Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Communicate to Connect.

Communication involves much more than words; it involves the entire body. The stance of the body, body language, gestures, tone, pitch, volume, eye contact and content are all elements of communication. Words are merely the tools one employs to do the work, however they are very powerful tools. I liken them to a power tool such as a power saw or drill. These tools need to be handled with care and are not to be flung around carelessly because we know they are dangerous and can cause much harm if not used with caution. Words too, flung around carelessly, can cause irreparable damage.

Imagine how irritating a power tool would be if it continued on and on long after its job had been done. It’s the same with words; unnecessary repetition, sometimes called nagging, is unproductive.

Deep Love Quotes and Sayings | The Dark Secrets
Image : The Dark Secrets.

Five levels of communication have been identified.

Level #1: The Cliche Level. At this level we say something like, “How are you?” This level of communication does not wait for a response, nor does it expect one. If there is a response it’s usually something like, ” Yeah, good.” Even if you are feeling anything but good. Both parties realise that at this level there is no real invitation to communicate.

Level #2: We report facts. At this level we report facts to one another. We talk about the weather, sport, the news, the government, other people, although not always with the facts; this is known as gossip! As long as we don’t get close to exposing ourselves, or how we might feel about anything we can talk for quite a while at this level.

Level #3: We report the facts and mention how we feel about them. At this level we are starting to get warm! We can help facilitate the move from level 2 to level 3 by asking the speaker, “How do you feel about……..?” This question indicates that we are listening and have an interest in the person. Often people are led into understanding themselves better or finding a solution to a problem when they are encouraged to articulate their feelings.

Level #4: We begin to reveal ourselves. We talk about ideas rather than other people. We discuss our likes and dislikes, our plans, our goals and dreams.

Level #5: We are transparent to the other person; our mask is off! We reveal our true selves, we admit our deepest fears and confess our faults. We ask to be accepted and loved for nothing more and nothing less than who we truly are. We connect heart and soul.

It is a sad fact that many people, even those in close relationships, never get past the third level of communication. Communication demands much than words. It requires time, the mouth, eyes, body, mind, soul and heart. But mostly it requires the courage to say, “This is who I am and when I speak with you I will be honest enough to reveal some of my precious self to you.”

This is communication to connect.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Joss Whedon: Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not... |  QuoteTab
Quote: Joss Whedon. Image : Quote Tab.

Draw a Line.

Our local television station runs an advertisement for electricity power line safety. I hope you are able to access it via this link; https://youtu.be/0ZboMHrzioI. Anyway it has got me to thinking about the lines which are drawn in all of our lives because for much of our lives we are either on one side of the line or the other.

Law and decision makers must draw a line somewhere which indicates a cut off point. For example on one side of the line you are driving within the speeding limit but pass that line and you could be in for a speeding fine. Likewise one one side of the line you are driving with in legal alcohol limits and on the other side you run the risk of losing your licence. This line applies to all the big events of life also; events like birth, marriage, death, taxes, education, employment, religion and a myriad of other decisions we make or which are made for us as we transverse our time on the earth.

We all live within boundaries, some are imposed on us but wise and healthy people embrace their own boundary lines which are there to protect themselves and the ones they love from violations. Johnny Cash understood the importance of lines in personal relationships and to keep his, he was prepared to walk the line. https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjRloq8-ZnuAhWt63MBHfXiAnMQwqsBMAN6BAgOEBE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWw0rm7sWRg8&usg=AOvVaw30nf4rdSJ8Xfg4VzMDOTtS

Sometimes we just have to draw a line in the sand. We decide whatever has happened to bring us to this point, we are going to draw a line underneath it. We can forgive and rebuild. In this case we cannot keep going back to the past, grabbing handfuls of sand and hurling them into the present. We look to a brighter and better future.

There is another line which we all have; I call this our bottom line. The funny thing about a person’s bottom line is that we really don’t know where it is until it is crossed. I observe that people can absorb a lot, they can be very forgiving and optimistic with hope that things will improve. But at some point there is that bottom line and once crossed there is no going back. It is serious to violate another person’s bottom line, once done, things can never be the same.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The Formula for Happiness.

