Life Is Like The Tides

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If your life is fabulous,
be grateful.
If your life is difficult,
be grateful.
Life is like the tides,
everything moves & changes.

*

Whatever you are experiencing right now, know that it is only a matter of time before it passes.

If life is going well, grab it with both hands and enjoy every minute, being appreciative and grateful for all that is in your life.  If you are going through trials, do your best to hold on and, in the midst of whatever you’re dealing with, look around for things to be grateful for … this not only helps you to keep your equilibrium during challenges, but seeing the ways in which we are blessed always helps to lift our spirits, even if our circumstances are doing all in their power to grind us down.

No matter what you are experiencing right now, know that “this too shall pass” and it is our attitude to the moment that creates our reality, as well as determining the harvest later on.  Gratitude ought to always be the first port of call, in any situation, as it is the safest. Tides may rise, and tides may fall, and tides may bless us … but they will change. All that is left after a tide is what remains on the beach … our attitude during the tide is key to the picture we shall witness afterwards.

Be mindful, whatever the situation you’re living, and always find ways to be grateful.

When your life is fabulous, that is the perfect time to show appreciation, as well as to sow into the lives of others, and to appreciate within yourself the moment that you have now … these are the blessings for later, these are the areas that you will need to draw strength from when the tides get higher.

“We reap what we sow” and as the tides come in, so out they will go.

 

If your life is fabulous,
be grateful.
If your life is difficult,
be grateful.
Life is like the tides,
everything moves & changes.

*

 

 

 

In mindfulness,

Holly x

 

 


WordPress Prompt:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/flavorful/

 

Plants For Air Quality

With a certain amount of excitement on his part, and some natural trepidation shared, I delivered my son to university at the weekend – packed, prepped and ready to start his journey within the new academic arena of his choice.

We arrived … only to discover that my son’s allocated hall of residence had just been refurbished. The smell of paint in the stairwell was cloying. The smell of brandnew carpet and MDF furniture in his bedroom stuck in my throat and I felt it everywhere. The knowledge of the air pollution and indoor toxins burnt in my brain, but I refused to panic.

It was impossible to get the bedroom window open wide enough to freshen the air – my son figured out how to free it substantially, 24 hours later, thank heavens – and so we set to the great unpacking procedure, despite the cloying stuffiness. I tried not to worry, but knew that I needed to do something to rectify it or I would not relax, given what I know about these things.

Once unpacked and supped, instead of accepting the status quo, refusing to cave into fear of what the toxins were doing to everyone in the apartment block, I made a beeline for the nearest supermarkets in the town. They are located, thankfully, nearby – all other shops were closed by that stage anyway – and was relieved to find one that had a few peace lily plants. Of the four on the shop shelf,  I gratefully scooped up two in best health, in order to help clean the air of the apartment.

My children are used to this, used to my concern about indoor and outdoor air quality. They ‘get’ that it’s about health and wellbeing, as well as adding effortless hygge (a Danish term I learnt recently), something they’re accustomed to as well. They take it in their stride when I start placing plants everywhere, indeed even listening when I give care instructions for the healthy maintenance of the green. My children have grown up hearing about healthy spaces, they both understand that it’s worth considering the materials we use for renovations. Air quality can make a huge difference to our health or otherwise.

Four days hence, and my son has settled in fast … as I’m sure have the plants. It is just a shame that the rest of the building was not health screened in this way. His bedroom received special treatment. Lucky chap.

It is worth making the effort to use eco paints and install natural carpets, as well as choosing wooden, rather than synthetic, furnishings. Using products that do not contribute any harmful elements to the air that we breathe, would make the world of interiors a much calmer and safer place – for the workers and the inhabitants, alike. Renovators, designers, building managers, handymen and renovation rescue teams of television fame, take note! If in doubt, add plants … Or add them anyway, to suck up fumes from materials, as well as those from electronic devices of all sorts.

It pays to take care of our environments, both indoors and out. A penchant for plants is never wasted!

 

 

In good health,

Holly x

 

 


 

Pingback to WordPress “The Daily Post” – prompt: Penchant
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My Journey Into The University of Life

IMG_2942 - cropped - THTT signedHaving delivered my son, the youngest of my two children, to a prestigious international university at the weekend, I find myself ready to share the thoughts that are streaming through my mind right now … keeping the feelings of emotional adjustment at bay, while I picture our son adjusting to his new life in a new place, and we adjust at home to not having him around.

It is a strange head and heart space to be in, not for the first time another massive readjustment, a new place within a strange place, on a journey that has held many unexpected bits along its path.

Here is a little more of my own story …
It is a snippet about my starting out in the Big Wide World, showing up at the gate to the “University of Life”.

~ : ~

Did you know?
I did not go to university.

