice about not allowing yourself to be affected, things just sometimes do get to you, and you just have to ride it out.  For all of my positivity, the things that some people do…Just.  Plain.  Suck.  But this darkness has also become an inspiration for me to write even more.  You see, dark times need to be brought into the light, and writing is a perfect way to do that when the voice grows weary of speaking.

I recognize this awfulness as a period of desolation, depression, or even perhaps a dark night of the soul.  I am still not so sure.  Oh yes, I still sing my little heart out, but the rain clouds are hovering menacingly above me.  In fact, the rain is pelting down.  There have been some days when I do not want to even show up, or I only just hold it together. 

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Posted in Musings

Planet of the Fakes

I like positive posts (writing them and reading other people’s), and this is part of the reason why I started The MuSinGer, but sometimes having a good rant feels… well… invigorating.  Seriously though, taking the time to think about why we do what we do as humans and as a society can help us to intelligently question whether these things are actually good for us.

I know that the topic of the effects of social media has been done to death, but one day I was tired and instead of doing the sensible thing, shutting down early for the night, and going to sleep, I numbly looked through some random social media posts out in the ether.  My bad.  Not surprisingly, I soon became unsettled and fed up.  Why?  Well a summary of what I saw went something like this (note – what follows is a fictitious generalisation, not actual posts):

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Posted in Books, Reading

Book review: ‘You Are Enough’ by Mandy Hale

A few posts ago I reviewed Mandy Hale’s book Beautiful Uncertainty.  Her newest book, You Are Enough: Heartbreak, Healing, and Becoming Whole, is the subject of today’s post. If you have read Beautiful Uncertainty, you could not ask for a greater contrast between that book and this new one, and perhaps even wonder if this book is by the same author – indeed it was a big surprise to me.  But I felt that the beauty about both books was not found in comparing them or judging whether one was better than the other, rather it was found in the reality of Mandy’s words and the raw emotion, maturity, wisdom, and passion which has developed in her life since she wrote Beautiful Uncertainty.  Clearly, life-changing things have happened to her in the years since that book, and deciding to write about her experiences to help others was a courageous thing to do. 

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Posted in Musings

Our Epidemic

Today’s topic is not something which many of us choose to talk about, but I think we seriously need to look at it.  Loneliness.  I’m not talking about choosing to have periods of time alone or intentional silence – that can actually be a very good thing for you, and many of us can cope with it pretty well (especially introverts).  But ongoing, persistent, unwanted loneliness is a real crisis of disconnection.  It affects the health, wellbeing, mind, and spirit of so many people around the world, despite appearances to the contrary.  Perhaps even many of you reading this right now have been or are going through this.

To say that it is a hidden epidemic of our modern times is not being overdramatic.  In fact, studies and science have proven that chronic loneliness is bad for you, and it is on the rise due to various factors – how we live, work, socialize (or not), our age, gender, stage in life, etc.  I won’t go into the details – you can read more about it here: Feeling isolated? You’re not alone. Here’s why 1 in 4 of us is lonely and Chronic Loneliness Is a Modern-Day Epidemic.  There are so many articles out there on the internet and programs on television which you can access, but today I hope to encourage you to think about being part of the solution.

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Posted in Musings

How to Live Like a Dog

My dog.

He longs for his walk, lives for his biscuit, purrs while being cuddled, seeks back massages, and loves his din-dins at the appointed hour.

That’s it.  That is how he defines a successful life.

He does not have a degree or a formal job (his informal job is being our security guard and loving companion but shhh… don’t tell him that).

When he waits for me to tuck him into bed at night, he just looks at me with those big brown eyes.

To us busy humans, he doesn’t seem to do much at all.

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Posted in Books, Reading

Book review: ‘Beautiful Uncertainty’ by Mandy Hale

Today’s book review is about Beautiful Uncertainty by Mandy Hale.  Mandy is also a blogger and has written other books.  You can find her at The Single Woman blog.

Beautiful Uncertainty has class, emotion, poetic words, faith, and strength saturating its pages.  In fact, it is dripping in sweetness and comfort. 

It is like a best buddy, drinking a hot chocolate beside you on a cold Winter’s evening by the fire, wrapped in chunky woolens (or giving you a refreshing, cool drink if you are sweating through Summer right now).  It is a friend egging you on while you endure life’s ups and downs or if you are longing for something to happen – whether that is waiting for a significant other, marriage, children, a career change, miracle – whatever.  Even if you are not waiting for anything at all, it helps you live through your days with grace and peace.

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