Walking with Robert Frost

The road less travelled

The chosen path

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

On my walk in the forest this morning I came to a fork in the path and was faced for a moment with a decision. Which way will I go? Almost without hesitation I took the road to my right. Neither path appeared less trodden, less traveled, they both looked fairly similar in terms of use and of scenery. I forged ahead on my chosen path without a second thought of what wonders the other path held. Instead, I found myself exhilarated by the journey, the sense of adventure that lay in the unexplored.  I was intrigued by the details I encountered – the small flock of finches humming their throaty song, the vibrant glow of the morning sun on my cheek and the deeply satisfying smell of the eucalypt, that always signifies home to me.

I sit now, with warm tea in hand, and  ponder Frost’s dilemma.  I do not wish to grow old, reflect and always hold that sense of loss for the path not taken. I do not wish to question, or second guess, nor do I wish to hold feelings of regret or remorse for what might have been.  There is no right or a wrong decision, no right or a wrong path. Instead, living a life of acceptance and gratitude; living life with a sense of reverence and wonder for the beauty and opportunities that are revealed  is, for me, far preferable than regret.

I will not sigh for moments lost, I will not sigh for what might have been. I will rejoice for opportunities taken and given, I will be grateful for the magic, mystery and wonders my path has held. And let’s be honest, what’s stopping me from hiking back and changing direction if I change my mind?

Wishing you a day filled with wonder.

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Waves, Gardenias and Einstein

Do you ever have those times when you feel like everything is stacking up and you just can’t deal with it all, manage it all, find time for it all? Even the good stuff loses its shine and seems too difficult because there are so many competing issues to deal with, projects to begin, people to see, plans to fulfil? I’m in that spot right now.  It is like a massive wave has engulfed me and I’m rolling around inside, tangled, tumbling, tossing about without a level surface upon which to set my feet. I’m off balance.

I’m in a state of overwhelm, a state of ‘woe is me’. I’m in that place where it’s easier to throw my hands in the air and do nothing, to bury my head in the sand and hope it will all go away. Procrastination is my ‘go to’ behaviour in times like these.

Strange I should be visited by this devil, this monkey on my back now. Things have been going so very well of late. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful holiday, I’ve made some personal shifts that have been very satisfying. I had great intentions for the several projects I had in place. Why now?   Is there really a part of us that likes to maintain the status quo, that likes to keep us in a place of mediocrity, of longing, of never quite being where we want to be? If so, breaking that barrier, breaking the cycle of highs and lows is a challenge.

I know I won’t be in the whirlpool of my dispair for long. But I know if nothing changes I’ll be back at the beginning of the same pattern, the same cycle of longing and hoping that things will be different. I’ll come out of the whirlpool, I’ll pull my socks up and I’ll line up my projects again. Things will swim along pleasantly and happily for sometime, I will feel like I’m making progress  and, BAM, the wave will roll in and suck me under and into the turmoil, yet again!

What needs to change? What can I do differently to break the cycle, to cut the cord, to move on?

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That was several days ago. I didn’t have the answers but I faced my fears and took action. Action that I saw me emerge from the depths of the tumultuous wave, with my head above water noticing the brightness of the sun rather than the murkiness of the sea bed.

Firstly, I looked for something to be immediately grateful for and something to bring beauty into my seemingly helpless, hopeless world. I wandered into the garden and gave thanks for the newly budding flowers, the lush herbs and the gorgeous smell of gardenias, lavender, rosemary and mint.  I selected three beautifuly formed, pure white gardenias and placed them in a small crystal vase near my workspace.

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Then, beyond all impulses to run away, to hide, to procrastinate, I set about addressing the one critical task that needed to be fulfilled that day. I slowly worked my way through it, allowing time for small breaks to stretch and drink tea. I pushed aside my overwhelm to focus for the day on this one significant task and I am proud to say I achieved it. I ticked it off the list.

These two small acts, acts that differed from my past behaviour, achieved something akin to a miracle for me. Instead of being tossed about for weeks on end, sinking deeper into self pity and despair I now, just a couple of days later, have more energy, feel more motivated and have a brighter outlook than I expected was possible.

It wasn’t rocket science but maybe the key to changining the cycle is to do something different. I can see the truth in that old adage of Einstein’s:

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”

I raise my cup of tea this morning and propose a toast to life, to the power in taking action and to breaking habitual cycles by doing things differently, one small step at a time.

Here’s to you too. Wishing you a wonderfully pleasant and fulfilling day.

