Be kind

10 11 2019

This week has been a week of trials. My father has to be hospitalized, not unusual, but always difficult. Where positivity is concerned, you may not regard hospitals as being the best of places to hang out, but they are actually a lesson- an especially enormous lesson here in Greece. I think this was one of the biggest shocks when I first came to Greece. However, that’s a story for another day, because as we said, this is about change and positive thinking. It is a good day for today’s exercise, though. Being kind. Spreading kindness and love is the way to receive kindness and love. Karma is only a bitch when you are a bitch, so change it. That’s today’s lesson. It begins with having a handful of magical dust and spreading it over everyone you have contact with. It’s about spreading thanks, to everyone. So, I spread the thanks today, I covered each and everyone of you with magic dust, thanking you for every service you have given me.

Magic Dust Everyone.

It began with the wonderful paramedics who came to pick up my father early morning. Storms and high winds did not stop them doing their job. Then I thanked the doctor on call at the health centre where he was checked out. So much dust in the atmosphere there. Then I dusted the nurses and doctors, thanking them for doing their jobs with so much love. I dusted the administrators who fixed the paperwork. When I got home, my phone and internet had burned out due to the severe thunderstorms. I dusted the customer service man on the phone who made sure that they would be fixed the next day. I dusted all my friends and relatives who phoned to ask how my father was. I dusted my brother who was fixing our business internet site. I dusted the man on the street who told me my tyres needed more air, and then the man at the petroleum station who filled them with air. I dusted everyone. In my mind I had a cloth sack filled with magic sparkling dust, which I dipped my hand into, feeling its grainy smoothness sliding through my fingers. I saw myself swirling around each of the people I had had contact with during the day, throwing the dust over their heads as I smiled gratefully, whispering thank you in their ears. I loved today’s exercise. Thank you, thank you, thank you.





Attraction

9 11 2019

The thing about magnets is that they attract anything that is metallic to them. Today’s exercise was about finances. Now, I am always in dire straits whenever money is concerned, and I have never really loved it. I once had all my silver chains in a small jewelry box. After several months, I tried to take out one of the chains and they had suddenly become one great mass of knots. That is my money situation. A big mass of knots. Ones that, try as I might, I just cannot undo. Until now. Now I need to pour love into those knots, so that they just magically come undone and finally stick to my magnet. So today’s exercise of attracting money towards you is one which I truly need at the moment. Faced with uncertainty and even bankruptcy, I am trying to change my life, so this will be a serious test for me.

The Money Magnet

The task is to show gratitude for money received, by showing gratitude to what we use money for. I collected all my unpaid bills and wrote THANK YOU FOR THE MONEY on all of them. As I wrote this I felt immense gratitude for having the money to pay the bill, even if I didn’t have it. You see, gratitude is a great healer. The next thing was to take all the bills I recently paid and write THANK YOU – PAID on them. It is awesomely therapeutic to feel the gratitude for the services that have been provided for which you are paying. So, I wrote on my electricity bill, feeling gratitude for all the things that work in my house with this electricity. I wrote thank you on my phone bill, acknowledging the greatness of being able to talk to all my loved ones – my daughter who is miles away, my husband who is in a different country. I wrote thank you on my supermarket bill, grateful for the food and drink I am able to buy. Thank thank you thank you. These are my favorite words these days. Mine and Einstein’s.





Every house should have a garden

4 11 2019

Over the years I have come to understand that I live in an area that is poor in mind, but rich in natural beauty and resources. There are literally few things that you cannot grow here, but yet, each day you hear of world hunger, food shortages. Supermarkets around the country have special baskets for you to add purchases you have made for the poor and homeless.

Undoubtedly, there is poverty and there is homelessness in every part of the world. But in my mind this is a consequence of a world gone wrong. It is the outcome of a system of beliefs that developed so much that the beliefs ceased to exist.

