Judgment and Revenge

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These words have been on my mind for a while now.

Judgment seems to be the main motivator behind a lot of articles in magazines and papers, on television shows and social media, where the lives of the famous and wannabe famous are in the picture to be judged good or bad, with the latter most prominent…
Revenge seems to be a common thread through most movies where the hero has to seek revenge in order to get justice…

Do you ever feel like repaying someone a negative “favor”?

A good internal question to ask is: What benefit can be gained from this?
When I truly look inside, the answer I find is “none whatsoever”!

Recently I found out that a few neighbors had some issues with a new family that moved in not long ago, a single mum with several kids and pets. I was unaware of this for some time and have so far only had good interactions with them, besides having to ask them to keep their cats indoors at night. They were posing a nuisance keeping me up all night by upsetting my dog as well as leaving some not so nice surprises in my garden, but then again, it could have been someone else’s cat too… This problem settled and all neighbors appear to oblige to my friendly request now.

The kids were curious about the plants on my veranda, that are for sale. I gave the young girls a little cactus each from my stock plants out the back (with soft furry needles, not the nasty prickly variety) to treasure at home.

Every time they saw me down the street I got a big smile and a few friendly words from them. A few days later they knocked on my door with hand drawn “postcards”, filled with lovely messages. After that I decided to give their mum a bag of lemons from my tree as I had to many to use for myself. I knew she had health problems after we talked and got to know each other a little on a walk back from the local shops some time ago. I knew it would do her good. Another few days later one of the girls knocked on my door with a cupcake that she had made herself! .

How can it be that my experiences with this family were all so sweet and lovely, while my other friendly neighbors had the total opposite happen?

I guess as a result from earlier experiences with this family, that my other normally friendly neighbors had experienced, was at least an annoyed feeling towards them. When dealing with people our emotions play an important part in nonverbal communication. Most people do not take conscious notion of this, but it is just as, if not more, important than words. It shines through in our facial expressions and body language. Along with habitual judgment about this family, while not really knowing a lot about them besides what was observed, comes a vibration of expecting the worst from them.

Especially children are very sensitive to vibration. Had they decided to take revenge for whatever they felt wronged by through vandalism? Have these young children already been corrupted by the brainwashing effects of movies and tv, that revenge is a desirable action that makes you feel better? Had they witnessed bad behavior in the family, before it broke up, and accepted this as normal? Is there something else playing out as well that goes both ways?

There is a saying going around the social media these days that loosely goes as follows:

“Whether you believe something to be true or not, either way you are right”

This hints at “Ask and it is given”, also mentioned in the bible, which is in my opinion telling us about our mental and emotional influence on our experiences. (Why and how I have become convinced of this is described in detail in my book)
The thoughts and feelings, of in this case annoyance and suspicion, which are the conductors of the “ask” , do not support good odds for “being given” a lovely experience or encounter and neither are judgment or revenge!

Maybe it is important to discern more and judge less?
Ask yourself the question regularly: “What benefit can be gained from this?”
Most of all, when did revenge ever have something good come out of it? Do not ever seek revenge!

“Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.”
Wayne W. Dyer

I am glad about my life’s experiences, for they give me inspiration to share what I feel passionate about!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below 😉

The dead Tree

Dead tree 2007
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The picture above is of a dead tree in 2007, along the road to the ski resort I have been working for every Winter since. The reason I took that picture is that I was drawn to it because of its balanced look and almost perfect shape, despite having died probably many years prior. It seemed that time had not touched it much since, leaving me to enjoy this amazing natural sculpture. It was almost like it spoke to me on a subtle level, taking me on a journey in my mind.

I cannot help and wonder what that tree has seen passing while it was alive, from the old prospectors looking for gold, the old coach that connected the small villages on both sides of the mountain range, to the first snow enthusiasts that went up on horseback and traversed the mountains on foot in search of the perfect powder stash to slide down.

Next came the road workers that turned this slick muddy track into a more user-friendly road. Development was not far behind with the first basic lodges being build and ski lifts being installed.

Nowadays there is a bustling ski resort attracting thousands of visitors every year, who probably pass this tree not even noticing it being there, in their rush to get to their destination in anticipation of some rails, jumps, turns and party time…

Dead tree 2010

Dead tree 2010

The next time I felt like taking a picture of this tree again was during a snow shower on my way to work in 2010, when the light just seemed perfect to highlight the beauty of this old dead tree with the snowfall adding to the feelings of magic this tree stirred in me.

Not much seemed to have changed in the last three years and again I stood still and admired it for a brief moment. How long had it been standing there before it spoke to me the first time? When had it died and why? Was it old age, maybe drought or disease had made it to what was left, or had it been affected by the bushfires visiting this area on a regular basis or a lightning strike?