Furthermore, I do not have any certificates from any institutions other than a matriculation certificate from high school, and there are no letters after my name.

I have no profession, no specific thing that I can tell anyone that I ‘am’, no one easy answer to provide when faced with a form to fill in about what I ‘do’.  And yet, I do and have experience in a lot.

I have been educated to beyond tertiary level, by the “University of Life” … for those who do not know what this is, the best and shortest way I can describe it is: It is the long way round to blasting through glass ceilings, reaching full potential, and having ‘degree status’ clout. However, in matters of life, meaning, authenticity, sustainability and leadership in a range of ways, it is the path that I have travelled, is most definitely not a short cut nor easy way, and it means that whatever I say, I mean and have quite possibly seen, felt, tasted or survived.

It would be wonderful if there were a degree for this journey into and through the “University of Life”, a piece of paper to frame, a garment and a mortar board, but there is not. There is little recognition in tangible form for the courses that I have been on. As a result of the journey, and despite it, when you meet me, what you see is what you get. My communication is undiluted; I do not suffer fools lightly (nor does the book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible), and I have found that life is far too short to beat around the bush. It would be good to add a degree to this level of experience and integrity, but as yet I have not.

Why did I not go to university? 
Plainly put, I might have gone to university (indeed would have loved to attend the beautiful establishment on the slopes of Table Mountain, where I lived), had circumstances that I was living within been very different.

Having left home pretty much, at the raw age of eighteen, it was simply too hard to take on university by myself – the funding and the focus required were a crippling prospect – as well as manage my life entirely by myself. That said, I tried to get to university or teacher’s training college, I even made an appointment and met with my senior school headmistress – who said in no uncertain terms that she believed in me, even offered to help me to find a bursary – but it all felt too hard to pursue at the time. I found that, as I needed to support myself, still contributing in certain ways to life at home, already by then well-schooled in the rigours and realities of some very obscure scenes of life, I could not afford the time nor the cost nor the luxury of a university life.  How I would have loved to join all my friends who were able to do just that! But it was not the path that life had set me on.

Looking back (and at the time) I know I would have grabbed life on campus with both hands and squeezed every bit of juice out of a university experience when I left senior school – it was how I lived my life, anyway – but instead my mother directed me to undertake a Secretarial Course.  I was told that I would be supported partially to do that, but not to attend university. The lion share of everything that I needed I would have to find myself … not least, it turned out, the guidance to do what I was gifted for.  What a waste of twelve years of striving to be the one who would (and had so often done so or come close to) be winning the prize. There had been many Speech Days, when I was younger, where I had walked proudly up onto the stage to receive a book prize or some other form of recognition … and no one was ever there to support me. I gave up on that lark halfway through high school, when my home life became a series of rapidly changing and dramatic stage sets. It was hard to keep track in the pace of life itself, anyway … I do recall that our headmistress gawped when I told her that one day, during the public reading of our results at the start or end of a school term, in front of my entire year.

Therefore, despite my reluctance at going to do something that held no interest to me at all, the path that I had been told was my most realistic option was the one that I took. The little that I learnt at Secretarial College ended up being one way I kept myself from starving during many desperate times over the coming years. It was never my choice of career path … but it helped when I could find nothing else to turn my hand to fast.

Did I not receive a Certificate upon completion of the Secretarial Course?
No, I did not.
Why not?
Because I did not complete the course.

Four months into my six-month secretarial course in the city of Cape Town, after and whilst enduring endless banging away on manual typewriters (ouch) in an effort to reach perfection and to get my perfect banging of keys up to reasonable speed, with countless sheets of paper and carbon flying in all directions, battling to get my head and hands to process the simplicity of shorthand, staring square-eyed at the columns of bookkeeping figures … and on and on … I could not take any more. I was feeling utterly demoralised.  So, being used to ‘making a plan’ and finding ways to keep going within storms of life, I went straight to the nearest newspaper seller, bought myself a newspaper, and opened up the Classifieds pages to scour the list of Job Ads. I had to find a better way to do life than doing what I was most definitely not suited to, and I hoped that this would somehow lead me through an open door  … instantly I saw various advertisements that I somewhat courageously, very determinedly, rather cheekily, circled and then set my sights on applying for.

The first job I applied for … “Girl Friday for City Insurance Brokers” … led to an immediate interview … and the immediate offer of said job.  However, there was only one problem: the directors of the firm who were offering me the job, at what for me at the time was a huge salary – R300 (South African Rands in 1981) per month – required that I be at least able to operate an electric typewriter. Snag: I could barely manage to keep all the sheets of paper in the manual typewriters at the secretarial college down the road, let alone type one sentence without needing to erase and repair errors (times multiple pages) … and so they, being optimistic men of ‘making a plan’ too, decided to deliver to my little flat, with their company Driver, one of their new electronic typewriters, with the implicit instruction that I PRACTISE.  I was to show up for work three weeks’ hence, armed with the electric typewriter that they owned … and in receipt of the necessary skills required to operate it.  They were, clearly, believing in me to produce a miracle

I showed up for work … on time and on the due date … with the typewriter … whom I might have named by then … only just able to drive it.