Happiness is a choice, Not A Result

It seems we spend a lot of time wishing people happiness. We say Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, Happy Retirement, Have a Happy Day; we wish new babies long and happy lives as we wish newly weds a long and happy marriage. Yet for all of these good wishes toward happiness, unhappiness abounds. People are unhappy in their job, unhappy in their marriages, unhappy with their situation, unhappy with the way they look, unhappy with themselves.

Happiness is an illusive quality, it seems the more it is longed for, the more it seems just out of our grasp. This is because happiness is not something we grasp for and find; happiness is an attitude that we nurture in ourselves, and it grows, because we have the highest good for others as our core moral compass.

G Wayne Thomas in his song, There’s no Formula for Happiness, released in March 1972 penned the following lyrics which spoke to my 1972 heart and still do today.

G wayne Thomas – Open Up your heart . – YouTube

There’s no formula for happiness, that’s guaranteed to work
It all depends on how you treat your friends
And how much you’ve been hurt
But it’s a start, when you open up your heart
And try not to hide, what you feel inside
Just open up your heart.

A couple of thousand years before 1972, The Great Physician and Teacher, Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount spoke of a perfect blueprint for happiness. My 1957 Keys to Happiness book (p.12) describes these teachings as the remedy for what Thoreau called “lives of quiet desperation”. You can read them in Matthew Chaps 5,6,& 7. Matthew says that when the crowds had finished hearing what Jesus had to say, they were astonished.

The message then is the same today. It is the Golden Rule. Just as the song says, open up your heart, and from an authentic heart, do your good to others that you would like them to do to you. Be happy to do this and you might be astonished at the happiness which will follow.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Life Can Only Understood Backwards but It Must Be Lived Forwards Life Can  Only Be Understood Backwards but It Must Be Lived Forwards ― Søren  Kierkegaard | Life Meme on ME.ME
Quote: Soren Kierkegaard. Image me.me

Christmas 2020 is now just a memory and the door has closed on the year that was. The New Year of 2021 has arrived and with it all the hopes that it will bless us in the ways we most need. At this time of year, and particularly on New Year’s Eve, I am filled with nostalgia. I have experienced this feeling since childhood; while everyone else is reveling, I have this funny feeling, and it is a strange feeling. I think it is because I know what has happened in the past but what lies ahead is unknown. I feel this despite my very deep and personal Christian faith; I know that God is always in control and that His unchanging nature and promises provide the grace and resilience to live life forward, since that is the only way life can be lived.

For as the river does not backward flow, forward must life daily go.

Still, I recall New Year’s Days when there was not an inkling that loved ones would receive cancer diagnoses and be passed from this life in a few short months, that marriages and families would be smashed and unable to recover, that loved ones would be killed in accidents, that homes would burn down or just a year ago, that a virus would turn our lives upside down and globally exact an enormous toll on physical, financial, social and emotional well being.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and with the wisdom of hindsight life can begin to make some sense, although for much of life we may never understand why it had to be so. However we must accept that it is and with that acceptance move forward in grace and hope.

So I share some of my thoughts for the New Year and hope that they may speak to you too.

#Make the most of each day. All our days are a gift of God’s grace.

#Look for the beautiful and the good.

#Be kind and gracious to yourself and others.

#Build emotional, physical and spiritual resilience.

#Count your blessings.

#Live in Faith and Hope, even when everything you see might tell another story.

#Choose to be happy.

2021. May you have the grace and courage to live it well. Happy New Year.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

For cats and cat lover’s I am sure the saying above will not be a favourite, however the saying really has little to do with cats. It has more to do with the idea that there is more than one way to find a solution to a problem and any of these ways can be equally successful.

We run into problems when individuals begin to think that only their way is the right way and simply will not even entertain that the perspective of another can have merit. It is a sure fire way to destroy relationships, whether they be of personal, business or governance nature and whether they be in the home, the community or on a global scale.