Dead tree 2012

Dead tree 2012

In 2012 it started to show that even dead trees are not immune to the wear and tear of time as branches keep snapping during every storm that passes, leaving it noticeably bearer than when I saw it for the first time, five years prior.

This makes me ponder about the thoughts this tree has put into my mind over time and continues to do, which brings me to the following verse that ‘jumped’ out (not unlike this tree), when looking at the Dao Te Ching for more understanding about the most recent atrocities in the world.

Verse 76, Dao Te Ching:

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

When I read this verse, a memory came to me suddenly about an elderly Shaolin monk performing his daily stretching routine on a stage during their show in Melbourne, many years ago. (more about this in my book) His message really hit me at that time as my age was already showing a few minor signs of leaving youth behind in the not so far foreseeable future.

He said that by stretching every day, he kept his old body soft and supple, to avoid becoming brittle and break limbs. He metaphorically compared it with a young sapling that bends with the breeze, whereas an old tree becomes brittle and the branches snap! 

Had he maybe studied this old book, written by Lao Tsu over 3000 years ago, and taken this verse as advise on staying healthy in old age? Is it just meant physically? Or could there be a psychological truth behind it too? Is it maybe a combination of both that is the secret to a healthy and active old age? Is there an even deeper layer to the meaning of this verse that points to the way countries are run?

Whatever it all means, I know that regular stretching, ever since watching the elderly monk and taking in his advice, has kept my body flexible and supple as well as developed better coordination and strength. This in turn has contributed to feeling better, younger and more vibrant now in my late forties compared to when I was in my twenties! Time will tell if it is still beneficial for me when I get to the age where a lot of people really start struggling with their bodies not cooperating, but I have a feeling that it will be from what I saw the monk do! Whatever is going to happen, for the moment I like to stick to my daily stretching routine and hold onto my dream of getting a free season pass for the ski lifts when I turn 70 and become an elderly “ski bum”!

By then the old tree will be probably be reduced to a pile of timber, covered in moss, providing a home for small animals and fungi. Will it still hold stories and provoke thoughts, or will they too have been nibbled away by the small creatures that keep nature in balance?

Dead tree 2015

Dead tree 2015

Is there anyone else out there that has an appreciation and fascination for dead trees? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

PS: If you have downloaded my book and like my stories, I would appreciate it if you take a moment to leave a short review on Amazon!

With Gratitude,

Pollyesther

Free e-book for 2 days only

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Dear Friends, Fellow Bloggers and Followers,

 

First I would like to thank everyone that helped me out, downloaded the $0.99 preview version of my very first e-book “Looking @ Life” and wrote a review for me today!

The official release is now starting with it being available for FREE for TWO DAYS only, after which the price will go up!

I want all my friends, fellow bloggers and followers to take advantage of this, so grab a copy now if you have not yet!

http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0184CLSOW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon after reading.

 

With Gratitude,

Pollyesther

 

You have a choice!

Sunrise at the ski lodge
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15/8/15, 5.30 am. The alarm rings and I push the snooze button a couple of times. I love waking up slowly before my feet touch the soft sheep skin rug next to my bed in the ski lodge. It is only 6 am and at least another fifteen minutes until the rising sun announces the start of another day during the Australian ski season that runs from mid June to the end of September.

Quietly I walk to the kitchen to get my breakfast essentials out from the fridge. I squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water and grab the tub of yoghurt, to which I add some muesli once back in my room. The lemons have helped me with keeping the usual “lurgie” at bay, which strikes most mountain staff at some point over Winter. There is nothing worse than having to go out in a blizzard with heavy clothing, struggling to breathe from being clogged up by a cold that just will not clear up in those conditions.

My usual routine in the morning is to check my emails, work schedule and the weather forecast during ‘brekkie’, because at nighttime the lodge is often busy with exchanging the adventures of the day’s past and keeping the fires going among other things like waxing ski’s, showering and cooking.

I love the peace and quiet of the early morning. The sunrises can be spectacular from our lodge on the ridge of the small mountain. It sure is worth getting up early for.

This Saturday morning I find a sad email from a close overseas family member, someone dear has passed away overnight. This news comes as a bit of a shock, seeing I had not heard any news that she had been close to leaving us. It was a little comforting to know it was by choice and despite the difficulty in achieving this, peace was now with her. Still, I did feel sad and also a little useless for not being there to support my grieving family.

Straight away I wrote a short email back and looked forward to catching up by phone soon. It took me a bit of time to find the right words, but felt there was no rush seeing no one had rang to notify me of any early lesson bookings. To be sure I did try logging on to my on-line schedule a few times in between, only to find an error message. Some day’s it is a little temperamental and that is why normally I get a backup phone message, if I have to be there earlier than normal.