I imagine that a community should run much like a home. To sustain the home, each member has a job to do. Someone must cook. Someone must cultivate the food or shop for it. Someone must make a budget. Someone must provide the commodity to enable the budget. Someone must collect water to clean. someone must clean. The list is endless. This is a simple way of explaining how a home should work, but I like simple. I like it because there is no bartering. No “if you run my back, I’ll rub yours.” No middleman getting his finger in the pie. No scam. It is what it is. Unfortunately my country is not run like a home. There are too many cracks in the walls, too many fingers in the pies and more middlemen than there are men.

For optimism’s sake I carry on, not believing in the country a but in the home, and like any home, I believe there should be a garden. A garden full of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. That is what keeps the home going. It keeps us alive. It feeds us. It shows us the beauty of nature.

Today’s lesson will help me reinforce this belief, as today is a gratitude day for all the ingredients that keep us alive.

The magic ingredient

Today, I was thankful to food and water – the two things that keep our bodies functioning. It was a stormy day, so this made a greater impact on my visualizations. I thanked nature for providing us with the food we eat. I thanked the farmers and their helpers for overcoming the weather and planting, cultivating and harvesting these products. I thanked the truck drivers for picking these products up. I thanked the airlines and ships for transporting them. I thanked the storekeepers and vendors for providing them. I thanked every person I could think of who has the job of feeding us.

Then I thanked water. I thanked the stormy rainy weather outside for watering all the gardens around the world and filling all those water tanks, so fresh water is always available. I thanked water for every use it has in every industry and every business. I thanked the water that helps al living things survive . I thanked the water I was drinking throughout the day.

Today’s experience was immense, because it is an immense subject. It was like Thanksgiving, without Black Friday or Cyber Monday.





Negativity

3 11 2019

Negativity. Not a good thing. Working me out is not an easy journey to make. It’s not a first class cabin on British Airways’ Dreamliner. Nor is it a luxury Royal Caribbean cruise. It’s more like a voyage across the Atlantic in a fishing boat, which I haven’t done, but visualizing it gives me sort of the same feeling as this. I am the only passenger, and although embarking on my journey seems a fun and exciting adventure, the reality is quite different, as sailing upon the peaceful, calm ocean’s water on a beautiful sunny day, rudely turns into a fight for survival in a raging storm. Sails are torn, waves are crashing into the boat from all directions, and chaos appears as my co-traveller. Then I begin my at leasts. I may not have the clearest weather, but at least I’m on this boat. It may be bumping along the waves, but at least there are no holes. It’s getting rougher, but at least I have this life jacket. I may not know everything about sailing, but at least I can swim.

You see life is not about problems and solutions. There will always be problems to which there will be possibly more than one solution. Our perception of the problem, though, is just that – our perception of it. If we could just get that little voice in our head to not focus on the problem, but in the at leasts we have, then the problem becomes a smaller version of itself. This is the sense I make of it. This is how negativity slowly diminishes, until it becomes obsolete.

Today is my way out of negativity. The exercise is simple enough.

I have to take a problem or a negative situation that i most want to resolve, and find ten things to be grateful for. So here goes.

The negative situation. My financial situation.

My magical way out of negativity.

I am grateful :

  • To have been able to learn how to survive with a little.
  • For the small but more important things in life that I have become aware of.
  • For the precious family moments I have been able to have.
  • For becoming more creative.
  • For appreciating the true values in life.
  • For learning how to less frivolous
  • For reducing my carbon footprint
  • For opportunities to do good things with less things.
  • For finding true meanings
  • For keeping my sanity
  • For improving my problem solving skills

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the perfect resolution.

The hardest part of today is to keep it positive and not hunk negatively about anything. So this will be a wonderful day. It will be the story of a girl on a boat, crossing the Atlantic, with clear blue skies and the most favorable conditions.





Do what you love

1 11 2019

“Find what you love, then do it.” I love that. If that phrase were a plane, then I would be the pilot. I have spent at least 80 percent of my life working. The thing is, no one ever told me to find what I love doing.

My parents taught me to just work hard – that’s one aspect. However, frying chips, cleaning chickens, and filleting cod was not driven by insane passion. I didn’t hate it, but it was not what I loved.

