Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the quintessential quote

This quote was included in a recent newsletter from the passion of my previous life... the theatrical world; and we all know how much I love quotes so I'm thinking two birds one stone! 

“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; 
if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, 
you are quoting Shakespeare; 
if you recall your salad days, 
you are quoting Shakespeare; 
if you act more in sorrow than in anger; 
if your wish is farther to the thought; 
if your lost property has vanished into thin air, 
you are quoting Shakespeare; 
if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, 
if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, 
slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, 
danced attendance (on your lord and master), 
laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days 
and clear out bag and baggage, 
if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, 
if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known 
(for surely you have a tongue in your head) 
you are quoting Shakespeare; 
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, 
if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake! 
What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.” 
― Bernard Levin

If you think about it this could be a great script to tuck away into one's repertoire ... you know...for those occasions when one needs to whip out a soliloquy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

P's in a Pod

dear mother of god I am the personification of procrastination and apathy. one would think that with all the time on my hands of late i'd have whipped this alphabet thing by its balls and slid into the new year done and dusted and ready for the next challenge. hah! whilst the rest of the world get their a's into g for the 2012 a to z i'm pondering peas pee's and the letter p.
(as an aside i have to say that the only things i truly organise so far in advance are air bookings so i'm not feeling too guilty about almost being lapped by the new alphabet team. and besides, i absolutely cannot face doing it again do it this april as my tickets were booked months ago for my trip to tuscany. yeeeha!!!!)

Nothing like having to pause my penmanship because of a surprise visit from my dearest pals. I feel positively energised!!
So now where was I....apart from laboriously leading up to the point I was going to make. 
P for Present. 
No...not the gift wrapped variety although what it represents IS a gift. 
Time...being present in the moment. Savouring the time as it occurs. And of course being there for your loved ones, for yourself...offering up your presence.

I've rediscovered the fact that I absolutely do not flourish when I have time on my hands. My pre~christmas hospitalisation laid me low and precluded me from being able to partake in my normal pastimes. I didn't even bother with festivities. That didn't hassle me at all really. It was the inactivity. And of course that led to an overactive mulling of past issues...future issues... as opposed to using the time productively and ...for example...polishing up my pathetic grasp of the Portuguese language, tidying up my cupboards, clearing clutter...any-damned-thing!

stunning artwork by Amanda Cass
How often do we worry about things that have yet to come or beat ourselves up for mistakes that we’ve made, no matter how much time has passed? The answer is too much. Not only will living in the present have a dramatic effect on our emotional well-being, but it can also impact our physical health. It’s a known fact that the amount of mental stress we carry can have a detrimental affect on our health. (hah!..my stitches come out on wednesday!) We know this yet still we mull instead of being mindful.
Practicing mindfulness (isn’t that a beautiful word!) means we practice awareness in all our actions. Whether we are washing dishes or tying our shoe laces, our mind is focused on whatever we are doing. We are not thinking about the bills that we have to pay, or the phone call we need to make. We are simply living in the moment; minding our own business. And of course there is nothing simple about it except it is a simple choice that we either do this or we don't.
The thought that resonates with me is that if we are living in the present, we are living in acceptance. We are accepting life as it is now, not as how we wish it would or could have been. When we’re living in acceptance we realize everything is just as it is. If we live in the past we can’t do anything about it, it’s gone. If we worry about the future we’re living somewhere that’s just a concept...that doesn’t exist as it hasn’t happened yet. And probably wont! That does not mean that we do the capitulation shoulder shrug or the denial pony tail flick when the shit hits the fan. If we really believe our life sucks and we want to change it, the only place we can do it is in the present. But first we need to accept life as it is. Like a benchmark.
Each time you mindfully let go of thoughts about how life should be, or how life was, let go of the ifs buts and maybes and what ifs and woe is me's and enjoy life as it is, you change your brain. I become very calm when I do this. And the more you do this the more you strengthen that choice 'muscle' making the habit of mindfulness easier and easier. In essence, in every moment there is a choice. But of course if you are like me you forget to do this when you have enough time on your hands to chew through your elbows! If you are like me in no time at all you feel pitiful and pathetic. In essence you give up your personal power. How's them two p's!! But I know - absolutely - that by just pausing and focusing on, for example, taking a deep breath, or on each footstep while taking a walk, savouring the taste of a bite of food, I will get to not only live those few moments to the fullest, but slowly get back into the habit of being mindful.
When it comes down to it our mind is the only thing keeping us from living in the present.
Does that mean that we mustn't think about the past or the future? In a word, hell no. Not possible. Logic tells us that we generally plan for the future based on past actions. However by being mindful, by living skillfully in the present, we will be doing well what we have to do now, even if that means that what we are doing now is looking back to plan for the future. Yes I know, slightly convoluted pondering.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
a sweet pea...my birth flower