This cactus came from a family holiday in Lanzarote as a tiny sprout. It has been cared for since then, watered, fed, changed to a bigger pot, and has sunshine shining down on it, when it is actually sunny in Northern Ireland… Some people may still just see it as this spiky useless thing. They may not see the tiny, intricate, beautiful flowers it has produced.
I know a lot of people who on the outside may look quite scary and sharp; sometimes us who happen to ride motorcycles may be looked upon as loud, scary and rough. As with the beautiful flowers on my cactus, it is for the beholder to see what they wish.
So what are the spines (spikes) for? They are not thorns, rather they are modified leaves, and keep some predators away from the water inside, but also help on a misty or foggy night to trap some water, which then falls down the smooth cactus to the ground and is able to be absorbed by the roots.
So if you think of people who may be protecting themselves in this, sometimes, dry and arid world, devoid of empathy, they may use defenses to keep people away. If you look closely at a cactus it usually has a beautiful smooth surface behind the spines. If we cared enough to really see a person we may see the beautiful smooth stem, the spines all designed so intricately to protect, and the fruit that it produces, for this cactus it is the stunning flowers.
A person behind the spikes could be a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend or any number of very kind things to many people. Going with the bikers again, I know most bikers have very big kind hearts and do many things to help people, maybe a charity bike run to raise money for little children who need some sunshine to shine down on them, and raise money to help them.
As both a biker and a counsellor I am privileged to know a lot of people who may on the outside have a lot of spines to protect themselves, after being hurt in this world. I know that behind these spines is a beautiful soul that is very kind and helpful to others, despite what has happened to them. I know the fruit they are producing and how they help others to flourish.
As you can read I look at a cactus very differently, and it means a lot to me. I find comfort in the spiky spines. It is a reminder to me that spiky people may be a lot different behind that defense. It reminds me if someone is spiky to me that if I negotiate them spiky spines carefully, the smoother, calmer person is there. The beautiful flowers this cactus produces twice a year, reminds me how a person can flourish, if they recieve the correct care and attention we all require in this world. Thanks for reading, Stephen.
Mindfulness can be practiced in so many ways and places. Just now as I was driving home from work, in the dark, on a busy road with roadworks, I was approaching my turn off. I noticed running at the side of the road a tiny little brown field mouse. This is through being aware in the present moment of where I am in the here and now. I am not that keen on mice, but, in this moment it was a beautiful thing to behold.
Amongst very large machines, cars and roadworks, this brave little mouse is still going about his or her daily life, among all the hustle and bustle, usually unnoticed. How much can we feel like this mouse at times… I don’t know what this mouse was doing, but he could have been making a huge difference in his little world, feeding his family, going to the mouse shop for a treat for his wife, after she had a hard day with the baby mice, rushing to help another mouse have the confidence to cross the road home to his safe house…
Humour, but, when we feel small and insignificant, mindfulness can allow you the space, time, and kindness, for yourself to slow everything down, and allow the feelings of compassion and significance to come back which you deserve for what you have done today. For example, if you smiled at one person today that has the power to change their world.
I also changed my route home tonight just so I could drive quietly and slowly over a dark mountain and see the bright stars from the darkness of that mountain road. It was calming and peaceful. How many people could have travelled that way and not stopped and noticed the creation all around us?
I am a Soul surrounded by a rental of skin and bones. I use Prayer, reading the Bible, mindfulness, nature, my Bride and my Sons to connect with my Soul and its Creator. My Soul is the only part of me that will last. What ripples I leave behind in helping others in a safe way is my goal. It feels good to check in to the real me, inside, which I wish to shine out. No matter what others may TRY to ‘do to me or make me feel’, my Soul is the part they do not get to easily, I will protect my peace by any means. Stephen.
A few thoughts just after World Suicide Prevention Day. In Northern Ireland more people have ended their life on Earth through suicide this week.
It is vitally important if your thoughts get to the point of resignation that you seek professional help. You can live on. You can change so much else in life if it has become so hard for you to hang on living. You cannot come back to life after you have killed yourself, only Jesus accomplished coming back to life after dying. Life can be very good after overcoming this dark period of suicidal thoughts. Hang on. Get help. Believe in what you can still accomplish in life.
I would like all precious people to consider who they put their trust in regarding suicide. I as a Christian put my trust in God, but not every Church has a trained professional to help you through depression, anxiety, ptsd, suicide… I am a man of Faith and believe in the healing of the Holy Spirit. A Pastor or Minister is an excellent person to go to for guidance and counsel for your precious Soul, and I highly recommend it, as you will be taking your Soul wherever you go after here… I just wish you to consider if you are putting your trust in a person in a Church or Chapel, as a few wrong words from someone could be the tipping point in activating your suicidal thoughts, into actions… It is similar with some other places in towns which profess to have ‘professionals’ to help you with your suicidal thoughts, they may not be trained.
