#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘5 Steps to Writing a Poem’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Poetry #ThursdayMotivation

Today’s just one of those days…

The Moon's hiding
In night's black cave,
The darkest hour,
Seconds before 
You surrender,
The moment when
Hope has devoured
Your weary dreams,
Open your eyes,
Look up to sky,
The cloud has passed,
The moon is always there,
However dark the night.
@LucciaGray

Being almost 62, I’ve had a few dark days and the advantages of having so much experience is that I have some strategies to overcome some of those bleak moments we all have, now and again, sometimes for a reason, but often for none at all.

Here’s what I do. I have my WAM, or water and music therapy, described in this post, where I remind myself that I’m invincible. Other times I give in to my melancholy and write a poem. I love writing poems, and it comes fairly easily, but a proper poem to show the world takes at least two hours, plus sometimes I just leave it to rest in my mind and come back later or another day to revise or finish.

5 Steps to writing a poem when you’re feeling blue.

This is what works for me. You need pen and paper or your journal, that’s it. Optional: music, favourite poems, films etc.

First I just freewrite, stream-of-consciousness style. I get it all off my chest, but I put a time and length limit (I don’t want to (over)wallow in my misery), of about ten minutes or one page in my notebook or sheet of paper. This is really helpful, because it helps me understand how I’m feeling. That in itself will make you feel much better, but let’s continue.

Secondly, I look at the words and expressions I’ve used. In this case I had darkest hour, dark night, no hope, pitch black, dark cave, loss, sentences such as ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’ came to mind, etc. . On another, clean page, write the main words or short phrases, taken from what you’ve written, each on a separate line. At this point You can think of song lyrics and poems or even film or book titles that align with your feelings and add the lines or words, or any other words and short phrases which come to mind.

Thirdly. Congratulations, your poem is there, but now you have to give your words a rhythm. I like to work with syllables, which is why I love haikus 5-7-5 or tankas 5-7-5-7-7. It’s simple, and it works. Order your words into the syllables and lines. You should be able to come up with a few short poems. You don’t need to use all the words, you wrote, just a few to highlight your feelings, and you can add synonyms for rhyming purposes.

Fourthly, Great! We’re nearly there. I play around with syllables and sounds, this time I’m paying closer attention to the meaning or feelings I wish to transmit. Here I often change the syllables and rhythm to suit my words and feelings. Today’s poem above is not a haiku or tanka, it’s mostly four syllable lines, except the last two which have six syllables.

This is how my poem started off this morning,

Finally, because fifthly sounds funny, you need a new sheet of paper and write out your rough version or versions, you may have more than one. You add the final touches and if you’re happy, type it out and show it to the world, and if it doesn’t sound quite right and your inspiration is in tatters, put it in a drawer and come back later to finish.

Whatever you’ve written, I bet you feel better already. I always do! And, of course, I don’t publish them all. Some never get properly polished, they’re just for me and my journal.

Do you write poems when you’re feeling blue?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Invincible’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Haiku #ThursdayMotivation

Today I needed a WAM Morning, that is my Water And Music therapy. Step 1: I get up and jump into the shower while my favourite motivating song/s of the moment are playing, loud enough to block out my terrible singing!

The songs vary depending on my mood. Today it was The Champion sung by Carrie Underwood on replay, and by the time I went downstairs for Step 2: my first cup of tea, I already felt energised. I did 7 minutes of quick exercises, stretches and breathing while the water boiled, as usual. Step 3: I then carried my tea into my study and write my morning pages in my journal, again as usual.

I don’t follow any set rules for my morning pages; I freewrite whatever I need to say to myself or get off my chest, or what I’ve dreamed of, or what I’m worried or happy about, for no longer than ten minutes. I have a busy day ahead, so there’s no point in wasting more time than is strictly necessary on brooding or daydreaming.

And now I’m ready for Step 4: to face the day with a big smile on my face!

What do you do to bring a smile to your face on a challenging morning?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

 

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘The Sun Will Rise’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Haiku #ThursdayMotivation

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862. 

After darkest night

Sun will rise on horizon

Bringing light and warmth 

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We cannot avoid dark nights, there will be one every day, as surely as the sun will rise. As the sun sets, the night gradually darkens until ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’.

Black night will descend,

Dawn will break darkest moment,

Hope will rise like sun.