Regardless of age, gender, race, religion or any other variable you might like to consider, life does have some rules which apply to us all. It is sort of a karma thing. I have observed many times that people who refuse to yield, people who must always be right and people who cannot accept that there is more than one way to do something, usually end up losing much more than if they had been able to surrender some of their personal power for the sake of a peaceful resolution.

If we can open our minds to the possibility of a range of ideas and solutions and work together with other people towards peaceful resolutions it is quite possible that both the cat and we may save our skins.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The LA Street Angel: Mandelyn Reese — #free #freedom #love #butterfly  #romance...
Quote: Thich Nhat Hanh. Image The LA Street Angel.

Free Love Poetry by Estelle D.

If love it is you have to say that you feel for me,

Don’t hold too tight, lest I should fight,

And struggle to be free,

Don’t clip my wing to keep me grounded,

But let our love on Trust be founded,

Give me space to fly and soar and roam,

Have faith that I will find my way home,

For as the bird returns to the nest,

Let your love for me be,

A haven of rest.

Copyright © 1999

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

All the lonely people; where do they all come from.

Beatles lyrics from Eleanor Rigby 1966.

Loneliness Quotes - ”Loneliness is not lack of company,...
Image: Marriage.com

Loneliness, my Art of Living addresses loneliness on pp.29-31. The article written in 1956 describes loneliness as the most devastating disease today. Fast forward to 2020 and we have what experts refer to as a loneliness epidemic; throw in some covid and a year where most people have felt socially isolated and basically it is a double pandemic.

A quick Google search will reveal some sobering statistics; the ones provided are from 2018. I expect 2020 statistics will tell and even grimmer tale.

So here we are, in all our fast paced world, technology providing connection as never known before and loneliness, especially in our youth and the aged, running at levels close to 20% of the population.

Social isolation and loneliness - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Health effects of
Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks …
isolation, loneliness Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.Apr 23, 2019.National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)

Loneliness can be thrust upon us due to circumstances beyond our control; moving to a location where we know no-one, losing our closest companion, health issues which change our ability to get out and socialize or simply getting old and feeling left out and left behind. These types of loneliness demand the resilience of inner fortitude. Max Ehrmann, the poet who wrote Desiderata had some wise advice.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

It is true that we can be in a roomful of people but feel very lonely and conversely we can spend much time alone yet never feel lonely; it really is to do with nurturing strength of spirit. Much loneliness is self inflicted. My Art of Living article says Self inflicted loneliness is the most soul-searing, yet it is the easiest to dispose of. The cure it prescribes is to do something for others for seldom can a heart be lonely if it seek one lonelier still.p.29.

Truly, the world is wonderful yet, at the same time, can be a lonely and frightening place. Living is messy and we don’t have a lot of control over many of its fortunes or afflictions. We cannot fix the world; that is in the realm of God, but we can do the good that is under our noses to do; we can reach out to the sick, the frail, the lonely, the aged, the lost, the disenfranchised and the discouraged. I bet if we do this we will not become a loneliness statistic.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Grace and gratitude for parents; Five-session class through April 2 -  Westminster Presbyterian Church
Image: Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Grace of Gratitude

The inspiration for today’s post comes from The Art of Living, p.25. This article explores two very beautiful words and concepts which are close to my heart.

Grace, a Biblical word which literally means unmerited favour; it is what God extends to each one of us; for whether we recognize it or not, we are all recipients of God’s goodness.

And Gratitude, which is the art of receiving gracefully, of showing appreciation for every kindness, great or small are virtues well worth the effort to cultivate.

Our response to recognizing we are the recipients of Amazing Grace is to be gracious, graceful, generous and grateful for all of the blessings of life from the least to the greatest.

The attitude of gratitude is not a once off or passing sentiment and it does not express itself only in lofty outpourings. On the contrary, it is in the myriad of little things that the grace of gratitude is best employed. The sincere thank you; the quiet compliment, the acknowledgment of a service rendered, kindly words, a warm smile.

Gratitude is an encouragement; something which everyone needs. More relationships have failed because daily acknowledgment of appreciation and gratitude for all the little things which make up the daily grind is neglected. A once in a while expensive gift or night out is poor compensation when a person feels invisible because all the little things they offer as gifts to the other are not noticed or appreciated.

