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Family matters

The globe is always spinning and today we stop off in India.
SECRET TO HAPPINESS:  Appreciate the gift of family
TRADITION: Raksha Bandhan 
DATE : Full moon day in the Hindu month of Shraven ( mid July- August)
CELEBRATED: in India
This might sound like a bit of a contradictory post  on how to find happiness but happiness is not  about throwing yourself onto a bed of roses,  as aesthetically pleasing an image that that conjures.
Family is a bit of a broad topic.
I should know! I have two large families on both sides. I have a half-sister and step sister who I don’t have a strong relationship with. They both lives in South Africa, I live in the U.K. and well so much time has gone by.
My Dad and his wife and, my two nieces whom I don’t know, live there too. My Dad turned his back on me a long time ago.
 No pity.
From the age of 7, I knew that I did not take  any priority in his life. It was the same for my step sister.  When my Dad remarried to my stepmother -30 odd years ago  – they made some pact that the past is the past and for their own happiness; they would forget about everyone and everything to start  afresh ,build a new family and be happy.
I get this.
 There is is that old saying : ‘we can’t choose our family’.
 My Nan on my Dad’s side promptly reminded me of this yesterday.
I’ve always thought no matter how much my Dad’s side of the family, in all their numbers, hate my Mom’s side,(now than I am an adult they  have stopped pretending to like me and actively shun me too) in all of this: I  learned that the bond I have with my Nan could never be broken.
She looked after me from the age of 8-15 years . My Mom was ill and in hospital for many years. My Dad and Nan (mainly when she drank) and my step mother always put my mother down. It has taken a long time but me and my Mom have dealt with the past and  have a remarkable relationship now.
Yes, we all have strong personalties in  our families that clash. That is a given. Who else knows us so well than the people from past? the people we grew up with?
The thing is that not all of us were our real selves when in our past. Drugs and illness may have hid our personalities.
Neglect -physical and emotional can also make a person very confused.
I don’t blame my upbringing for my decisions in the past but I do think it influenced my actions to a degree.
Ultimately, we choose our own path. There are laws that decide 18, 21 or 25 years is the time span long enough to learn and be accountable for our actions. Morally, this may not be something I agree with completely.
I do feel that the adults in our lives (usually family)are our teachers. I’ve been taught good and bad things (in a variety of contexts) from the role models in my life or lack of them. Their absence can also make an impact on how we decipher our way into the world.
Where we decide is our place in the world.
In India, an annual celebration takes place to honour the relationship of brothers and sister- I quite like the English translation of ‘Raksha Bandhan’- ‘ the bond of protection’.
On this day, brothers and sisters come together and celebrate their blood connection and take the time to appreciate one another. The tradition is: that each brother is made  what is called a ‘rhaki’- a bracelet made out of cotton or silk which is tied on the right wrist of every brother- a symbol -of ‘affection’, love’ and ‘protection of love’.
Sisters a given beautiful gifts and  brothers  bless their sisters and promise  to protect their sisters fro the up coming year ahead.
This tradition starts from childhood.
Not everyone has a brother or sister,so other family come from all four globes of the world to unite and keep the tradition up and honour it.
‘Friends come and go’ -we say, but family is always connected to us by blood.
Family
Here’s the the contradictory part of the post.
For most of my life I know that my Nan has always had my back. I know that she is the person who taught me to keep in contact with my own sister and family. I learnt by experience, if we fought, nothing would break the love and bond we have.
I had to make a tough decision yesterday.
A lesson I  possibly learnt from my own fathers absence.
I’m having struggles with my own illness. I am constantly having to fight to have time to be with my Nan
 Her family get jealous by  any time we spend together.  They don’t understand why or how my Mom and Nan  can still have a strong bond and relationship because my Mom is the the ex-wife.
They don’t understand.
In all truth, they may be called ignorant.
My Mom and I have been ill for many years and have been ostracised for this.
We are in a better place these days.
My Nan went on holiday to see my Dad and sister and my nieces in November for three months in 2015. In that time,my Mom,my partner and I have worked together in harmony to make sure our wedding day will be unforgettable.