We cannot avoid loss, any more than we can avoid the night, but we can be comforted with the fact that daylight will always follow.  

Avoiding loss means avoiding love. If we do not love we will not mourn any loss, but it would be a loveless life.

Some philosophers like Heidegger suggest that as our being is finite, then an authentic human life can only be found by confronting our mortality and trying to make a meaning out of the fact of death. In this case, the acceptance of our mortal limitation is the basis for an affirmation of our life.  

And while we carry our pain like a backpack full of bricks, we must make a conscious effort to gradually lighten our load and live each moment mindfully, not only to be alive.

Advice and suggestions for coping with loss here in my post on ‘6 Ways to recover from grief.’ 

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Butterfly Effect’ #March2021 @Pixabay

Don’t worry, I’m not going to introduce you to Edward Lorenz’s hypothesis, presented at the New York Academy of Science, in which he states that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings could set in motion a movement of air which could eventually lead to a hurricane on the other side of our planet. There are arguments for and against this theory, but I don’t have the scientific knowledge to enter into a discussion on the subject.

I’m going to write about the importance of apparently little things which can have a tremendous impact on our lives.

Small, often improvised decisions or sheer luck, can have long-lasting positive or negative effects on our lives and the lives of the people we interact with, regardless of whether we are aware of the consequences. In fact, we may never know how our words or actions changed the course of someone’s life.

Chance meetings

How many of you met the person you are currently living with by chance? If I hadn’t visited a friend of a friend on a specific day, I would never have met my husband. By the way, I never saw her again, so she doesn’t know! Many friends have mentioned similar experiences. Job opportunities, finding the right house, etc. are often the result of a chance encounter.

Minor Changes to Our Routines

I recently reviewed ‘Feel Better in Five’ and ‘Atomic Habits’, two books about how minor changes to our routines can make a tremendous impact on our lives.

For example, imagine never brushing your teeth, and now imagine doing so three times a day for 2 minutes, and what a great impact that makes on your oral health.

Five or ten minutes of exercise, or meditation, or journaling will improve our wellbeing enormously.

Happy Moments

What about your happy moments? Some of your happiest moments were life-changing events, such as a birth, a wedding or an official ceremony. These moments are few and far between.

Most of our happy moments are smaller, often intimate events such as a photograph you took, a letter you received or sent, a coffee with a friend, a text message, a phone call, a kiss, a hug, words of encouragement from a friend or a stranger. Our lives are full of a multitude of small moments, which make us happy.

The older I get, the more important little things become, because every day is made up of moments and I’m determined to make each one special.

It’s a bit like the saying, ‘Take care of the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’ So, ‘Take care of the moments and the days will take care of themselves.’

I looked up the quote, just in case, and as I had supposed, someone else said something very similar, first!

In this case, anglo-Irish, 18th century writer,  Maria Edgeworth said: If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.

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Do you practice any small actions which impact your life?

Has a chance encounter or event changed the course of your life?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Still Winter, Soon Spring, Welcome March!’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Tanka

Still winter, soon spring,

Birds build nests, trees start to bloom,

Stormy, windy March,

Go you! Leave winter behind,

New year, new life, rebirth, hope.

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I discovered this fabulous webpage full of wonderful poems to March by nineteenth and twentieth-century poets which you might like to read, while you listen to birds chirping!

I’ve noticed the sound and smell of spring during my daily walks. Birds are merrier and plants are blooming, the air smells fresher and sweeter and the sounds are more cheerful.

I look forward to spring every year, but this year, especially I’m looking forward to moving away from the confinement and fear of  this winter, or should I say last winter?

I was surprised to hear on the news that there are two spring dates, an astronomical or traditional one from 21st of December to 21st March and a meteorological one, which uses whole months, so winter is December to February and spring March to May, and so on for the other seasons.

Apparently, meteorologists think it’s more sensible for record keeping purposes. I can see it would work from a practical point of view too. It may give us a sense of a more logical order if the seasons are defined by whole months, but I’m a fan of astrology and the astrological calendar.

That doesn’t mean to say I’m superstitious, on the contrary, it’s because I believe there is order not irrationality in the cosmos. The universe is like a giant clock where everything ticks perfectly, thanks to its marvellous machinery.

According to the astrological calendar, winter is based on the position of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, regardless of weather conditions. I feel more appreciation for these considerations, because it reminds me that I’m part of something greater than myself and the planet where I happen to live at the moment.

