Journey into hope day 13

life is for living

Bill Keane: ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present’

Let us reflect

Reflections today comprise whether Bill Keane is correct in his view of the present moment. Having travelled a journey of hope for the past thirteen days, I believe that he is indeed accurate. Today is, in my opinion, a gift. Many have lost their lives over recent weeks, in the Australian bushfires and I am certain that their family members would do anything to have their loved ones return to share a day with them.

I have been exploring hope and hopefulness as never before and this has led me to see that each day comprises many ingredients; thoughts, choices, time, other people. It also comprises ingredients we can choose to combine to make up a daily recipe. In my selecting various hopeful ingredients, this has really helped me to create a much better life than I have ever lived before. No longer do I feel entrapped by negative thoughts dominating my day, but rather I am choosing a different focus.

I have been living through an incredible period of history during my short month’s stay in Australia. I am hopeful today for the money that has been poured into the protection of wildlife. The figures of those killed is staggering and horrific-30,000 koalas on kangaroo island. However I am still hopeful that the $50,000 promised by the Australian government will lead to species being kept alive, especially koalas. I am also very touched by the outpouring of generosity and kindness from celebrities and fellow Australians.

Today I am beginning to contemplate a return to the UK. I do not want to leave Australia, but I need to accept the things I cannot change. I experience Australia as a place of healing and refreshing-there is something about the beauty of the landscape and seas that instils me with joy.

I am hoping to be able to spend a little money here, to continue to support the shaky tourist industry. I would like to visit Batemans Bay and support the rebuilding of that community. There is a spirit of optimism arising, in spite of the deastation caused by the horrific fires.

I am ever grateful for the appearing of rain as we drove along the Hume Motorway towards Sydney yesterday. These precious drops and the cooler air signify less fire danger which is simply a gift. The smoke is also dissipating somewhat in New South Wales. My hope and dream is that the situation in Victoria will improve. The air quality there is very poor and especially in Canberra.

So today my hope recipes are that I will continue on the journey I have embarked upon and build a year based on the many ingredients I have discovered thus far.

In closing, I believe it is important to view each day as a gift and whatever transpires, it is important to keep a perspective of hope. This is in my recent experience the best antidote for despair.

I wish you a gifted week X

Journey into hope day 11

Wow! I am amazed time has gone so rapidly, since I started this hope experiment. So much has happened in such a short time. It seems so long ago I was standing and watching the panoply of light blaring over Sydney Harbour.

Today I would like to discuss loss. Yesterday I met a beautiful young woman named Alannah, who had a shine about her. She shared with me that she had had a tattoo done, in memory of her friend who she had lovingly named Natashly. Natashly was actually named Ash. It is a beautiful and fitting tribute to loving friendship.

We spoke about my loss in not being able to meet Natashly. Alannah described her as exceptionally clever and very self deprecating and if my memory serves me correctly, funny.

Alannah did not use physical descriptions but gave me the essence of her friend in words. I liked Natashly, I think I would have connected with her. I am glad I met her through the spoken memory of her. I have many wonderful memories of people who are no longer here and they can live on in one sense, because although they are physically gone, their impact remains. We can and should speak about those who have gone before.

I was struck by the impression a brief encounter with Alannah made upon me. The way she shone, the incredible love she had for her absent yet present friend. I was also significantly impacted by Connie, from Port Aloha motel, her kindness and thoughtfulness was vast and I am very grateful.

I have lost some personal things during my travels. I find this extremely difficult to face, because it feels I have lost part of myself. This is a pet hate. Yesterday I lost a lovely sweatshirt with Choose Life on the front. It supports suicide awareness. I admit my ability to travel and remember everything is not wonderful, so I am facing this and struggling to accept that I may lose things along my way.

My time in Australia is waning fast. I am going back to the UK to face some big things which do not fill me with joy. I am hopeful I will have inner strength and resilience, which I have been building since I have been here.

So today my recipe for hope comes from a prayer; that I will have the strength to accept the things I cannot change, courage to accept the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

I wish you all strength and hope X

Hope into rain day 9

So today I went to visit the beautiful survivors that are the koalas. They have managed to struggle through bushfires, their mothers’ being hit by a car and one even clung to a car bonnet for about 350 metres as the car was driving!

Just watching Mary, who is blind but oh so happy with her feast of eucalyptus leaves really touched my heart. I thought of Lewis who sadly didn’t make it, but united the world with his story and brought me to this hospital. RIP little Lewis.

Yesterday I was about to swim in the lovely pool at the Port Aloha motel when the delightful Connie said to me that the beach was close by. So I went to gaze in wonder at bleached white sand lapped by azure waves.