My Nan has a strong personality. This usually reveals the trait of one who needs to control. Control, unfortunately,  brings out the worst in people.
 I know this from my own past experiences in trying to orchestrate everything and everybody in my life.
I was manipulative – I had to be to get what I wanted!
 My Nan is no different from others who seek to control – in her tactics- to get her way.
My Nan is a good woman- with flaws. The biggest is making me feel guilty for everything.
Yes, she looked after my daughter for 16 months while social services were in my life. I got rid of the toxic people in my life, I bucked up my ideas and fought and I proved that I am a good a enough  mother (to social services, family, judges – and the whole unwanted entourage that came with socials services)
I have done my time.
I don’t know how many times I can say I am thankful to my Nan, how many gifts I can buy her.
I do know that I won’t make to feel indebted to her for the rest of my life.
She looked after me too. She has looked after many of her families children over the years.
Always feeling used, under-appreciated by every parent of whichever child she was caring for. Be it a few hours or a few years.
This doesn’t come across as a happy post but it is. I know it is a long post. Please try to bear with me.
 My Nan has been back from South Africa  for less than two weeks and harmony has gone out the window. I don’t think she can get her head around the fact that we have managed to sort our wedding with my ‘weak’ ‘fragile minded’ mothers help. It feels like, to me and my partner, that all we have received is little digs. Small, but enough to make an impact.
I  had to make the decision to leave her with her family.
I deserve happiness.
We all do.
I’m not willing to be drawn into parlour games:
Comparisons of how well off and how much better my Dad’s side of the family is.
Or,
how she has to go on another holiday to get over the time she had in South Africa.
A lot of negatives were said.
No positives.
 I love her. No buts.
I do also have to put my happiness and my daughters and my partner and my Mom’s happiness before hers.
She has a lot of support from her family. Well, she does until she has had a fight with them. Sound familiar?
 Thing is I’m fed up of it.
DRAMA!
 Last night I was so upset and drained, I couldn’t do anything I enjoy doing like  being with my family, reading, blogging, reading blogs
I want a peaceful life as possible.
I will not allow the past to repeat itself with certain ways in how certain family members made an impression on me. I will gladly take responsibility for anything good and bad that happens while I parent my child and any children we have.
There will be no playing one of the other.
“DAISY! (you cry) WHERE IS ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THIS POST?”
Good question.
Please bear with me, I have a message and a task – one I need to challenge myself to do too.
 Can you think of something special you used to do with someone in your family?
My Nan and I devour books and love literature and writing. She inspired me to write and pushed me to develop any hidden talent. This post wouldn’t be here- crystallised, if it weren’t for her rooting for me over the years.
Is there some kind of meaningful ritual you could create to celebrate and strengthen your unique bond?
I would love to make it a regular occasion to got to the theatre with my Nan or  join a book /writing club together with her.
“HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS DAISY? YOU HAVE REJECTED YOUR NAN IN FAVOUR OF YOUR OWN HAPPINESS?”
True, for the next 12 weeks I need peace and harmony.
Like I said before, friends may come and go, our family are always connected to us.
Time to put my big boots on.
MESSAGE: Never forget the safe haven your family members created – no matter how flimsy and dysfunctional. They were doing what they could with the best resources they had to navigate their own path.
Some of my happiest memories are those with my Nan.
Never forget that family can be the source of some of life’s happiest moments. Relationships do break down but I have a strong bond with my Nan and in time I hope we can reconnect.
I was going to attempt to make amends after the wedding.
No, today. I will make amends. She will take my daughter to ballet and tap as she does most weeks and we will all meet up afterwards  and go and sort out the wedding cake as planned,
 I need peace and harmony for the next 12 weeks. It doesn’t mean I love her any less.  Last nights decision was made because I only know what is best for that moment. I have not closed the door on any of my family for good.
Today I make amends. Life is too short.  Always try and keep a small space reserved in your heart for wiser times in your life and you will find peace and happiness.