Upon arrival there is heavy wet snow coming down and the local slope manager rushes up to me to tell me I did have an 8.30 lesson. My phone goes off while trying to jump into my ski boots with a call from the big boss and a voicemail regarding that booking as well… The fact that I was now half an hour behind schedule, meant that I had to extend my lessons into the towies/lifties lunch breaks for whom I normally cover, so they can have theirs! Thankfully the manager was able to help out making sure they all got a decent break.

Not only that, but when the 10am group lesson starts, I find out that there are 16 people booked in! Normally they allocate two instructors for such a large number, but my helper was already flat out doing private lessons all morning. “Ah, well, just do what you can”, I tell myself, knowing that the calmer I can keep myself, the better I will be able to deal with it. Group lessons are mixed with adults and children on this small beginners run and for that reason they normally only allow children of six and over in the lesson. Under that age they have not fully developed their finer motor skills and need a lot more hands on help with balancing, edging and putting ski’s on, which would consume too much of the instructors attention away from the adult participants. This morning somehow a five year old snuck in! It seemed that everything that could go wrong was happening! Yet, despite my grief and heavy workload, I knew that I could only cope by staying calm and fully focused on the task at hand.

After only fifteen minutes to eat half of my lunch and no time left to eat my usual mandarin for an extra energy boost, I got into the afternoon session. The snow thankfully got a little drier and less heavy. Half way through, another booking comes in for the last two hours of the day till 5pm, making this the longest day ever, with seven and a half hours teaching beginners in ski boots. As I walk ahead of my group of private lesson customers a tear rolls down my cheek forcing me to remove my goggles to wipe it away quickly. I am feeling exhausted and emotional and my feet seemed to have swollen well beyond where my boots allowed, giving me serious discomfort. How am I going to give them a good first lesson experience in this frame of mind? Focus and realize they may only be here for one day! Somehow I manage to hide my emotions and distract my mind from my worries…They had a good time, a great lesson and achieved a lot for a fairly un-athletic group to start with.

Sunset driving home

Sunset driving home

I got home just on dark, feeling exhausted yet happy for not giving in and feeling sorry for myself, but managing my feelings to benefit the customers of the past day. The result was that my day went a lot smoother than it would have, had I not done that. Of course I was still sad about the loss, but having achieved control over my emotions made me feel a whole lot happier. I even felt grateful about the amount of bookings, because it forced me to keep my mind off my own worries!

Next time you feel down and hard done by, think to yourself and ask if getting down and out about it all is helpful in any way, or is there another choice that makes you feel better?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Mother’s Day and Forgiveness

Bunch of Tulips
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While most people are celebrating Mother’s Day today, remembering all the good things mothers do and have done in their unconditional love for their children, I saw a post on Face Book by someone who did not share this experience. It was obvious that the mother in question had caused a great deal of pain and Mother’s Day reminded her of all this past hurt, rubbing salt in her wounds.

I felt for her as I saw some connections with her previous posts and looked for quite some time on google for the right article expressing the thoughts going through my mind to make her feel better. From years of research to find answers and solutions for my own (different) issues, I felt I may have some insights of interest to her, but failed to locate an article able to express everything I wanted to tell her.

Many years ago a Tibetan Buddhist Monk told me that they believe that stress creates poison arrows in the body. At that time I was going through a stressful period and did not understand the mechanics of this, however could see the negative results it had on my own health. In my quest for answers I read many articles based on scientific research and learned that the body produces very different chemicals in a state of stress than when feeling happy and in harmony. These chemicals cause indeed a lot of havoc from digestive problems to psychological disorders and can eventually even lead to terminal illness, if not corrected in time.

In my case most of my stress was caused by habits absorbed into my subconscious during my early childhood. How this exactly works is very well explained by Dr. Bruce Lipton, (https://www.brucelipton.com/about and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pJwYcK08iQ) for anyone wanting to understand the mechanics better. I absorbed these habits by observing my mother and yes I did blame her a bit for raising me into a stress filled person, until I looked at our family history in more detail.

She had been through a very stressful period in her own life not long before I came along. She was the sole caretaker of 3 elderly men, including my quadriplegic grandfather, after her mother passed away from a stroke at the age of 53. My grandmother also had been through a lot of difficulties during her short life.

Most people react from their subconscious the majority of time (research suggests 95%) and are unaware of the origins of most of their responses, because they relate to a part of their life that has very few conscious memories left! This is due to the fact that the mind works in a different state after the age of 6, compared to when a lot of these memories were made and “recorded” into the subconscious before that.

