Me in Matera, Italy

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Good Bye from Cleo Patra ~

Hi everyone.  I'm very excited to tell you that I am starting a new blog today and I hope you'll follow me over.

My new blog is  Hopefully this link will take you there:  The Girl Who Notices. 

I appreciate all of you who have read my posts, especially those who have taken time to share your comments with me and I'd love to hear from you again.

Ciao! xoxo

Monday, 16 April 2012

Weight Problem

I love idioms and think about them a lot.  Today I was thinking of the phrase "carry your weight" in the context of the workplace and people doing their share.  But what does that really mean?  Is there an implication of proportionate contribution depending on your position or level of experience or is there an expectation that everyone contributes "equally" ... if that is even possible.  Wait a minute ... DO I HAVE A WEIGHT PROBLEM?

With my team at work, there are many situations where I feel like I carry the weight of the world upon my shoulders and I become critical of the people around me when I feel like they do not carry their weight and especially if their lack of planning or attention puts additional stress and pressure on me.  These situations make me feel weighed down and I find it difficult to work cooperatively and to support others as I should.

It's impossible for me to doubt others without also doubting myself.  Often I worry about my own weight.  Am I working hard enough?  Am I supporting my team enough?  How do I know if it's enough? Most importantly of all, how do I take weight off my mind?

Without question, there is dead weight in the workplace but what good does it do to obsess about that.  I feel like I need to relax and take some weight off my feet ~ stop focusing on who is or is not carrying their weight and instead just stay focused on the weight I can carry just by doing my best every day, supporting my team to the best of my ability and forget about the rest. It really just takes too much energy to deal with nonsensical yardsticks.

There is no point to throwing my weight around ~ I cannot change and can hardly influence what's happening around me; it's just noise.  What I have come to realize is that the biggest weight problem is waiting for people to change because PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE so it's time to block out the noise.  Also it is important to acknowledge that along with the dead weights, there are also heavy weights making contributions and working hard.  It's so easy to focus on what's wrong and fail to notice what's right and there certainly are people doing the right thing.  As for me, I AM doing the very best I can.  I AM constantly striving to improve and be the best me that I can be ... AND THAT my friends, is definitely worth it's weight in gold.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

White Picket Fence

I wonder how many people are actually living the life they dreamed of.

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of living in a white trimmed red house with a white picket fence.  I dreamed of a beautiful wedding with a big white dress and many bridesmaids.  I dreamed of a loving husband and lots of children.  Based on the dreams of a young girl, I am absolutely not living the life I expected.  In fact, not even one of these dreams have become my reality.  So I'm left to wonder ... what ever happened to the white picket fence?

Life is full of challenges and I have been surprised many times, not knowing what was around the corner waiting for me.  But it's through these challenges that I developed strength in character and determination.  If everything came easily, I wouldn't have to learn how to adapt, be creative and how critical it is to just keep going.

The biggest surprise for me has been the tremendous amount of loss experienced in a person's lifetime ... and I haven't even lived that long yet.  What I've learned about grief is that it can be overwhelming and consuming; it's like waves.  There are quiet calm periods; there are times when the waves are steady and persistent; and other times you can be surprised with a large wave that will simply knock you off your feet.  I have found that it is very difficult to manage grief and not let it take over my life; to recognize that it is a part of my life but not my entire life.  Easier said than done.  I'm still learning.

The white picket fence that had painted in my minds-eye as a young girl is not important to me today.  I don't know when that happened, when my priorities changed but I do somehow feel a sense of loss that absolutely NONE of my childhood dreams have been realized.  But there are also some really fabulous aspects of life that I never contemplated as a child. 

The greatest joys in my life have been found in the places I least expected: my daughter's smile, the reflection of the moon, a friend's understanding, the quiet of the morning, the warmth of a sunny day, or the beauty of a sunset.

Tis true, life has turned out nothing like what I expected.  Life is much more difficult, much more complex and yet so much more rewarding than the superficial life I imagined.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

To Thine Own Self Be True

In this era of self discovery and self improvement, we are not only encouraged but mandated to identify and examine our flaws.  It does not take us long to find out we have problems, we make mistakes and then we make a daunting list of every thing we want to change about ourselves.  We feel inferior.  We feel broken and we attempt to FIX ourselves ... CHANGE ourselves.  AND sometimes through this process we forget who we really are, we forget the amazing things that make us unique and special.
I believe in learning and growing as an individual.  I believe in investing time in figuring out who we are and what path we want to be on.  The danger, I find, is in letting ourselves fall into an identity of being broken, problematic, troublesome.  We try to turn ourselves into someone we were not meant to be and we chastise ourselves for not being willing or able to change.  Do we really need to change ourselves into an entirely different person or do we just need to tweak a few things about ourselves?
 I have felt really lost and broken, damaged beyond repair and I have been doing a lot of searching.  What I have found is that I have created this identity for myself of being a dilemma, a problem to be solved, a person who makes so many mistakes, a burden.  Along the way, I somehow forgot that I also have some really unique and "awesome" characteristics until just recently I was reminded by my daughter who wrote me a list of "Specifically Awesome Appreciations That is Mum".  In this list she reminds me that it's not only just okay to be me; I am appreciated and loved for exactly the person I am right now.

Yes, I will keep studying those roadmaps, learning and growing but I will also remember to maintain the qualities that make me authentically me.  Shakespeare said it best "This above all: to thine own self be true."

Saturday, 17 March 2012

It's a question of character

Hello friends.  I've been neglecting my blog as I have been busy working away on the restoration of my soul.  I am pleased to tell you that the restoration process is going well and I'm ready to blog again.

I have had some heaviness in my heart and my soul lately as I feel I am being judged by those around me both personally and professionally.  Maybe I'm always under the microscope of others but the soul restoration work has led me to be more sensitive to it.  I don't know.

Today, I had a bit of an AHA moment though as I came to ask myself "Perhaps it is me who should be questioning the character of those who have come forward to question my character?" and even more importantly "Who should I allow to be in the position of power to judge my character?"

The soul restoration process has involved
 #1 establishing a mission statement with values I will live my life by and 
#2 setting rules and priorities that will enable me to live my life in accordance my mission and values.  
In this new world order, am I not holding the gavel myself rather than allowing others to sit as judge or jury over my character?

It does not feel good to be judged or criticized by others especially if you happen to care about them and maybe even value their opinion.  But life is a tough gig and frankly I'm tired of being so hard on myself.  Instead, I'm working on accepting myself ~ strengths and weaknesses all in ~ and showing myself compassion.  So after a long thought provoking day, I've decided to remind myself that I am okay with who I am, I am proud of my character and strength.  I, in fact, am enough.