The power of our spoken words

The globe is spinning and spinning and today we stop off in China. Again. These people know how to be happy.

SECRET TO HAPPINESS: CONSIDER HOLDING YOUR TONGUE AND WORDS BEFORE SOMEBODY TAKES THEM TO HEART

TRADITION: CHI KOU RI (‘day of dispute’)

DATE: CHINESE LUNAR NEW YEAR (January/February

CELEBRATED IN: CHINA

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The amount of times I think to myself, I would rather be honest   than feel like a fraud. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes it’s not my place to tell the truth as I see it. It’s not my place to be blunt and honour my character and personality. . Words can hurt people.  Speaking my mind has consequences and they are not always positive. I am beginning to realise that some people are more sensitive and blunt words from me (not knowing the whole story) is like an arrow to the heart. I’m realising that just because I think I know a part of the truth of something or someone’s situation  -maybe it is not my place to say it.

I’ve always struggled with:

Do I be honest? OR Do I  kind?

Of course I want to be both. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this. Sometimes weighing up the options is hard. It’s tough getting the right balance.

I’ve said things to people – matter of factly and I look at the response on their faces and I’ve seen tears form in their eyes. BIG OOPS!  That was not how I meant it to go.

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In China there is a saying:

The Chinese understand that when water is spilt it cannot be re-collected. I did a post on the Chinese Lunar year –Givers: the ones who taught us. The festival can last up to a month. One of the days celebrated is called ‘Day of Dispute’.  It’s a day where the Chinese consciously honour that ‘ critical  pause’ that happens just between out impulses and how we express those impulses.

Throughout the days that the celebrations take place, Spring festival is buzzing with parties and abundance and indulging. Plenty of  food and drink consumed.

Day 3: The third day of the Chinese New year commonly known as “Chi Kou Ri” (the day of red mouth) is the day to stay at home. Older members of the family who are superstitious believe that a red mouth would result in arguments and quarrel. They also call this day “Chi Gou Ri” meaning (the day of red dog). Traditionally, anyone who runs into the red dog will encounter bad thingshttp://carlgene.com/blog/2010/12/33-proverbs-that-translate-well-between-english-and-mandarin/

On this day people go home early. They may go and pray at a local temple, they go inwards to regain balance and inner harmony.

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There is so much to learn from this. Next time the bubbles of rage float upwards, ready to create and release from out of your mouth,a  huge cartoon- like  bubble of ‘what’s on my mind’ speech.

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Try inhaling and counting to three or even better look to the sky or around you to get a sense of the worlds true immensity. If you do decide to act on your thoughts and speak- speak slowly and try to consider  the impact of your words as you speak. Be conscious in that moment- Remember how vast the world is and how small this discussion is compared to  the world.

If you can pause  and weigh up the worth of your words before speaking,usually you will be able to come up with wiser and a more gentle speech of words.

One other tip- always get a good night sleep — there is evidence that we make a better judgements  when our pre frontal cortex  is happy and chilled. 😉

Good-Night-Sleep-Time

prefrontal cortex (PFC) is located in the very front of the brain, just behind the forehead. In charge of abstract thinking and thought analysis, it is also responsible for regulating behavior. This includes mediating conflicting thoughts, making choices between right and wrong, and predicting the probable outcomes of actions or events. This brain area also governs social control, such as suppressing emotional or sexual urges. Since the prefrontal cortex is the brain center responsible for taking in data through the body’s senses and deciding on actions, it is most strongly implicated in human qualities like consciousness, general intelligence, and

personality.http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-prefrontal-cortex.htm

MESSAGE: Know the true power of your words.

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(ALL IMAGES AND QUOTES SOURCED FROM GOOGLE IMAGES)

HAPPINESS TIP:Do you know where you are going?

SECRET TO HAPPINESS: Verbalise in words exactly what is is you want

TRADITION: Shinto ema (consecrated/dedicated vow plaques)

DATE: Any -time

TRADITION: Japan

Who wants to be happy? I do. That is why I created my ‘Global happiness’ page and I know I am not alone. We all want to be happy. What does happiness mean to you? Happiness is not permanent and is rather fleeting – episodic. I know that money can make me happy for a bit. I mean I don’t need loads of it but in our world to have a bit of money helps. What about things like being good in your job? Being in an awesome relationship?