More about this debate in this article.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

How do you feel about March, is it a winter month or a spring month?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘The People I Love’ #February2021 @Pixabay #Tanka

Al final del camino me dirán:

—¿Has vivido? ¿Has amado?

Y yo, sin decir nada, abriré el corazón lleno de nombres.

Pedro Casaldaliga 1928-2020

Paraphrased translation:

At the end of my journey they will ask if I have loved and I will show them my heart full of names.

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We are all aware of our mortality, but the demands of our daily lives, work, family, shopping, household chores, etc. take up most of our thoughts and energy, and then, in the end, everything that’s important is relegated, which brings me to the real topic of this post: the people we love.

Many of us cannot see our loved ones face to face due to covid19 restrictions, and yet we must find time to keep in touch with those we love and appreciate; our family and friends.

Get in touch with them. Call them, send a message, a letter, a postcard, an email, say, ‘I love you’, ‘I miss you’, ‘How are you?’ Not only will it cheer them up, it will also raise your own spirits.

We need to feel the connection with the people we love and appreciate, even if we can’t touch them, hug them or kiss them.

They’re deep in my heart,

I see their faces and hear

their words and laughter

In my thoughts, dreams and soul,

Forever,

The people I love.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

How do you keep in touch with the people you love?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘White Swan’ #February2021 @Pixabay

White Swan

This is no black swan

Who was once a duck,

This is no mirror

Hanging on the wall,

This is no painting,

Seen in museums.

She’s a brave, white swan

Travelling alone

Towards the unknown,

Sure to overcome

Any sudden storm.

The queen of the seas

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Events that are difficult to predict but when they happen have an enormous impact are referred to by author, Nasim Taleb as black swans, in his influential book.

These low probability and high-impact events are unavoidable and are guaranteed to occur in our personal and collective lives.

I’m using the term, black swan, loosely to refer to any unexpected, sudden and negative personal events such as unemployment, illness, death, or collective experiences such as an earthquake or covid19.

These unforeseen events have happened and will inevitably strike again. If we are unprepared, there is very little we can do to stop the emotional and physical tsunami that threatens to bring us to our knees.

Resultado de imagen de quotes about adapt or die

But we can be prepared. By building three powerful mindsets we should work hard to develop: Faith, optimism, and adaptability, from an early age.

We must be prepared for unavoidable disasters by increasing our self-confidence and mental fortitude, cultivating a positive mindset, and creating a mental attitude of adaptability to change.

Sometimes I feel all our lives are a preparation to cope with black swans when they appear, because we know we will surely face more than one throughout our lives. As schools are more concerned with teaching facts, emotional growth is left to our personal initiative and our families.

I’m a great believer in the power of reading, reflecting, and meditation. I’m certainly feeling stronger and more prepared to face challenges since I have more time to think and meditate and read specific books on personal growth.

If you’d like to have a look at some of the books I’ve been reading follow the link below.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

How do you cope with black swans?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts #Tanka ‘Beware of the Vampires’ #February2021 @Pixabay

This picture has taken me to a dark place I’m familiar with, but not fond of. I’m standing outside the doors to a dark castle inhabited by thirsty, blood-sucking vampires.

Some will suck your blood

And your dreams, if you let them.

Forgive and ignore,

They have their own sad journey.

You cannot change their flight path.

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I’m going to tell you three things I’ve learned about vampires. The first is the power of forgiveness.

The second is don’t let them convince or confuse you, and the only way is to ignore their negative words. They’re not your friends, they’re not there to help you, they’re out to help themselves to your precious energy, your lifeblood. But here’s the thing, they can’t take it if you don’t let them have it! You have what they need. Your dreams and enthusiasm are your superpower. Don’t waste it on them.

The third thing I know is that you cannot help a vampire. You may think it’s your duty to help them, and it would be if you could, but you can’t. They don’t want or need your help. They only want your blood.

Finally. I know each one of us has to follow our own dreams and plan our own routes to self realisation and discovery. That doesn’t mean we have to be selfish or obsessive. We should enjoy and share our journey, but ultimately our journey is as unique as each one of us and we owe it to ourselves to make sure we are ready for our final destination.