I started to ponder on this and realised that we can live our life in the pool when the beach is just in sight. By this I mean: I was prepared to enjoy the pool, when there was an amazing and far better experience just a short walk away.

Due to battling depression over many years, my own emotions have been my focus. Now I am starting to enjoy life rather than engaging with my own pain.

This journey into hope is greatly helping me, because my focus and thoughts are directed towards it. I feel as if I have been given a gift.

One of my biggest prayers while I have been here is for rain. I had literally just left the koala hospital when it started to pour and now I am sheltering under the roof of the Salvation Army building.

So today I am hopeful that rain prayers have been heard. I am hopeful because there is a wonderful hospital for koalas and they are not extinct. I am hopeful that over two million dollars has been raised to keep this hospital going.

Keep swimming in the sea X

Journey into hope day 6

St Augustine describes hope as stretching our hearts. This is in the context of stretching our desire to see God.

I like this view and feel it can also be applied to the concept of hope per se as well as hope in God. It is somewhat different from the negative overtones in the Pandora’s box mythology, however it does imply one has to stretch one’s heart and there is a slight overtone of risk in that-what if my heart won’t stretch, how do I do this? What if I can’t find hope. So, I am coming to the conclusion which I had never contemplated before that hope mens taking a risk.

So today I have been thinking about hopefulness. Rather than hope, which can appear quite mellifluous and hard to grasp, hopefulness does seem to be a state of mind, an emotion and a feeling.

I am feeling hopeful because I have settled in my mind the early end to my holiday and also because today I allowed myself some pampering and had a facial. I met two sisters with a family business in Hurstville and coincidentally they were friends with the mother and daughter I met at a hairdressers locally. Incidentally, both of these businesses are Greek. This inspired hopefulness, because having worked with many dysfunctional families in a previous life, I had grown to see dysfunctional families as a normal. Seeing people with established businesses who have worked together for years and clearly love what they do is very uplifting.

My family are also safe because it rained in Bowral yesterday, so I am relieved and grateful. I am also contemplating a different kind of life; where I could possibly live six months in the UK and six months in Australia. I love Australia and I love the UK and I have dual nationality, so I am rolling this over in my mind. Once again this is being hopeful and I feel is an antidote to my early departure.

While in Australia, I have been welcomed by many beautiful furry fiends. I am staggered at how animals communicate. I have walked a guide dog and as a sighted person with poor night vision, I found this made me feel very safe. A Pomeranian next door, named Honey literally keeps escaping and visiting me, barking until she gets my attention. I am besotted by her golden personality.

I am also hopeful because I am going to visit the koala hospital at Port Macquarie. To me these little creatures encapsulate the pain of the fires, in that they can’t even run away. I have seen them bandaged up with patches of burnt fur showing. I want to adopt one. I have over recent days felt emotionally burnt myself, by life, and so I relate to their experience. I have wanted to visit since I heard about the hospital and am really excited.

Celebrities being kind and generous in support of those who have experienced the bush fires, has also really impacted upon me. As have the truck angels, the lorry drivers who have driven hay to stricken communities. Worldwide kindness towards other humans inspires hope that in the world in which we live, kindness and generosity still exist.

So today’s recipe for hope is to combine hope and hopefulness with self-care and kindness to oneself. A further ingredient is the kindness of others, reaching out to a horrific situation.

Keep hope alive X

Journey into hope day 5

So, as I shared with you all yesterday I had a battle with hope for the entire day. I still feel sad deep down within me that my travel plans have been disrupted.

Yesterday, I listened to a fascinating pod cast on hope called ‘In our time: Hope (summer repeat on Apple Podcasts). This discusses whether hope is a positive or negative thing, because hope was found in Pandora’s box and this suggests both positive and negative connotations. I have always viewed hope as a positive, but perhaps quite a fleeting thing. Here are some actual definitions:

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning.

verb (used with object), hoped, hop·ing.

to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory.

verb (used without object), hoped, hop·ing.

to feel that something desired may happen: We hope for an early spring.

So I am looking forward with desire and confidence to visiting the animal sanctuary at Port Macquarie. I have been moved by the plight of the poor Australian wildlife and koalas especially, because they are unable to run from flames. The bushfires have absorbed a lot of my thinking over recent days as has the weather conditions. Living in a situation of potential catastrophe which many of those around me are facing constantly is very sobering. I will never take rain for granted, I will never take my personal safety for granted and I will appreciate those who work in the fire service especially, as they risk their lives to keep mine safe.