Here is the plain fact, if you are unable to define what makes you happy-then you are going to find it rather exhausting to find it. Through-out Japan dotted about are what are called Shinto temples ( which are kind of like shrines –Shinsha means ‘place of Gods’.

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For a few hundred yen, people write down their wishes, wants and what they hope for, they decorate these plaques, or ’ema’s’ as they are officially called, with  images -a popular one being a horse

In a fascinating article about connections with the rest of Asia, Mark Riddle looks at the subject through the lens of the Indo-European cult of the sacred horse. He identifies the principal features as follows: Horses were sacred symbols which were associated with a fertility cult and with rain. A white horse symbolised the sun and was often used in ritual sacrifice. Horses were also associated with death and funereal symbolism.

If one thinks of Mongol warriors, then clearly the horse was a vehicle of power that enabled its rider to dispense death and destruction over wide areas. It was quite literally a seat of authority. To a lowly peasant, the fast moving creature must have seemed imbued with an air of divine power. It’s but a short step to imagine the horses descending with their godlike riders from heaven. Something of this clearly entered Japan at a time when Shinto was still in the process of formation

http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/2013/02/09/horses/

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People ask for a number of things. They are very specific in asking and writing down what they want, so it can be

  • To get a new car

  • get a job that a person wants

  • It could be to want some one who is going through a bad time to change it into a good outcome.

Each plaque or ’ema’ hung up , adorning the temple for the Kami or the Gods to read ( a loose interpretation)

I know that for myself that when I don’t know where I am headed in life -life can almost feel paralysing. Questions like what am I doing here? What must I do with my life? can drag you further and further away from happiness. In my own life I have gravitated to drugs and to becoming so unwell mentally because I didn’t know what would make me happy. I had a bow and arrow (tools) but I was aimless. I didn’t know what or where to aim to achieve a sense of happiness.

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The ema plaques can easily be adapted to the western way by wrting a wish list.

Where do I begin? you ask.

Go deeply into your mind and think how you want your life to look.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?

I want to be at peace with my body, I want to move away from my current home and work in the mental health sector – specifically I want to be employed by a mental health charity to help support people who are struggling with their mental health and I want to be a part of eradicating the stigma attached to mental illness. This is why I volunteer with mental health charities. It is why I put so much effort into going to every meeting, to do any workshops and training to achieve my goal at what I think will make me happy.

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WHAT EXPERIENCES DO YOU WANT HAVE?

I want my wedding day to be a happy experience, I want to experience being pregnant in the relationship I have now. I want to have another child and have a chance to embrace motherhood in a way I couldn’t imagine when I was pregnant with my daughter. I want to move away from ling in a council home and be able to afford to live in a bigger home -a family home that is decorated to my tastes. I want to get out more. I want to go visit my family in South Africa and Miami.

 

 

WHAT KIND OF PERSON DO YOU WANT TO BE?

I want to be a person that is easy to talk to, someone who see’s the silver lining in every situation no matter how bad the circumstances. I want it inspire people that life is liveable and happiness is within their grasp. When people see me I want them to be glad to see me. I want to be a person who laughs a lot, is affectionate. I want to be the person who feels the fear but goes with it. I want to not be caught up in how I look all the time. I want to be emotionally secure and to let go of the past completely. I want to be spontaneous and go out and see more of the world. I want to be a person who people who find me comforting. I want to be a person that is successful in my career, being a Mom, wife, daughter, grand daughter. I want to be a person who has more friends. I want to be that person who is always physched up to be healthy and active.

 

WHO DO YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR LIFE WITH?

My family- my partner, my daughter and other children I hope have, my Mom, my cousins, my Dad and sister and step Mom, my Nan, my uncles and my friends old and new. I want to be a part of peoples lives who are in recovery or trying to become mentally well. I want to work well with work colleagues.

 

 

All you need to do is what I have done. Write it or type it! Do it! Aim that bow in some direction -a direction you want it go in.

The  message is this: by expressing your inner desires in a more crystallised form -something you can see down on paper or in front of you ; the more likely you will know in which direction you want to go.  You will have goals and these will be you own set of landmarks on your journey to be happy in life.

