WELCOME TO 2011

Finally, we have arrived at the New Year. I love the fresh feeling and hope that the dawn of a new year brings and this year we also mark a new decade. It is a time for looking forward. It is time to stop wasting time with regrets or worrying about the year that has finally ended.

2010 was a challenging and difficult year for Ireland and her people. I, no doubt am not alone is being very glad to see the back of it. Last night, for the first time in many years, we just sat by the fire as a family and allowed the old year to slip into history. (Before you wonder if I have lost it altogether – me and him did have a glass or four of wine!) Today we are looking forward to all the possibilities this brand new year may bring to us.

So what about this new decade? I am hoping that we will make 2011, the year that hope is reborn in Ireland. We lost so much confidence in 2010. We were bombarded by a media obsessed with our economic difficulties. In 2011 I believe, that each of us need to make a conscious decision each day to hold on to hope. We need to focus on the future and on recovery. But most of all we need to hold onto the belief that we can make it happen…. And we will.

Personally, along with hope, I am going to attempt to live fearlessly this year. Many of us are finding that fear is making it difficult to see a way ahead. Fear is a very limiting and damaging emotion and is only useful if you are facing directly and immediately into danger. Fear should be fleeting – not long term.

So I say drop the fear, hang onto hope and march confidently on into the new decade! Fake it till we make it, if you like. Although the last verse of Bette Midler’s The Rose also captures the sentiment perfectly:

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose.

May we all witness the blooming of prosperity, justice and peace for all in 2011

Barbara

SPRINGTIME

Autumn is my favourite season but there is something so joyful and hopeful about Springtime; a message now more needed than ever.

Clear skies reveal the true blue ceiling to our world.
Sunlight dazzles and sparkles sending fingers of warmth to stroke my face and arms.
Air ripples with the joyous tumbling notes of bird song.
A fat furry bee buzzes against the window.
Splashes of buttery yellow hopefulness in unexpected corners.
Summer faintly humming in the near distance.

Earth’s whispers on April breezes,

Echoes of unseen stirrings beneath her soft surface.
Whispers heard deep in my veins,
Pulling me back outdoors.
Softly urging me to be part of this ensemble of recreation.
This colourful exuberant birthing of new life.
Delicate buds hiding unfurled leaves,
Stately tulips, bearing witness.
The cherry tree tosses her blossoms on the breeze
With the wild abandon of a Bollywood heroine.
And busy birds, singing, building
I take my cue.
Fingers deep in soil, breathing it’s loamy aroma as I dig and plant,
I give thanks to Mother Earth
For her reminder, that life is a journey
A series of deaths and rebirths
She turns through the seasons, year on year, she whispers ‘all is well’

Be The Change….

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

You get up in the morning groaning silently about the night being too short. You pull back the curtains and the sky is grey and a definite dampness pervades the air. You think ‘another colourless Irish day’. The news comes on and brings horror from all parts of the globe. Before leaving the house you have surrounded yourself in a blanket of negativity.

A little later, when you casually exchange ‘pleasantries’ with the paper man or fellow mothers at the school gates, you moan about the weather. Your first proper conversation of the day will no doubt focus on the horrors in the news. And so on it goes.

Let’s replay the scene.

Same morning – same news – same weather. But as you gaze out the window you give thanks for a warm and comfortable house. Instead of listening to the news, switch to music in the morning. Put on your favourite CD or tune into Lyric FM. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a cheerful comment – even one tinged with irony… “at least it is not snowing”. Spread positivity and humour.

We are surrounded by negative stories in the media; stories of atrocities, wars and suffering. We need to pray for peace in the world but there is little to be gained by constantly immersing ourselves in images and stories that are horrific and deeply upsetting. Remember that the media gives us a completely lopsided view of the world. There are ‘armies’ of good and kind people working for the benefit of their fellow man and for the good of this wonderful planet we live on. There is lots of good stuff going on that more than balances out the bad. Focus on the positives and cull the amount of time you spend reading or listening to the ‘news.’ There is a saying in healing which is “change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”

We create our own reality. If we choose to see only the dark and the negative, that is how our world will be! So starting today make a conscious effort to look for beauty, joy and positivity everywhere. Slow down a little and listen – are there birds singing over the noise of the traffic? Slow down and open your eyes – even the weeds growing in the cracks in the pavement have beautiful flowers. Go for a walk in the rain and feel how the rain feels on your skin.

We live in a world abundant with beauty and joy. We have forgotten how to look for it. So remember that life is good. Carry that message with you every day and open your heart to all you meet so that they cannot help but be infected by your inner joy. Smile at everyone you pass.

It was Gandhi who said “be the change you want to see in the world” and if you are smiling now you have changed the world already.