My teachers at school were quite good with me. I was a creative type, with a knack for art, maths and storytelling – literally I was great at that.

My passion at that age was singing. I would spend every minute of my free time listening to music. It was sort of a taboo in my house. Never really knew why and I never asked, but I would wait till there was no one around and then I would start. The only records at home were Greek records, so Greek it was. Every summer visit to Greece or Cyprus would be recounted over the winter months by playing all the tapes or records bought before leaving. Not enough, though. My hunger for music was bigger than me, but not “right”. So I would skimp on lunch and save up pennies to buy that must have song. Sometimes, I would just wait to hear it in the radio, or secretly switch tv channels to it on Top of the Pops. When I got my first radio cassette recorder, life became that much more interesting. An empty cassette in the recorder and it just all made sense. Press and record. I would learn songs and sing them- everywhere – cleaning the house, doing the ironing, getting up, going to bed was just one great song in my head. This fire was quickly extinguished when the time came to focus on my future, which, guess what, singing was not going to be a part of. This is, again, another story, but that was and still is, my passion.

After the chippies and the restaurants, my next jobs were during uni. I worked in bars and pubs, did some telesales, but then it wasn’t until my work experience year that I found that I had another passion. Customer service. I worked for Xerox during this year, and it was one of the best years of my life. I loved working there, being part of the office culture, getting up, dressing up, going to staff meetings, talking to customers, solving their problems. My year in Rank Xerox was the year that helped me find a passion again and I loved it. I would later be head hunted by the company, but that again is a story not for here.

Next, came Greece. So let’s put this shortly, a family business was built, I came here to help run it, fell in love with the place and my husband, and stayed. Now, we’re not talking about Mykonos here, so summer seasons are short, so the family business was about 3 months long – any more time was and is, just for the sake of being open. But this was really something I loved. I was and still am, enthralled with the whole hospitality thing. Love meeting the customers, love arranging events, love the atmosphere. However, short seasons meant I also had to find a job for the remaining 7 or 8 months of the year. So I taught English.

Teaching in Greece is a very complex subject, which I learnt as soon as I started my small business. I believed I would just be helping students who were not that good, it it turns out that I was actually teaching them what they should have been taught in school. Anyway, this is a whole other story, possibly a book. So that is how I started my dual jobs in Greece, and this is what I have been doing up until today. I’m tired. I’m exhausted but life’s ups and downs means that I am working almost every day and night, barely making ends meet, trying to save the family business I love, and having to keep on teaching in the process.

Today’s exercise is giving gratitude for your job. As it is the end of October, and I have started my teaching job, this is what I will be focusing on. Not ideal, but the point is to make it ideal.

Works like magic.

Today I have an imaginary manager with me who is making notes on all the thoughts and feelings I have for my job.

These are his notes for today, only focusing on what I am grateful for.

I’m so grateful for:

  • Those kids that are hungry to learn English.
  • My awareness of the problems they have and tackling those problems in a discreet way.
  • The way that I changed a whole class by making them see the fun in learning and the good in themselves.
  • The knowledge that each individual has their own learning speed, and own learning time.
  • The gift I was given by one of my students.
  • The hug I was given by another student.
  • The smiles on the children’s faces when they get a joke I have said in English.
  • The simple act of teaching them other things like kindness.
  • The books that help them get a small taste of a whole different world.
  • Their eyes when you tell them the history of Halloween.
  • Getting paid

My life is about multitasking so I had to focus on just one of today’s jobs, which is not my favorite, but that’s ok, and I do feel better.





Money and me

30 10 2019

So, today’s exercise, as you have gathered by the title, has to do with money. Money and I have had a curious relationship throughout the years, so in my search for answers, I reached into my past to try and understand the reasons for me being in the situation I am in now.

