Request

Looking @ Life
Standard

Dear reader and follower,

My shortest blog post of all:

I have a late notice request for all my followers.

You have probably wondered why it has been so quiet on my blog lately?

Well… I have been finalizing my book!

Yes that is right, it is on Amazon right now for you to preview, and in desperate need of some reviews before the big launch on November 19 and 20.

I hope some of you can help me out and purchase a $0.99 copy of my very first edition of “Looking @ Life”, read a few chapters and leave a comment in the next 12 hours or so. Thanks and enjoy the read!

You can find it here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0184CLSOW

Forever grateful,
Pollyesther

You have a choice!

Sunrise at the ski lodge
Standard

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 days 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.

I entered a Dutch writing competition…

What keeps me awake at night
Standard

It was the end of 1995 when I stopped writing Dutch after immigrating to Australia. The only time I did, was an occasional letter to mum, but we preferred talking on the phone. Recently I met another Dutch writer on Word Press (https://peterbouchier.wordpress.com/) and stumbled via his links on the Dutch on-line writing scene. It felt good to think back and reminisce about my old homeland even though I’d become convinced that living in Australia was the preferred choice for me.

There was one competition that stood out for me among a long list of fiction story ones. The story had to be between 750 to 1000 words and be relevant to the theme “What keeps me awake at night”. http://www.schrijverspunt.nl/overzicht-schrijfactiviteiten/waar-ik-wakker-van-lig I decided to have a go at it and enter to see how my style of writing would be received there.

After writing so many English blog posts it took quite a bit of effort to find the right words to convey my thoughts, but with a little proofreading help from some family and friends back “home”, I am happy with the end result.

Please do me a favor and check it out if you happen to be able to read Dutch (this was one of the prerequisites) or pass this link to someone you know that can. http://www.schrijverspunt.nl/overzicht-schrijfactiviteiten/waar-ik-wakker-van-lig/4875-duisternis-en-stress

If you enjoyed it, leave a rating please ;).

 

With Thanks and Gratitude,

Pollyesther

 

P.S. Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below, thanks again!

Anzac Day

Standard

Why reblog Jack Easons post about remembering war heroes in a blog that aims to uplift? As an Aussie now, how can I not?

These questions took me a while to get my head around as I do not feel glad the Anzacs had to give their lives following orders for a mission that in hind sight was a bad idea. I do not want to go down that depressing road.

Jack is right however about the importance of remembering this day. There are people nowadays that say: “How long do we have to remember them for?” What significance does something that happened 100 years ago have now, in a completely different world?

Or is it?

Yes, technology has altered our lives dramatically, but did we learn from that experience? Has the world overcome violence and war?

We do have the power to change that as soon as we focus our thoughts NOT on the cruelties that happened, but what they happened for.

The Anzacs signed up so we could all live in harmony in a free country. They achieved a part of that, now it is up to us to keep working and focusing on harmony so history will not repeat again!

Lest we forget…

Pollyesther

Have We Had Help?

ANZACDay_pnc

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

We Will Remember Them.

***

If you grew up in New Zealand and spent the vast majority of your life there as I did before returning to England, the land of my birth, Anzac Day is the most important day in the calendar for any Kiwi or Aussie…

 

images

Rest in peace my brothers…

View original post

Flower Passion

Passion Flower
Standard

In some of my previous posts I have hinted at my love of nature. Spending time outdoors is good for everyone, especially on a nice sunny day in Autumn. I am very grateful for the generous size garden around my home and love tending to it. So in this post I’d like to share my passion with you.

The chore of weeding has become a form of yoga as I am tiptoeing through the garden beds, stretching to reach that sprig of grass that self seeded from the neighbors yard through a crack in the fence. I have learned to be mindful of my body and move in beneficial ways that leave me feeling great afterwards.

There is not a lot of thinking involved in weeding and with the improved blood flow to the brain from bending over, inspiring ideas come in freely. I regularly walk outside, away from the computer, to have a play with the dog, appreciate the garden and find weeds and inspiration.

Hosta in flower

Hosta in flower

It is interesting to see how my garden has grown with me, from as easy as possible to maintain when I was working full time, with lots of natives to attract local birds and minimize watering, to the current state.

My vegie patch

My vegie patch

Nowadays, working part time and having more days off, I have added a vegetable patch to save money and have a supply of fresh organic vegetables to pick from any time at my leisure. I also planted some small yellow Marigolds for a little color and pest control along the edge.

