A Crystal Ball for the Holidays?

I wrote last week about the anxious feelings we can experience with the holiday season fast approaching. There are so many extra things to think about this time of year and many of us can feel extra jittery and stressed. We may find ourselves more reliant than ever on those we love. Sometimes though, we find that those around us have their own problems and anxieties which sometimes present themselves in unexpected ways.

If you had a crystal ball and could see into the future, do you think you would find happiness? Would you put an end to anxious feelings you experience if you knew how life was going to pan out for yourself or others?

I recently came across a story about a ‘Naughty or Nice’ book. The heroine of the story mysteriously received a book through her post box which enabled her to find out more about the people she knew, and the actions they appeared to be taking to achieve what they wanted in life. Just by uttering a name over the book, the girl found that the book magically opened and revealed unusual and sometimes apparently undesirable things about the people she thought she knew. What was interesting was the girl’s reaction and the conclusions she came to after seeing what was revealed in the book. Rather than being helped by what she saw she was often dismayed and perplexed, and felt let down by neighbours and colleagues, and the people she loved.  Rampaging around she accused people of various misdemeanours and often made them ashamed or shocked. Things got worse and her life started to unravel.

However, before long, she realised that if she turned the book over, there was another side to each story. People did things for a reason; they were led to perform certain actions because of a series of events. Sometimes what looked bad on the surface wasn’t really bad at all but just part of an ongoing story. Once she saw that everyone had their frailties and their own wishes and desires, indeed, their own story, she forgave, and built both old and new relationships. The book showed that hardly anyone is just ‘naughty’ or just ‘nice’, but perhaps a bit of both at times.

We may feel it would be a good thing to see what lies ahead and why things happen like they do, but I think most of us do not really need a crystal ball or a magic book. If we give ourselves time and give time to other people we can probably work most things out and find the real reasons for why things happen as they do.

So when we are feeling our own lives are complicated or we are bowed by worry or stress, it is good to remember that very few people live perfect lives. Almost certainly, anxiety and fear manifest themselves in our behaviour and can show that we are uncomfortable in our situations;  we may feel isolated, but chances are that others will be feeling the same too at times. We are not the only ones who’s behaviour can be misinterpreted, so don’t beat yourself up after a night out; don’t go home and worry about how you come across to people. Chances are they won’t have noticed – they will have been more concerned about they came across to you!

Most people have times when life gets them down, but if you are someone who doesn’t have anxiety, I urge you to be a bit careful with your words and reactions during the holiday season. What may seem silly to you could be a genuine concern for someone else. At the very least, look at both sides of the story.

5ABBB6C7-E696-4845-89FD-43766618D4DD

The book of life has many boxes…

Over the last six years my life has seen many changes. There have been a huge amount of good things but some struggles too. If anyone had predicted some years ago that I would be living where I am today I don’t think I would have believed them. However, real life has a way of interfering with those plans one is busy making. And maybe the universe sends us on to a different path for a reason.

We lived in a beautiful cottage in the countryside with roses around the door, and ‘the chocolate box’ appeal. We loved it and lived there for ten happy years. I am not going to talk about the reasons why we had to go, but quite suddenly, we realised we had to downsize. Quite dramatically. A major task was ahead, both physically and emotionally. When I say we had a lot of stuff, I mean we had a LOT of stuff.

We became ‘nomads’ for a while, as an acquaintance remarked, unintentionally hurting my feelings – I’m a person to whom a place to call home is very important. Like rabbits caught in the headlights we had panicked and moved too quickly several times to temporary places. Each time we did this we lugged around the mountains of ‘stuff’ we were clinging on to, as though hanging on to it would somehow retain our former life.

All through this time of transition we kept up appearances and outwardly life was the same. But for some time we were unsettled. Unsettled and at times worried for our future. We were lucky and had the love of family and some very dear friends who propped us up in more ways than one.

After some time we found our lovely apartment here in Dove Lane. I like to think it is small but beautifully formed! At first, it still felt very temporary and I didn’t feel I really belonged here; its taken a while but now I know that it is home, with all the security it gives me and us. I have started to make memories here; my grandchildren spend lots of time here and happily play and bake and have sleepovers. We’ve had some Christmas’s here now and look forward to the next one. The woods that form the back drop behind us are stunningly beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing them at their best as Autumn approaches and the leafy colours make the gradual change from green through to golden brown.

I could write an informative book about downsizing as I have learnt the hard way! My poor husband will not appreciate me saying this but I fear a hernia beckons for him as a result of all the lifting of furniture and boxes! I have learnt that paying a fortune on lock up storage is money wasted – if you don’t need the stuff now or don’t have room for it, chances are you never will. Even if you do move again and have more space it will probably cost less to buy new furniture rather than pay exorbitant amounts to store what you have kept. I also realise that we only use our favourite utensils and kitchen equipment and can manage with far less space than we think we need. We have given huge amounts of our surplus furniture and clothes to charity and I’m so glad of that. Glad that our things we can’t use can be of value to someone who needs them.

There are some things I can never part with though. This is where my special boxes have their place. It’s amazing how stacks of pretty boxes can look so attractive and also provide the most valuable storage. I have matching boxes in my bedroom for toiletries. I have boxes holding my sewing things. I have boxes holding my craft work. Tidied neatly they  all decorate the home and can be moved easily. They come in all shapes and sizes and are reasonably priced if you shop around. I change the box holding my stationary on my table according to the season and sometimes add to my collection if I see a new one I like.

I have keepsakes and photographs that will be with me wherever I am. I have cards and drawings that my sons made for me or gave me over the years and they are kept in  a very special box, together with their baby wristbands and locks of hair. I have some of my late mum’s possessions and her tapestry handbag. I now have a box of my eight grandchildren’s keepsakes too.

I almost feel I could now chart the eras of my life by opening the various boxes, for in a way they each tell a story and reveal a lot about me.

Of course, we come into this life with nothing and we leave with nothing. This is something I think we all forget from time to time. My favourite guru Dr. Wayne Dyer often used to relate the story of how he had cut the pockets out of one of his suits. Whenever he wore it he was reminded that when he left this world behind he wouldn’t need a suit with any pockets.

 I wrote the following poem not long after we had moved. I can see the positive side now as I read the final line. Moving on has benefits.

                                                     The House We Left Behind

The removal van is coming, I hear it rattling up the lane.
The time is fast approaching for us to be moving on again.
Before I am even ready, two men are standing in the hall
Examining the packing cases stacked up by the wall.
And as all of our possessions, disappear from view,
The old house turns its back on us and waits for someone new.

© Lyn halvorsen

Do you have to downsize, or are you thinking about it? I would love to hear your comments.Don’t forget…The book of life has many boxes. Don’t be scared if you have to open a new one. You never know what you might find.

Blessings to you.

 

the-house-we-left-behind