My role as “Girl Friday” was a broad one, and it went from challenge to challenge, from strength to strength over a period of two years.  When I became bored, the Directors and senior staff found new challenges for me … while they expected me to answer their incoming switchboard telephone calls with aplomb, and not trip myself in the process of dealing with miles of yellow tape attached to the office telex machine … a vital piece of kit in the inter-office and inter-national communication system of the time.  Oh my word, it was all slog … but I loved it, because I was being mentored and taught and appreciated and given bonuses and helped to stretch and stretch and stretch … all in lieu of my much-coveted university place.  The Directors and senior staff had taught me all that they could, from keys to claims and back again, and wanted me to pursue a career in their field.  It just seemed grey to me, and so I declined their offers to support my studying to undertake the Insurance Industry Exams. C’est la vie.

When I could stretch no longer within the framework of the office and the company, when I decided that I could not face a lifetime in the insurance industry, when I was done with doing all the things that were possible for me to learn in that one office, when they had moved premises from the “Golden Acre” (and I had helped them to do so) to the outer suburbs of Cape Town … and all of life seemed to scream to a boring halt for me … I resigned. Job done. Great friends made. Wonderful experiences, including a yacht launching that I had organised to great success … but it was time to move one.

I am now in my fifties. Much has passed under the bridge since then.

I have much more story to tell, but that’s enough for now.

The “University of Life” is the hardest one on the planet to get into and to do well within … it requires a huge amount of tenacity and guts … and listening … and learning … and independent battle strategy … and following leads … and bumping yourself, getting bruised, picking yourself back up … but it often produces Eagles and Leaders and I have only to look at my children to know that I have defied a whole lot of what Life tried to use to trip me up. It has been an exhausting ride, but I am thoroughly proud of it and abundantly blessed as a result of never, ever, ever having given up.

So, without a degree and without a professional accolade to slip off my tongue, or any other seriously impressive title to blind you with, please know that what I write and what I do and what I speak is me being completely and utterly real, desiring to share what I have and to make the world a better place than the one that I found.  I speak from experience, and all of it hard won.  Often a lone voice, I have lost and found my voice … stronger and more vibrant than ever before … because I have the scars to prove that life is a powerful force and love will carry us through everything, if we just hold on.

Be brave. Be strong. Keep believing. Fall down. Get back up.
Cry. Shout. Scream at the wind. But don’t ever stay down on the ground …
Wait for the next current of life to come along … and then rise up!
It might take time to heal from the wounds, but just remember:
Eagles don’t have time to hang out with those who wish to remain forever on the ground.

If you’re on your path to graduation, go for it!
You’ve got a headstart.

With love and motivation,

Holly x

PS. My typing speed is phenomenal now … and I still have no desire to be anyone’s PA … shall leave that role to those who can do it with aplomb. Oh, I did it, by the way … I worked as a PA in London, in a prestigious establishment there, and I have the experience to prove it … Just no Certificate, I’m afraid. There is, of course, other working experience to add to the bow too, but those stories are for another day.

PPS. I am still learning, changing, rebuilding … and it is now time for me to graduate to the next level too …

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“the gazebo is scheduled for conservation work soon. Please respect the fragility of its interior”*

rings true!

*(a sign seen in a beautiful garden in the Cotswolds recently, it is what gave me the inspiration to write this piece)

~ : ~

Link to WordPress “The Daily Prompt”
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Test it all against the truth of Love

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While we whinge about aspects of our First World lives, so opulent in so many ways, babies are starving, people are aching for unconditional love, mothers are desperately trying to rise above the humiliation of poverty, business people are seeing the futility of the fast buck when they receive medical shocks … people are sleeping rough on the streets, children are crying and afraid, parents are carrying their children away from war torn conflict, the earth is heaving and groaning in agony as we treat it like a useless machine … Every man has a duty to wake up and examine himself. Every woman has a duty to forgive her peers and show them unconditional love … Every one of us has a duty to work on returning to what really matters and that is not One Upmanship … What really matters is how much we love. Love is an entire subject of its own. Love does not rob, covet, nor harm in any way. Love loves. That’s what brought us each into the world. That’s where we came from. That’s where we might return … To Love. How we live now determines how we’ll be then. Love applies to everything. Test it all against the truth of Love.

~ Holly ~

When People Talk About Others

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When people talk about others, remember that they are just as capable of talking about you. Be careful.