Fuchsia flowers

Fuchsia flowers

I have added a lot more flowering plants everywhere else as well, bringing the ones in pots into the house as a temporary indoor plant or craft cut ones into flower arrangements to brighten up the room.

I have started collecting a variety of Fuchsias, which have always been high up on my favorite list ever since loving the Fuchsia flower fairy in a childhood picture book the most.

Pansy baskets brightening up a shady area

Pansy baskets brightening up a shady area

The more flowers I see in my garden, the more I come to appreciate my own piece of nature surrounded by high fences for privacy. This is my own patch of paradise. There is something special about a flowering plant that highlights the impermanent nature of everything. Looking closely at a flower makes you appreciate it while it is in its full glory, before it will be gone in a day or so…

Cacti flowers only last one day

Cacti flowers only last one day

One of my smaller Cacti in flower

One of my smaller Cacti in flower

One of natures little miracles

One of natures little miracles

Another collection I have kind of stumbled on is my Cacti range. Even though they are a little nasty to handle without gloves, the flowers are an absolute miracle of nature and just looking at them takes me on a fantasy journey. The centers of these flowers are like looking into a different universe. Imagine if you were seeing them from a bee’s perspective…

Every Summer I look forward to one or more of them displaying their magic, which does not happen every year and only for one day!  One of the varieties I have yet to see flower, decided to time it right on a day we were not home, so I will be keeping a close eye on that one for the next few years to get a photograph of it too.

Succulent in flower

Succulent in flower

Yes, looking around my garden, seeing the beauty of nature, it is rather easy to be Glad about life while appreciating the flowers I have allowed to blossom in my little patch of Paradise!

What is your favorite flower?

Happy Easter, …it is what it is…

Standard

Easter in Australia is always a big long weekend when a lot of people take advantage of the last pleasant days before Winter sets in and go out for a camping trip. For us it usually is a trip to the house in the mountains to do the annual wood chop for Winter and make sure the wood shed is ready to last us at least till the weather is allowing another opportunity to do some replenishing again towards late Winter or early Spring. Because the house is heated by fires, we need a lot and ideally need more storage to be able to cut enough to get us through to the end of the ski season.

 

I have been working a lot in the last couple of months and was really looking forward to getting away and relaxing in nature, besides helping out loading the timber. I got all the shopping done in a mad rush after work on Thursday and had started packing some of the things we take. The plan was to get as much ready as I could, so we could “throw” it all into the car in the morning and get away early and beat the traffic into the country. Once I am in the car I start to unwind and relax.

 

In the morning, on Good Friday, hubby looked at the weather forecast and it was not looking good at all with a big front moving in and a lot of rain forecast throughout the weekend. What was the point of driving all the way up there, to just sit inside looking at rain and fog, waste fuel and not being able to cut dry wood? We decided to stay home for the first time in years, awaiting a “better weather weekend” to go and do the wood chop at a later date.

 

I felt kind of relieved for not having to keep rushing and packing, but mostly very disappointed, because I needed a break and some “me” time, which is always so easy when up there in the middle of nature in the mountains. I love taking Gibbo, the dog, for a long walk without the need for a lead, due to lack of traffic. I love the clean crisp mountain air in my lungs and watching the spectacular view of the sunrises and sunsets from the house. I was looking forward to getting the old, nostalgic Dutch box of eggs out to decorate my Easter tree, which was left up there last year when I decided to take it. Some of the decorations were blown out, real egg shells, painted by myself over 30 years ago! It had not seen any light since we arrived in Australia for the fact that we are always elsewhere for Easter. I was exited about the prospect of catching up with our local mountain friends too…It is what it is…

 

Good Friday was a gorgeous day back home and I took advantage of the breezy sunny day and got a few big loads (mainly sheets and towels) of washing done and dry before the anticipated weather change, to start the long weekend fresh and clean. In between I did some tidying up in the garden and really enjoyed being outside on this lovely Autumn day.

I was looking forward to the rain, which inspires me to work on my writing, which had been a bit on the backburner since work had picked up in unexpected ways and my computer had given me grief. It still needs a few more adjustments before it is back to how I like it. I really started enjoying a few days off at home, not having to do anything but what gives me pleasure! I filled a bowl with caramel filled chocolate eggs and put it on the bar for picking whenever I felt like it. I might even make another apple pie with the last of the apples I picked from my tree a few weeks back.

 

The next morning I woke to another clear blue sky and sunshine! What had happened to the rain that was forecast and put our plans on hold?