 

 

 

HAPPINESS TIP:Like sand through the hourglass…..

SECRET TO HAPPINESS TRADITION: Accept and celebrate the impermanence of LIFE

DATE: Any time

CELEBRATED: Tibet

Before I carry on writing when I came up with this title I couldn’t help but remember the famous and cheesy American Soap opera and that man’s voice completing the ‘………. and so are the days of the our lives.’ All non-Americans CAN WATCH IT HERE.  The thing is that quote is blindingly accurate.

I think I might of mentioned this in a previous post on this page, but westerners (that’s us) tend to have this idea that we are ‘the centre of the universe’. We live in a non spiritual and materialistic society where success and praise is about the individual. We are so preoccupied with our our own sense of blazing importance. 

Many people move to cities that is where the money is  and forget that their is a navy coloured sky  above t so vast above us, which puts into perspective what a smidgen we truly are in this imperishable  universe.

Tibetan monks have a rather splendid way of creatively interpreting  this in escapable fact,by making intricate and rather vivid and stunning mandalas with grains of sand.

They pour sand out of metal funnels and skilfully make complex patterns  and spectacular  symbolic forms of  animals, spirits, demons

These mandalas take days to make but when they are complete, the Tibetans, scoop up half of this fantastical creation made of sand and put it in an urn. Half of the sand is shared with the audience, to circulate and disperse its healing among the people. The rest of the sand is then poured into a river or some  body of water.

Bizarrely, celebrating our mortality and perish-ability,  can be peculiarly  soothing.

How can we manifest this in our own lives?  If you have ever watched ‘Mary Poppins’ why not draw chalk pictures on a path then stay and watch it deteriorate or be washed away by the rain or swept away with the wind.  There is a  part in the movie where they bring the chalk pictures to life by jumping into the pictures singing ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and create this fantastical life around them.

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The children are so sad when it start to rain and they have to come out from the pictures created and watch that creation of life be washed away by the rain. Remember how as children we used to lie on our backs and make symbols out of clouds?  Do that. Watch how the clouds change from a face to a duck!

Make a sandcastle if you are lucky enough to live near the ocean. This celebration is about permitting yourself to admit and accept the fact that nothing lasts- relish  the peace and unity that comes with it.

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HAPPINESS TIPS:REASONS WHY WE HAVE A MOUTH AND EARS

Secret to happiness:  Not sitting with your thoughts and bottling things up but get talking with people on your wave-length

Tradition: Stammtitisch

Date: any time

Celebrated : Germany

You are super excited about finding out you are pregnant, or you have just had a baby. Maybe you love collecting old album record covers , you play dungeon and dragons. When you start telling your friends or family about what interests you -a film of glaze veils over the eyes, if you could peer into their ear, you would see the wax build up in epic proportions the minute you start talking about your interests.

A Stammtisch (German for “regulars’ table”, [ˈʃtamtɪʃ]) is an informal group meeting held on a regular basis, and also the usually large, often round table around which the group meets. A Stammtisch is not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly get-together

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It’s not that your friends and family don’t love you any less but the ‘rat race’ that is life can leave a person feeling too drained to listen to your interest with their full attention . They may even think you are a bit weird. Well, who needs them. You need to speak with kindred souls. In Germany there are regular groups set up for strangers with a common interest to meet up and Gespräch -( ‘talk’ in German). 

In Germany friends, colleagues and strangers meet up to  to have a bit of a natter/chat, laugh and to jolt new connections;  and to get new and original perspectives.

People regularly meet up wherever and when ever, in places and get to discuss all nature of topics and know that other people will reciprocate. Think  of any topic that comes to mind and there will more than likely be a group for it. These strangers never stay strange for long.

The secret to some kind of happiness is, it so enlightening to share our experiences and desires and interests and connect with others. It is good to bond with others. We do this a lot in the blogging world which is awesome; but sometimes we need to get out into the real world ( yes, we do). Why don’t you ring up a few friends ask them to ring up a few of their friends, find a spot to meet and the conversation will be thriving by the time the first drink is finished.

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