Understanding this, it becomes clear that my stress response habit was subconsciously “inherited” from at least 2 generations before me, if not more. Thankfully I also absorbed a lot of good habits, that show to me that subconscious habits are extremely important for functioning well overall.

I am grateful that nowadays access to this sort of information is so easy using the internet and that I found an understanding that there was really no one to blame for my predicament because the people that had passed it to me were in reality victims themselves! The good news is, I was able to break this chain by educating myself and work on changing my subconscious patterns.

Going back to the start, how can this post help the situation of the person suffering pain from the childhood memories? The understanding that this mother inadvertently may have been a victim herself, reacting unconsciously out of subconscious habits, can possibly transform her pain and grudge into compassion and forgiveness.

Pain and grudges cause stress resulting in disease, whereas compassion and forgiveness lead to health and happiness! Education, understanding and awareness are the key to healing the past! Maybe today is a good day to break the chain of past suffering and start healing?

Happy Mothers Day!

 

 

Controlling fear

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flying over the storms

view from flight MH 148

“Our plane got cancelled due to a mechanical defect and now we have been waiting here for another flight since this morning.” a couple of young Australian travellers told me, when I ran into them waiting for my connecting flight to Europe at the airport in Kuala Lumpur on March the 8th., earlier this year. I was travelling by myself to visit my family and friends, so to make the wait a little more entertaining I normally like talking to fellow travellers.

The next thing they told me was even more worrying: “Glad they cancelled, because they lost another plane today.” I am sure my eyes widened as far as they could from the shock of this news as I uttered something like OMG! This was NOT something I wanted to hear in my position of having another 13 hour+ flight ahead of me. Immediately I realized how lucky I was, having arrived here in one piece on Flight MH 148, while at the same time Flight 370 went missing. I was struggling to keep my mind from picturing what those people went through or what happened, knowing that this would not help them or me at all. I managed to direct my thoughts to silently hoping they would be found somewhere safe and well. I also thought what are the odds of it happening twice in a day with the same airline? This gave me a little more peace of mind as I queued up for my next flight.

The line had built up massively since the last half hour and was moving only inches at a time. I supposed they immediately had tightened security after the earlier incident, so I waited patiently shuffling along with the crowd for about 20 to 30 minutes before entering the packed Boeing 777.

I thought I had secured a seat on the window side, next to the path, when I booked my flights. I liked to be able to see out and get up whenever I felt the need to stretch my legs, without having to disturb others that might like to sleep. I started feeling very disappointed and confused when the staff directed me to a seat in the middle isle wedged between two strangers. Thoughts of “why is this happening to me?” started creeping in. Then it dawned on me, that the lady at the travel agent had said something about not being able to book seats on some of my flights as I tried to make sense of it all (Later I found out that it was possible, but only 12 hours prior). I decided that this was not going to ruin my trip and to look forward to whatever pleasant surprise this could unfold into.

I put my hand luggage in the designated compartment and sat down. I observed the man already seated next to me. He appeared to be a businessman going by his choice of clothing. From the way he was clutching his laptop bag, I could tell he was nervous. What was he nervous about? Flying? Someone stealing his laptop? I never found out, because he immediately gave me the vibe he did not want to talk and sleep the whole way.

Next, my other neighbour arrived. She seemed the opposite to the man next to me with a friendly face and a short bob haircut. She told me she did not mind getting up for me if I needed a stretch and to let her know whenever I felt like it. We started chatting and found an amazing amount of common ground to talk about. She felt very scared, every time we encountered turbulence and the plane would drop a bit. She grabbed my arm in fear so I offered to hold her hand and told her about my (unusual and very personal) way of dealing with that fear, which is (in my mind) asking my deceased uncle to guide the pilot safely to our destination. My uncle had been doing this in his profession throughout his life as the technician looking after all the instruments in similar planes and had safely retired, long before passing away only a few years ago. It seemed to give her a little comfort too, seeing we were stuck on the same plane.

We exchanged some interesting ideas to look into after the trip and it was only after many hours we realized that we should try and get some sleep to not arrive completely exhausted. I am sure she was very pleased to have spend the journey next to me and I felt the same about her. She told me how surprised she was at the fact that we talked for hours, because she travels a lot on her own and normally this does not happen to her. If I have to sit next to a stranger for 13 hours again, I hope to have another experience like this one!

I know now that if it had not been for me taking control of my feelings and thoughts, steering them into the direction of wonder and anticipating a positive experience, it would not have been such an exciting journey. I am glad I arrived safely and added another pleasant memory to my life. Have you ever had experiences like this? Please share in the comments below.