Yesterday I went in the pool for the first time, as the temperature was 35 degrees. It was beautiful and I relaxed and swam and enjoyed the cool water lapping against me. I started to make plans for my move when I return to the uK and spoke to a friend, asking for help with my impending move. They were only too willing to offer. Simple things. These are the building blocks of a dy.

I also made some lemonade scones. This for many people, would be an easy thing, but for me as I have shared in a previous post, it was a big deal, because I have battled a fear of failure in regard to cooking. However these were a real success and delicious. They were served with jam and cream-a lovely treat. I got some very positive comments when I put them on view on social media. I am feeling supported by Facebook friends particularly, in my efforts to challenge my fears and withholdings.

So, today my recipe for hope is to take support from friends around you to encourage efforts to change. And also to reach out for help with tasks which one can’t manage. This is mixed with an attitude of gratitude for weather and safety. Keep hopeful everyone X

Recipe of hope day 4

A battle against despair

Hello everyone. So, when I started this site, I promised to be transparent and write with integrity, so here goes.

Yesterday I had my biggest challenge of the New Year. Due to very very unforeseen circumstances regarding my accommodation, I am having to cut short a most wonderful, dreamy, relaxing holiday in Australia and fly back to the UK.

I woke early today feeling dreary and dismal. I sit here typing about hope when I am struggling to find any. I do not want to go back home; I was going to extend my stay and instead I am paying extra money to lose a great chunk of my holiday.

So my recipe for hope today is the choice to make the best of a bad job. I have several items on my wish list, some of which may be done, some may not. I do not feel in the least but hopeful-I feel sad and grey. But I choose to hope that I will be able to do some lovely things before I fly away.

It is trite to say I will count my blessings, because at this moment I do not want to. I will say that I do not wish to inflict my negative frame of mind on those around me, so I will try my level best to enjoy what I am doing each day.

Gritty perseverance is being put into play today against the feeling that everytime I am happy it is snatched away from me. It is okay to be disappointed, it is okay to feel sad, but I will still try to pursue a hopeful path nonetheless. Hope in the face of emotional pain.

I am learning many things from this hope journey. I would today describe hope as an attitude rather than an emotion and this involves a choice.

And just to add I poured out my heart to Oscar my beautiful furry friend last night. He looked up at me with his oracle eyes and spoke in cat language that he understood. And I know he did.

I truly appreciate people reading and liking my posts. It makes me feel this site is worth writing.

Let’s battle on hoping X

Recipe for hope day 2

I have always been a reluctant cook. This was started when my first attempt to make a Victoria sponge was marked by laughter because the final product at an angle, rather t flat. A photograph marked the event.

This was coupled with school cookery lessons where no-one ever wanted to be my partner. I dreaded those weeks. I did not know I had dyspraxia which impacts hugely on culinary skills.

So this led to a mindset of ‘cant cook, won’t cook’. I became avoidant and when I invited people around I struggled with my inadequacy in this area. I could never think of what to make and many of my friends are skilled in the kitchen.

So yesterday I was helped to make a quiche. A wonderful lady named Mary patiently talked me through preparing the pastry and putting the ingredients together. She basically held my hand as we did this together.

No it wasn’t perfect. It could have been neater, it could have been better cooked st a slightly lower temperature. However I was really proud of having faced a deeply ingrained fear of failure. And what’s more, I actually enjoyed it. I am going to make a flummery next.

My second learning of 2020 hopefulness, has been the impact of animals on me. I had a really tough 2019 as I know many others have. I longed for some fur therapy. Having come to Sydney, for a break, I have been blessed by beautiful guide dogs and a wonderful little Pomeranian named Honey, who has a gift of escapology; squeezing through any gaps, to come and visit at every opportunity. On one occasion she barked at our door to be let in then eventually, she realised it was pointless, gave a quick bark as if to say ‘ bye’ and padded off.

There is also the truly lovely Oscar who is staying here. He is a stunning rag doll cat with profound blue eyes and creme caramel fur. Last night he landed on my bed and I had to sleep on the other side.

Today’s recipe for hope is to try new challenges and break the mould of self-defining negative thought patterns. It might be a dormant dream, or a label that has been placed upon you that you may wish to smash. It may be hard, but it is worth persevering.

The second hope ingredient is to spend time with animals. They are very therapeutic and show empathy and love. I am not allowed pets in my rented property, but I have been able to enjoy other people’s animals while on holiday. Consider offering to walk someone’s dog or pet sitting. There is a website for this and you can combine it with a holiday.

Thank you for reading. Please send me comments, questions, or ideas.

I hope you are enjoying my site. Have a hopeful week X