My final thoughts on dealing with people who bring out the worst in you, highlight your fears and insecurities, demean or criticise you, there’s only one thing you can do, and the sooner you realise this, the sooner you can continue on your own journey.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

Do you know many vampires? 

How do you deal with them?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

Feel free to join in! Grab the hashtag, photo and share your post in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts.

Are there many vampires in your life? How do you cope with them?

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Decluttering Clothes’ #February2021 @Pixabay #ThursdayThoughts

I definitely have too many clothes in my wardrobe.

Some no longer fit, some are no longer fashionable, others are worn out, some I don’t like any more, but even so, I have a hard time getting rid of them.

Am I a hoarder? Perhaps, although I don’t think so…

About twice a year I clear out my wardrobe and make three piles:

Pile one are clothes to throw away, because they’re too tattered.

Pile two are clothes to give away, because someone else could use them.

These two piles are easy enough, it’s the third pile with the items I want to keep which poses problems, because I always keep more than I eventually use. Some have been in the third pile for years and I haven’t worn them for ages. The issue is, how do I decide which items from pile three I should also give or throw away?

One of my best and oldest (not because she’s old, but because I’ve known her since uni) friends, Kumi, swears by Marie Kondo’s decluttering and organisation method.

Marie’s question would be: Which item sparks joy? They all do, that’s why I don’t give them away!

Then Marie suggests thanking the clothes for the joy they brought you and let them go if you no longer need or use them. Sounds good. I might try that, but I have a feeling it’s not going to work.

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin suggests if you can’t decide whether to keep an item of clothing, ask yourself, “If I ran into my ex on the street, would I be happy wearing this?” So, I should be thinking of my ex while I declutter? It sounds odd, as I’ve been married to the same man for forty years. I’d have to go back to someone in my early twenties! That would be a nostalgic trip down memory lane…

Still, Gretchen does have 17 other questions which are very useful in this blog post. I’ll try to seriously declutter my wardrobe next month, as I welcome spring, following her suggestions.

Once I’ve decluttered, another challenge is how to organise the clothes in my wardrobe. I’m still trying to figure out a method for that too! Any tips?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). I’ll be grabbing one of their photos as a prompt for a #ThursdayPhotoThoughts.

Thursday is a good day for thinking. In fact, it’s the exact middle of the week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have flown by, probably full of work, obligations and general busyness, but Friday, Saturday and Sunday are days we look forward to with joy, because they hold the promise of some free time for relaxation, friendship, family and hobbies. Thursday is an ideal day to stop and reflect. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words.

Feel free to join in! Grab the hashtag, photo and share your post in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts.

When and How do you declutter your wardrobe? 

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts #Haiku ‘Infinite Rituals’ #January2021 @Pixabay

An apple a day

A simple, delicious treat

The taste of childhood.

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There was an apple tree in my garden when I lived in Harrow, over forty years ago, so apples were a staple part of my diet. My mother made apple crumble, apple pie, baked apples with cream or custard, and countless other types of cooked apple recipes. We also ate plenty of raw apples. I have no idea how my mother managed to keep them, but we ate apples from our tree all year round!

I still enjoy eating apples and usually eat an apple a day. In fact, apples are the most constant thing in my life. I ate them as a child and still do so, even though I now live in Spain, where oranges are the queen of all fruits. I also have oranges every day, usually as juice, but apples have always been there and I can’t imagine not eating apples for the rest of my life. It’s not about the taste, smell, texture, vitamins or fibre. Every time I eat an apple, my past present and future merge into a timeless and boundless ritual. So simple and so real.

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

I’ve noticed I get an email from Pixabay on Thursdays with an image. Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for).

Thursday is a good day for thinking. In fact, it’s the exact middle of the week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have flown by, probably full of work, obligations and general business, but Friday, Saturday and Sunday are days we anticipate with joy, because they hold the promise of some free time for relaxation, friendship, family and hobbies. Thursday is an ideal day to stop and reflect on the past three days and prepare for the three days to come, or write about anything the image suggests. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words.

I don’t need a reason to write, in fact I have to force myself to stop writing at regular intervals, just to move my limbs, and interact with the rest of the world! But I do need a reason to stop and reflect for a few minutes, so the middle of the week and a random Pixabay photo are the ideal combination.

Feel free to join in! Grab the hashtag, photo and share your post in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts.

What do apples mean to you? Which childhood food do you still love and eat regularly?