What I Learned - The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
Have had this lovely book on my shelf for a while and it didn't disappoint. This was my post op read after my surgery a few weeks ago and was the perfect medicine. I laughed and cried and gasped my way through this gorgeous read.
What I Learned:
One of Carl Jung's most famous quotes I think. It's so important to dream, but it's also really important to stop, breathe, and figure out you really are and what it is that really makes you tick. This is the only way to figure out if the dreams you are working towards are truly yours, or if they are born through the expectations of others.
I had to stop, catch my breath and re-read this line. "I have so much more daughter left in me." Such a simple statement that in a few words sums up grief perfectly. Made all the more poignant given the unique situation we all find ourselves in just now.
How beautiful is this? There is always more living to do and it is always so so hard to lose someone, but this is just a lovely reminder that it's okay to be sad. Don't explain it or justify it, just sit with it.
I hope my daughter sees this. This describes my household perfectly. I always know when something is bothering her, no matter how much she protests! The hardest thing is when it takes ages for the truth to come out...it always does but its such a horrible feeling knowing that the person you love most in the world is bothered and hurting and you can't do anything for them.
I think this is a sentiment most of us share. Helplessness is such a horrible feeling. I've had a few wobbles during this lockdown out of the sheer frustration of not being able to get to the people I know are hurting.
Stagnant must be awful...embrace the change and the adventure. What's the worst that could happen? And imagine the possibilities!
This is something I struggle with quite a bit. It's hard when you question whether or not you deserve the good things. I find myself saying a lot "no that's too good for me" or "someone deserves that so much more" or apologising for taking up people's time because I just feel that I am unworthy. I don't think I'm unique in that though. The crazy thing is that I would be upset if someone felt like that around me. Life is complicated eh!
I remember saying to someone "if you wouldn't want it for your daughter why do you settle for it for yourself?"
I think it's true that we're learning more and more that the brightest smiles often mask the deepest hurts. I saw a really powerful image recently that was trying to explain about social media to kids. It was a picture of this perfect, shiny, rosy, glistening apple. But when the camera showed the back of the apple it was rotten and eaten away and full of worms. Remember social media is just a snippet of others lives and you really have no idea what is the reality behind that perfect picture. I think most people probably use social media to document the good parts of their life...it's harder to immortalise the not so "perfect" bits.
I am terrified of heights. Properly terrified! Even when watching things filmed at height. There is a scene in Mary Poppins Returns where I literally have to hide behind my hands every time I see it because it leaves me feeling stomach-churningly sick. It's all a little bit pathetic and makes my daughter howl with laughter. This being said I've done a couple of major abseils...one from Finnieston Crane in Glasgow, and another off the Forth Rail Bridge. Both times my legs were literally shaking uncontrollably whilst I was being strapped into the harness...more so on the Forth Rail Bridge as it was completely unplanned. I think the poor guy talking me through things up there thought I was going to pass out at any second. But you know what...I did them...both. Now I will never ever do them again because I've done them both once...but I did it...and silly as it sounds I can hold onto that! If I had the courage from somewhere to choose to do that then I can honestly do anything and deal with whatever is thrown at me!
Are you going through life with shoes that don't fit, or even someone else's shoes? Stop and think about that for a moment. It's powerful!
This interaction made me smile. He saw in her that she didn't need a life boat, someone to rescue her. She was more than capable and he just provided someone else along for the sail to give a little bit of company and back up on the way. I think if we're really honest that's the most that any of us really would like in life. Someone with us while we weather the storm.
Filed away for future reference. The perfect present.
A simple lockdown truth for me. In this house I don't think we will remember the individual days of lockdown, but I know I will remember how lucky I was to be locked-down with the nutter that is my beautiful daughter, and how I literally laughed until I hurt post surgery and had to take pain killers! Beautiful, lovely, unforgettable, crazy times!
It's usually the kitchen floor for me. We all have this moment sometimes...and I know I usually feel much better afterwards. It's okay not to be okay.
We have a saying in Scotland - there are many variations but the gist is that if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes and it will change. This ties in to this sentiment perfectly. The new sky will always come, no matter how permanent and awful this current predicament is, it will pass. Quite often the storm is worth it just for the beautiful day that follows. Tomorrow is a new day may be a cliché, but it's a cliché because it's true!
...so just let them be, sit with them, and allow yourself to feel them all.
The last line of this passage really struck a chord with me. It's hard to be vulnerable. And scary!
Boy do we need this season of hope this year! There's a big blossom tree outside our kitchen window that is ready to pop and it makes me smile checking on it every morning. As do the daffodils in the pots on our balcony. It's the little things that are keeping us going during lockdown.
I'm loving watching all the creative music videos coming out of lockdown both in the UK and around the world. From Gary Barlow's Crooner Sessions to school bands getting together via zoom to spread some smiles using music. I could literally watch them all day. In fact yesterday I got sucked down the rabbit hole that is tiktok and ended up fascinated by an incredible guy making music out of glasses of water! His talent is incredible...look it up!
I have written this on a post it note and stuck it to a mirror in the bedroom. It always amazes me how the negative voices from the past remain so much louder in minds than the positive ones. Why do we let that happen? It takes real energy and discipline to recognise that this is happening and to really make a conscious decision to say "no" and move on in a more positive way. It's inevitable that our past imprints on us, but it's essential to never let this hold us back! It's all waiting for you, just around that corner you are too scared to turn just in case you can't see that past any more. BE BRAVE! Turn the corner!
...and sometimes that courage can be found in letting the "fairy godmothers" help us in the first place! Imagine how different things would have been if Cinderella had said "no, I'm good thanks, I've got this - someone else needs your help more." The happily ever after that hers for the taking could have so easily been missed due to nothing more than independence and stubbornness!
Such an astute observation! I love this author! This pickled my brain when I really stopped to think about it, and I suspect I will think about this often in the future. Life is too short to settle! Who are you to decide for the other people involved what you think you "deserve"?
I think it's vital that we all hold out for that special circumstance in our life that doesn't make us wonder if it's right. They key is to never settle, but to be content with what you have, which sounds like an oxymoron but I think it's totally possible to build a life you are content with and love, but to remain open to the fact that there's something else incredible that will add to that already cherished existence! I think they call that "hope".
There is a Japanese tradition called "Kintsugi" where broken pottery is repaired using a golden join. The philosophy behind this is that the breakage is part of the history of the object, rather than something to disguise. It's beautiful. And a good philosophy for life. Always remember that just because all you think you are is broken doesn't mean that no one else can see the beauty in your broken...and how much stronger and more beautiful you are because of it.
I love this about places. Whenever I go to certain places its almost like my history with people in those places plays in my head like a movie flashback scene. Even years later. And some of the people I only think about in those places.
My Goodreads Review:The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Beautiful. The perfect feel good read for after a spell in hospital. I guarantee you will fall a little bit in love with Brett and become her biggest cheerleader. This book has Hallmark movie written all over it!
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