Try anywhere you wish for help, but if it is not helping, do not stay there, go somewhere else, and get help from somewhere else. Do not allow yourself to stop fighting, do not allow yourself to sink further into the darkness and lies of depression and suicide. If you do not want to see me that is perfectly fine, I just wish you to get help, with someone who can help you. I wish to see you tomorrow, next week, month, year… I wish to look into your eyes and say you made it, well done, what a fight you had. Survive. Pray. Believe. Ask God to help. Psalm 91.
Can broken love be strong enough?
This is a question with no ‘correct’ answer. It could depend on: circumstances, both people, dependants, finances, past experiences, support network, trust, Spiritual Faith, guilt, shame, mental health, etc.
The tension of our lives are in this picture. We all have a heart, all nations, cultures, colours and religions. How do you listen to your heart? What happens when a negative event occurs in your life? When you get the thoughts that you are worthless, useless, or whats the point in trying, when your shoulders droop and your head goes down. Do you allow your negative experiences to crush you or make you stronger? I decide when that happens to use the negativity as fuel to motivate me and push me on. The thoughts come to all of us, but it is how we listen and use them that is the key. I get negative thoughts and that is my key to use them for motivation and realise my body sensations at that time, e.g shoulders drooped, head down, and know it is time for positive thinking, using all that negativity as the fuel.
How do you cope in that tension? How do I? The learning is in the tension. The growth is in the tension. It is part of life, and it is a choice we need to make. So many people have given up and just stay in that negative thinking, with so many somatic symptoms (feelings in the body, e.g. sore head, shoulders, neck, joints, sick stomach etc.) which may be coming from their negative thinking. The tension is hard to negotiate, but would you rather be stuck in a negative cycle? The tension in your heart, like in the picture above, has many issues to negotiate in everyday life, but it can be healthy, and work with your mind to keep you happy and in control. Enjoy the tension.
I am feeling very honest and reflective tonight so I want to write this as a form of confession. This blog is written from a very deep and honest Soul. My Bride will read this at some stage I suspect, so I will confess my sins to her also. I have been happily married for over 15 years, but I am truly, madly, deeply, in love and lust with another woman. I suspect my Bride may have suspicions as she has seen me with a faraway look in my eyes before I have disappeared for hours at a time, sometimes until very late at night. She has probably noticed the ‘other woman’ is never around during these times also…
The other lady is a gorgeous fiery red from Italy. The ‘Big Lady’ is an Aprilia Falco V-Twin 1000cc Motorcycle. 😀 I am in love with motorbikes in general but the bike I fondly nickname ‘Big Lady’ has stolen my heart. I love the insane amount of power, the low down torque of an Italian V-Twin, and the booming noise. I love the curves and that it wants to wheelie everywhere. I love that it keeps wanting me to go quicker, harder, further and still offers so much more.
I will fill you in a little on a bikers life. A bike needs to click with its owner if you are going to ride it fast and hard. My last bike wanted to throw me off frequently, and I over rode it, backing it into corners and thrashing it as fast as it would go. I did not respect it. This may seem crazy talking about a bike as if it is alive; but have you ever sat on a bike while pushing to find its limits? You need to know the bike has your back and trust it. The ‘Big Lady’ does that every time as I have had some close calls, and this big red Italian lady has brought me home each time!
my treasured Nicky Hayden Replica Arai Helmet
life is easier with humour 😀
My bride likes bikes but also knows the dangers. She still told me sometimes to strap my helmet on and just go for a ride, as I was stressed and irritable. Husbands will read this as ‘just go away and give my head peace for a while’. I always came back in a completely different mindset. I was completely de-stressed and at peace with myself again. This is due to a mixture of therapies. Motorcycle therapy is the best therapy invented. Strap a helmet on and just ride that steel horse wherever the sun is shining with no set agenda, or time limit, just remember to fill up the tank regularly and ride. I have ridden so far at times I have to slide off and lay down beside it on the road, and just stretch my back and butt back out. You bikers have all been there, getting the funny looks form non-bikers, just laid out on the road beside your steel horse, then walking like John Wayne for a bit until the feeling comes back. Now that is a worthwhile bike ride 😀
The other therapy is mindfulness. I would park my bike up (as in the picture of my beautiful Italian lady above) and just sit my ass down and look at the sea, or a river, or lake and just use mindfulness to clear my mind and let the troubles drift away. After being on the road for a few hours it was brilliant to just sit and let my mind clear itself of the crap. Mindfulness allows me to clear the rubbish, and afterwards have room in my complex mind to decipher what I need to work out in this life.