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Complaining has no value

Complaining has no value. It comes from a need to deflect responsibility for anxiety onto others. Complaining does not aim to resolve an issue or change circumstances. Complaining serves only as a means of venting frustrations and to garner sympathy and support. Complaining is a means of coping for those who are afraid or incapable of addressing and overcoming the barriers they face (Alicke et al.,1992).

………..

Having recently read a summary of a study into the role of complaining in social interactions I reviewed my own bouts of complaining. They were indeed designed to enlist support and sympathy. Oh my, the few times that sympathy and support were not forthcoming resulted in deep indignation on my part. On further reflection I also noticed my complaints have all  been aimed at others in situations when I felt helpless or powerless or when I was simply too lazy to develop a plan of action and follow through.

This behaviour is toxic. It does little to create a harmonious environment in which we can grow and thrive. It stunts our progress, belittles us in our own eyes and keeps us bound in limitations. By enrolling others in our complaints and gaining their sympathy are we not also belittling them and binding them in a vicious cycle of non action?

The solution? I’m not sure I have the answers but a few things that come to mind, a few strategies I’m willing to try, include:

  1. Being more mindful of our words.
  2. Catching ourselves before we ‘share’ our woes.
  3. Understanding our need for support and sympathy when things get tricky and difficult.
  4. Reframing our complaints so they become requests for assistance in finding solutions and action steps rather than accusing and deferring responsibility for solutions in preference for sympathy.

and, finally, to borrow  the words of Don Miguel Ruiz – “Be Impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love” to benefit yourself and those around you.

Grow your world in positive ways!

Words have power. Grow your world in positive ways.

Words have power. Grow your world in positive ways.

The measure of a (wo)man

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This quote gave me cause to pause and ponder recently. It struck a chord.

Living a successful life or one of value are two vastly different concepts. I realise we all have different definitions of success and value. For me success used to be reaching a certain level of education, rising as high in ones career as one could go etc, etc.  I strove for success for many years and the getting of it was a hollow ‘victory’.

Today I endeavour to be a person of worth and value and of service to others. Today, to live a life of integrity, to be kind and just and compassionate mean so much more to me than worldly success.

Whether I will achieve the later is not yet clear or certain but the journey and the quest are gratifying.

Shannyn

8 weeks, 6 countries, 40 000 kilometres…. I’m home

 

I love to travel

I love to travel

After 8 weeks in 6 countries with 5 languages, sleeping in 22 beds, having travelled 1221.5 kilometres by rail, 34164.82 kilometres by plane, approximately 3952 kilometres by road  and untold miles of  footsteps; I have returned home!

I love to travel. Exploring new countries, interacting with the locals in each area and learning about the history and culture of each place fascinates me, heightens  my senses, satisfies my curiosity, intellect and sense of adventure.
Travel lingers in the heart and mind for years to come. Memories and recollections take me back to the time and place when the routine of life sets in again. Travel broadens perspectives, clarifies misunderstandings, deepens an appreciation for all people, cultures and religions. Travel is uplifting and it helps me to see the world through new eyes.
After two wonderful months in Europe I have now arrived home, held my son in my arms, stood bare foot on my little patch of Australia, slept in my own bed and emptied my backpack. I am looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends; the people who make this place home to me.
Friends and family make this place home.

Friends and family make this place home.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” –

Seneca

 

8 weeks, 6 countries, 40 000 kilometres…. I’m home

 

I love to travel

I love to travel

After 8 weeks in 6 countries with 5 languages, sleeping in 22 beds, having travelled 1221.5 kilometres by rail, 34164.82 kilometres by plane, approximately 3952 kilometres by road  and untold miles of  footsteps; I have returned home!

I love to travel. Exploring new countries, interacting with the locals in each area and learning about the history and culture of each place fascinates me, heightens  my senses, satisfies my curiosity, intellect and sense of adventure.
Travel lingers in the heart and mind for years to come. Memories and recollections take me back to the time and place when the routine of life sets in again. Travel broadens perspectives, clarifies misunderstandings, deepens an appreciation for all people, cultures and religions. Travel is uplifting and it helps me to see the world through new eyes.
After two wonderful months in Europe I have now arrived home, held my son in my arms, stood bare foot on my little patch of Australia, slept in my own bed and emptied my backpack. I am looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends; the people who make this place home to me.
Friends and family make this place home.

Friends and family make this place home.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” –

Seneca