Because we did not go away I was able to take advantage of the special offer of a leaf blower/vac in a local store that was only on sale for the weekend of Easter and scored some well priced hanging baskets at the same time, (I needed to replace some broken ones). I tried out the new garden vac on this beautiful day and found myself very pleased with the result. Finally I found a way to get the leaves of the crushed rock areas without losing all the pebbles!

It was warm enough, so Gibbo got a wash in the backyard too, which is so much easier than doing it in the bathtub, which is the only humane option during colder weather. Unfortunately his black hair always covers the white tiled bathroom and calls for a complete bathroom clean up afterwards.

Surely the rain should get here soon, so at the end of the day I also set up a new gazebo that I had purchased before Christmas, which would keep our garden setting dry for a change and I had somewhere to sit or retreat to when playing with the dog in the backyard in the rain. It gave me a great feeling to accomplish all this and have a “holiday” at home.

 

Easter Sunday came and finally we had a few millimeters of overnight rain. Not really enough to water the garden, but the greyish day encouraged me to do a bit more on my computer again.

Despite the fact that we could have done the wood chop and enjoy our weekend away in hindsight, I am Glad we stayed at home and I got all the things done that I had put off for so long and more. “It is what it is” , I am really pleased now with how my Easter is turning out. How is your Easter so far? Wishing you a happy one!

The importance of relationships

Valuable legacy
Standard

Someone I knew passed away last week. I know this happens and is always a sad event as you realize you will never see that person again in this lifetime. This one was special though. This person was far too young to die, but managed to squeeze as much as possible out of the short time left.

He ticked off his bucket list in spectacular manner and made sure that all friends knew they were appreciated and loved by him. He always had a smile for everyone, always trying to uplift and share happiness, despite his illness and suffering. The result was that everyone had huge respect and love for him. His life was celebrated with a massive party, featuring live music and spontaneous jam sessions, that felt more like a family reunion than a wake, and brought friends from all over together. There was a sad undercurrent, especially for his closest relatives and partner, but the emotions I felt most, were love and determination to let his legacy live on. To live life as he did, not dwelling on sadness, but living in “radness”, because you never know when your time comes. It made me think about the value of all relationships in our lives and the effect we have on the people we interact with, whether they are relatives or acquaintances.

I contemplated the importance of uplifting rather than complaining and making sure that when our time comes to an end, we leave a legacy that will inspire and be beneficial for all left behind. This is what makes us immortal, for we live on in our legacy! This is the “butterfly effect” in action.

This morning I found a friends post on Face Book as follows:

“I’m going to be watching to see who cares about friendship. Thank you for being a part of my life! So, if you read this, leave ONE WORD as to how we met. . DON’T SHARE!! . Once you respond, if it’s the right answer, I will inbox you this post to post on your wall. Only one word!”

I normally ignore those posts that you see all the time calling for attention that only serves to satisfy the ego’s neediness, but after the above event I could not resist responding to show my friend that I did indeed read his posts and cared. The result was that I had to repost it of course. I felt a little annoyed at this, bothering my friends on Face Book, and explained to my friend in PM that I’d only do it for him and not because I thought it was a good reflection of how many people read my posts, knowing that most will ignore to comment for a variety of reasons, that do not include lack of love.

How wrong I was! I am unsure if the fact that I added a small vague sentence at the start referring to the earlier event that made me realize the importance of relationships had anything to do with it, or whatever the reasons were, but I was blown away with the amount of friends that responded! The words they left brought back so many happy memories! Not only that, but I ended up talking/typing with an old friend on the other side of the world, who I had not spoken to for decades, in PM for half an hour, before we decided to continue talking on Skype for another hour and a half!

This made my day and I can’t help but think that this all resulted from the legacy of a friend who knew what is really important in life, which is not what you do for a living, the car you drive or the clothes you wear! It is how you appreciate and interact with the people you encounter in your life!

I am so Glad to have the friends and family I have! Thank you all for sharing the love and experiences together, because that is what will be remembered and valued most in the end!

With gratitude, Pollyesther

P.S. Feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comments.

How I had fun hanging out the washing today

Fun washing
Standard

Last night I felt a bit down for about half an hour due to late nights, early mornings and hard work in between and thought to myself better to practice what I “preach” today. I was hanging out the washing in a bit of an improved mood already, because I had a better night sleep and it simply was a gorgeous day to be out there with the sun shining happily upon our back yard and a stiff sea breeze keeping things very pleasant.

That does not include hanging out the washing on a hoist! I was struggling to put the pegs in the right spot while hanging onto the lines for dear life in an attempt to keep it still for long enough to accomplish that. The large towels I put up from the load before were catching a lot of wind and made the hoist turn like a chairoplane! That was it! I had enough!