In the picture below is a view from the road from behind the bubble of my Aprilia on a rare beautiful sunny day in Northern Ireland. A funny story on my last bike I blew the exhaust up here in this stretch of road, and had a deafening ride back home with my tail between my legs. This Aprilia however never gave me any trouble, it is much loved and respected and the feeling is reciprocated.
So that is it and I hope it gave you a smile. Life does not need to be all serious. I have my own trouble. You have your own trouble. Sometimes it can become too much. What do you do to unwind and detangle your brain to give yourself room to work out whatever needs worked out? Comment below and tell me. As I am a counsellor I may be able to pass this onto clients in counselling if it was appropriate. You could be starting a ripple of kindness for someone you will never know! That is a chance you cannot pass up. Comment with your response to a crazy world in which we live.
A request for my brothers and sisters who are bikers, leave me a link to your blogs below I would love to read and follow them. Leave me a comment with a funny story of your biking adventure. My story is when a ‘cool dude’ in a Souped-up Subaru with a pretty lady in beside him tried to race me. I played with him for a while, then just left him with a red face in my dust when he realised what I was doing, and his girl was smiling at me out his window as she had already figured it out. A car will never outrun a powerful bike. Anyone who is not a biker would be very surprised how many professional people like Doctors etc. are actually Bikers.
Last story is when I was riding to work in winter and didn’t know it was icy in places until my visor froze white. I was nearly at work so rode on slowly. A wee man in a car with a death grip on the steering wheel nearly crashed into a wall when he noticed me riding past him with both feet down on the ice. It was only funny when I made it into work in one piece somehow and I could laugh at his face when he saw a biker going the opposite way into the icy section. My bride did not see the funny side when I went home that evening and told her…Stephen.
For some it may be white feathers that turn up in strange places. For others it is a link to the moon. For me; I love the moon shining bright in the sky, it is usually a calm peaceful night when you can see the moon. This is part of the attraction for me.
I am writing about the loss of someone close, someone who is still a part of our lives; they are just not in this world anymore. I know some people who treasure each white feather they see, when it turns up unexpected, and just at the right time when they needed some comfort, and a reminder of their Angel in Heaven. It is a very special, personal, spiritual experience. They think of a little baby that has sent down one of their Angel wings feathers, to remind them that they are with them in Spirit.
My connection is the moon. I know my baby is not there. My Angel baby has wings in Heaven. The moon however has such a special connection since my 1st child went to Heaven. The link is that I cannot SEE Heaven from here. I feel Heaven, have supernatural experiences, and Believe in Jesus; But it is the connection with the moon shining down that connects my thoughts to my little Baby, whom I talk to, love and miss everyday. I talk to my children here about their Angel in Heaven.
I have previously worked many nightshifts in a dangerous place; But if I passed a window and realised for the 1st time that night the moon was shining; I stopped no matter what was happening, which could have been fights by men addicted to many substances and alcohol. I collected my thoughts, and said a Prayer to Heaven with my little Baby while staring at the moon. I was never once interrupted no matter what was going on around me. A supernatural moment Heaven didn’t allow to be interrupted between a daddy and his Baby Angel.
I have had some nights where I just need to go out walking in the moonlight to clear my head. I will at some point just stop, and using mindfulness, stare at the moon, what shape it is, what colours there is, the clouds drifting slowly past making their own story. In reality, I’m not interested in the moon at this time. It is my soul connecting to Heaven, and I just need to keep a clear mind and let it connect. A very spiritual experience. I never take this for granted and it is very grounding. I am just A loving daddy kissing my Angel in Heaven. X
Sometimes I would love to know what my Baby would have become? Married? Loved to do? Loved to watch? Loved motorcycles like me? Loved reading like me? Been more like Mummy? So many questions with no answers, but then my baby went to Heaven so no pain in this world. I also do have this very special, supernatural connection which is so very precious and personal to me. I use the moon to settle my mind, but my connection is not the moon, or white feathers.
I know some of you do not believe in Heaven, which is your choice, but I do, and that is the only reason I include my spiritual views as it is intertwined in my DNA, especially with my 1st Baby. I am very interested in everyones viewpoint. I am non-judgemental by nature and by profession. I would like you to comment with your connection to someone you have lost that was and still is very much connected to you. Do you do anything at Christmas to remember them? I will have a family moment to think about our Angel at this special time. Our children here have a special connection which I love and cherish.
This blog was never started to be my view only; I am a private introvert. I feel my words may help someone, even 1 person, and that is the only reason I write here. If anyone has a blog they would like me to read regarding their Angel Baby I would love to read it so comment with a link to it. I will also say though if anyone comments anything rude or nasty, I will respond, as this is a very personal experience for everyone concerned. I respect everyones views. Please do post your thoughts below here.