Gratitude is something of which we cannot give too much. In fact, the more we practice gratitude, the more we will find for which to be grateful. It is on your smiles, thank-yous, words and gestures of appreciation that your marriage, home, family, children and by extension your workplace and neighbours build their philosophy of life.

Grace and Gratitude, may they go with you through each day; they are companions to love and happiness.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

A Garden and a Library

To jump-start your imagination … read – The Observer Online
Image: The Observer Online

Almost 20 years ago my father passed from this life. It was the task of my siblings and I to empty the old farmhouse; our family home since 1938 and the home we had all come to straight from hospital and left the day we married.

As anyone who has ever been involved in this task will know, it is both physically and emotionally exhausting. One of my jobs was to clear the office and the library. Each grandchild, 33 of them, was gifted a book from the library and families chose books of interest for their own libraries.

Among my choices were the two books pictured above. Keys to Happiness published by Reader’s Digest in 1957 and The Art of Living; Reader’s Digest 1958. Both these books are old but intact, they have that old book smell and their pages are browned with age. But recently they spoke to me, as my books in the bookcases do, they said, pick me up, get me down and read me again. And so I am. The books are filled with short stories and snippets of wisdom which embrace all areas of life.

Best Quotes and Sayings about Books
Image: Skip Pritchard.

The interesting thing about the Keys to Happiness and The Art of Living is that the contents, although written over 60 years ago, contain gems of wisdom about life which do not change. The world has changed rapidly but people and their basic needs remain the same. Often we get caught up in the fast pace and the race to success but neglect the very principles and attitudes which enhance life and bring contentment and happiness. For the next days and weeks I will be reading the stories in these books and sharing some of the gems of wisdom in my blog posts.

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

The Colour Purple.

My Jacarandas.
15 Pictures Of Jacaranda Trees That Will Make You Weak At The Knees |  Jacaranda tree, Flowering trees, Beautiful tree
Image: Jacaranda trees Pintrest

I have always loved trees and have planted many. Often I have not been able to stay in one place long enough to see them mature. When hubby and I bought our forever home, one of the things I hoped for was to have a beautiful mature tree in the yard. My preference was for a poinciana tree or a jacaranda tree.

Pin by Mhtbodyguard on Painting in 2020 | Royal poinciana, Poinciana,  Flowering trees
Image: Poinciana tree Pintrest.

So imagine my delight when the home we purchased had not only a lovely jacaranda tree in its backyard but also one in the adjoining neighbour’s yard. Every year around this time we live in a beautiful purple haze. It is indeed a gift.

Royalty in Bloom: Poetry by Estelle D.© 2010

Canopy of purple,
Royalty in bloom,
Showering pastel petals,
While beneath a springtime carpet settles,
Dying to the earth,
As new green leaf is given birth,
Behold the Jacaranda!
Robed in Royal splendour,
Marvel at your station,
In the order of creation
Receive the gift.
Royalty in Bloom!

Poetry, Prose and Parable.

Like a tree planted by streams of water.

Blessed are they who hope in The Lord. He is like a tree planted near  running water, That yields its fruit… | Beautiful nature, Beautiful tree,  Beautiful landscapes
Image: Pintrest

I cannot count the number of seeds, seedlings, plants and saplings I have planted. As any farmer will tell you planting is an act of faith; it is the expectation and hope of a crop which will yield well and be profitable. And as any farmer will tell you there are many variables which can impact the success of a crop, yet still the farmer keeps on planting.

Many trees are planted which the planter never sees grow to maturity. We plant tress for future generations, we plant trees for the environment, we plant trees for birds and wildlife, we plant trees for shade, we plant trees for the fruit and crops they will produce and we plant trees for the sheer beauty of them. So if you want to invest in the future; plant a tree.

The psalmist (Psalm 1: V1-3), compares the person who meditates on God’s Word day and night to a tree planted in a perfect position which yields fruit and prospers. If we want to invest in the present, the future and eternity, the psalmist advises that we plant the Word of God in our hearts.

It seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Psalm 1: 1-3 | Etsy
Image: Etsy.