Younger years

A sense of hard work has always been instilled in me from a young age. My parents were both hard working. They had restaurants and take-aways, and when I was about 11 years old, it was my turn to help out in the businesses. Work, school,more work, more school. I didn’t struggle. I couldn’t struggle. That was life, the norm. You see, immigrants could only really compare themselves to other immigrants; that was what my cousins were doing, my friends were doing, so that’s what I was doing. Now, as for money – we asked and we received, so there was really no in between. No saving, no budgeting, no breaking the piggy bank, no actual exchange for work done. In view of this, my younger self merely presumed that there was a fountain from which I could draw from. Well no, I was not that naive to think that it grew on trees, but I ask never really got to know it. You see, I now understand money a little better. I know that it is a means to an end. It is a commodity we use in order to credit somebody else’s work, and to give value to our work.

Yes, it makes the world go round, but, believe me, the spoon I was born with was more like plastic than silver. I am not ungrateful, though. Its importance is in what we can use it for and its value is the value we give to it. Money helped to feed me, house me, educate me, to travel. Money clothed me, gave me freedom to make better choices.

The next years

Money allowed me to get here. Again, wherever here is. As a student. my jobs gave me the money I needed for books and clothes and rent. Later, my jobs gave me the money to pay for the diapers, the milk and the pediatrician’s bills. It paid for the food on our table, the medicine, the extra curricular activities. Now, It is my friend because it allows me to use it to pay the bills, my children’s education, my debts. It allows me to get from A to B, even if it always seems to be the steepest uphill climb. However, I am truly grateful for it.

Magic Money.

Today, I wrote this message on a 5 euro bill, and I will carry this and look at it all day.

Thank you for all the money I’ve been given throughout my life.

The next step is to be grateful every moment I receive money and every moment I am given something that costs money. This has to be one of the hardest things to remember, but let’s see how amazing this can be.





Mentors, Idols and Health

28 10 2019

In an attempt to rediscover myself I decided to write a blog, sharing my experiences, stories, fears and dreams with you all. My journey was never the easy road, but hard work and will power always showed me the way. I think that it had to do with faith. Faith that the good road was always the right road. There was always another obstacle to overcome, another hurdle to jump over, another hic in the cup.

The thing with inner strength is that it is usually the sequel to a traumatic experience. It is then that you seek the meaning, the reason to carry on, the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. My younger self did that. The trauma was followed by denial, anger, guilt, detachment, despondency and finally defeat. Things that were not on my bucket list. Feelings that were not usual for that age. Despite this, however, I had a deep conversation with me and that was when I made decisions. A better life – a better me. I let go of any undermining thoughts and fixed me. I read, I studied, I worked through the issues and then I searched for hope. Now, in the days of no blogs or vlogs, where google was a spelling mistake and search engines were not a thing, searching was a tad more difficult. Searching was done in libraries, which were my sanctuaries, delving through books and microfiche articles. It was helped by TVs and radios, newspapers and magazines. Searching was time consuming but enriching. It was through these searches that I found my first idols. There were so many great women to choose from – scientists, politicians, journalists, singers, authors, businesswomen. So many, yet so few. In awe of all these women I tried and worked hard, but I had already been stripped of my safety net, and the cracks has already begun to show. I dreamt of being a Margaret, a Dionne, a Diana, an Oprah. But I never dreamt of being me.

On today’s journey I am being grateful for something tied to all this. I am being grateful to my health. It is so important to be grateful for each limb, each cell, each organ, each sense which makes us what we are. Our body is our temple. Our health is the most valuable thing in our lives, and it is thanks to this health, both in body and mind, that I was able to dream, focus and get here today, wherever here is.

Magical Health.

I said thank you for each part of my body- legs, feet, arms, hands, eyes, ears. I gave thanks for my senses, the cells in my body, each organ. I was thankful about my heart, my mind.

I will do this each day as part of my gratitude practice.

The Gift Of Health Is Keeping Me Alive.

Through today’s exercise I remembered. I remembered that I had never found my mentor. You know, a mentor is possibly ‘The Person’. Stories are full of mentors, those older people who had that knowledge, that little edge over life, that small tip that only they know, and now only you know. I did search for a mentor, but did I ? Possibly not. My heroes were untouchable, busy people with whose lives were not even closely linked to mine. So I had to become my own mentor, and this journey would be hard, bringing me here again, to today.