I gave up my resistance and decided to go with the flow and use my Glad Game. I stopped for a brief moment and looked around the garden, said thanks for the beautiful day, looked in appreciation at all the beautiful flowers beaming smiles at me and proposed a little game in my mind. If thoughts really create reality, prove this to me again and stop the wind for long enough to peg down my next item in a perfect spot for it.

Next I grabbed a piece of clothing and stepped back from the laundry basket. I looked up and to my amazement found a perfect empty spot of line and sufficient time to do the pegging in comfort! I giggled to myself saying: ” yea right, that was just a coincidence!” I tried again, same thing, grab the first item on top, step back, looked up and found another moment like the one before! Now I was giggling even louder! Ok, This is a really fun game! It kept going till the basket was empty!

Not only did I get my task done in no time, I also had a ball doing it! The feeling of lightheartedness stayed with me until now! I am normally not a fan of chores, but they need to be taken care of and you may as well have fun, go with the flow and see what happens playing the Glad Game while you are at it! Where can you use the Glad Game? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Introduction to Happy Pollyesther

Standard

Before I start, I want you to know that I am glad you have taken the time to come here and welcome you reading my blog! It has taken decades of thinking, research and getting clarity, before I was ready to start writing my stories, but finally feel ready to take the plunge and be the change I wish to see in the world.

My real name is Esther and “Pollyesther” is a nickname first uttered by a close friend on a hiking trip about 15 years ago. He came to it after watching me bring out nut bars all the time when I felt a bit hungry, to combat low blood sugar, jokingly asking if “Polly wants a cracker?” At the time I did not enjoy being called Pollyesther as it gave me a negative feeling thinking about the cheap, synthetic, environmentally unfriendly material. Natural materials like silk, cotton and wool feel so much better, so thankfully it did not stick in my circle of friends at the time.

So why on earth did I resurrect it now? The reason is that things now look a lot different than back in those days and it has taken on a whole different meaning for me that becomes clearer when reading on.

It all started many years back when I held a job that felt like it was sucking the life out of me. I felt trapped and depressed. As a result I started having health problems. I resolved not to continue on this path, which led me on a decades long quest of finding health, happiness and meaning in my life. Sometimes the information I found was useful, sometimes confusing and even overwhelming. There is so much information available in the “self help, spiritual and religious” sectors, that it is hard to see the trees from the forest most of the time.

The one thing that has been clear to me for most of my life, was my strong desire to help others find happiness and make the world a better place for everyone. The research helped me realise that most people (me included) make it far too complicated with thousands of processes to achieve happiness to choose from. Not even starting on all the confusing and negative input from different media in our lives, that tends to bring us back to “reality”.

Recently, my attention was drawn to the old story of Pollyanna, an orphan, who is send to live with her grumpy aunt, who is stuck in her way and full of resentment. At first, her aunt is not impressed with her duty of looking after this unusual girl, but slowly over time warms to her positive attitude and in turn becomes more positive herself!

Pollyanna’s method to being happy is playing the “glad game”, in which she tries to find as many things as possible to be glad about. With this game she manages to cheer up even the most stubborn, grumpy people she comes across. Feel free to look for it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Pollyanna-Eleanor-H-Porter/dp/1439297290/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462364852&sr=1-1&keywords=pollyanna+eleanor+porter. Of course this is a fictional story and “real” life is what you and I have to deal with every day. So why is this story so significant?

A few years back my research led me to the discovery of our personal influence on the reality we experience through our words and thoughts that result in feelings and emotions. These appear to reach far beyond our own body and influence circumstances, affecting us and others in return. I don’t want to go into explaining about the how’s and why’s as many others out there have excellent material on this for anyone looking to find out more.

We are all familiar with the days where nothing seems to go right for us, for example starting with stubbing your toe getting out of bed, spilling your coffee limping around the kitchen and as a result leaving too late for work to find a traffic jam on your way there as well! Your grumpy boss only adds to the load etc.

What if we had played the “glad game” after spilling our coffee? Maybe we have avoided being in the accident that caused the traffic jam, due to the delay, and arrived at work in one piece? Would our day have been different?

My studies and life experiences have convinced me to answer this question with a resounding YES!

This blog intends to keep it simple and uplift you by sharing real stories about my own everyday life, where I see the results of the “Glad Game” in action. Allow me to be your “Pollyanna” and LET’S PLAY!

With gratitude,
Pollyesther