When you notice that people have slipped into the shadows, know that they have not collected their facts. Be careful.

When groups fall off the ledge of your life, know that they have been spreading rumour and gossip. Be mindful.

When people turn their back on you or walk away, instead of towards you with love, let them go. Carefully. Remember: they were never meant to be there for ever anyway, and their thoughts are none of your business.

Go mindfully through life.
Don’t gossip.
Gossip and slander hurts.
And it bites back
Always.
That’s just how the Universe works.

Appreciate those who love you, regardless, unconditionally.
They are the treasure.
Focus on them.
Practise love anyway.
It always wins.
That’s just how the Universe works.

~ Holly ~

 

Snowdrops on International Women’s Day

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On this International Women’s Day, I thought I would post a few photographs of the delicate white blooms carpeting areas of our garden at the moment, a little visual gift to those who love snowdrops, and with thoughts of all the women around the world who are making a difference on our beautiful planet right now.

I read a quote today by Magnify Magazine, which said: “Behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back.” There is a lot of truth in this statement, although so often women can be one another’s worst challenges and bitter rivals instead! Successful women, however, in whichever areas they work or perform their vital roles, know that it is in the lifting of others that we rise to greatness or prove to be of value ourselves.

It is so important to remember how much women do in our society generally, and how far they are prepared to extend themselves, in order to maintain peace and dignity on our planet. There is a long way to go towards making women feel more appreciated for all the roles that they perform, so many unrewarded, undervalued or ignored. There is also a distance to reach yet towards recognition of the fact that women are the ones who instil so many of life’s worthwhile values into the children of our world. To those among us who are making a difference, even in the smallest of ways, I salute you.

Enjoy this snapshot of the last moments of the snowdrops shining in my garden this week, soon to be retreating into the background, where they will regain their strength to bloom with vigour next Spring, and give way to the crocuses and narcissi who will take centre stage.

 

Holly x

 

 

PS. I think the white streak down the photograph below, might have been an early bug in flight … (or perhaps even a fairy?).  There are sure to be fairies in this garden of biodiversity somewhere!

 

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Copyright ©  The Holly Tree Tales

Life is worth mastering …

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of when I left my beloved Africa, to come to the United Kingdom, embarking on a journey whose road I could not see before me. It has been one heck of a ride.

The original version of this particular blog post, “Life is worth mastering”, was published in February 2015 (twenty three years after leaving Britain at short notice, due to the death by suicide of my husband’s eldest brother, returning again to live in the UK in 2006).  This post has been reblogged by others, for which I am immensely surprised and grateful. I thank all for the tremendous support that my words have received.

Here it is again …

Blessings and love,
Holly x

 

 

 

The Holly Tree Tales

The piece below was written upon waking this morning, Tuesday 17th February 2015, and flowed from my pen as I allowed the words to ‘write’ themselves. The thoughts come from my own experience of life, and my own journey, but the flow of words was not controlled. I simply allowed them to be, just as I am learning to do.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of my arrival in Great Britain, home of my ancestors, from the country of my own birth, South Africa. This month, February, marks the anniversary of the sudden and tragic death of my brother-in-law, an event which catapulted me to Australia, as a young bride twenty three years ago. Nine years ago, I returned to the United Kingdom once more, older, a little wiser and with a family of my own. This month, and this year, each hold enormous significance for me personally, as do several other…

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An Impromptu Lecture by Richard Demarco, CBE OBE

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I am extremely privileged to know the indomitable Professor Richard Demarco (pictured above explaining his Archive at Summerhall), having first come across him in Edinburgh during the early 1990s, and am honoured to call Richard a friend.

As is his wont and despite his advanced years, Richard Demarco continues to be immensely generous about sharing what he has with others, regardless of where he is or with whom, and he loves an audience with whom to engage.   Ever enthusiastic about disseminating his vast knowledge, conveying his passion in every word, and describing his many encounters with bright and brilliant minds, all of whom he recognises as artists, Richard thrives on speaking with anyone who is interested to hear what he has to teach, and speaks with brilliance and compelling emotion about the things most dear to his heart.

On one of my visits to Richard’s administration base in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, a small crowd had gathered, to whom Richard enthusiastically began to lecture. I switched on my camera to capture the moment in photograph, but hit the video setting, in error.  Thus, instead of photographing him, I found I was filming the exceptional moment, which turned out to be fortuitious.  Richard noticed that he was being filmed, but appeared not to mind the ‘intrusion’, so I kept the film running.  To be honest, I wish I had video or audio recordings of every meeting  and gathering at which we have met thus far, all of which have been fascinating, inspiring and intellectually vibrant.  Richard Demarco is a stellar human being and one who never fails to enliven the world around him, a world which I am so fortunate to be able to encounter him in.

I share this treasure of mine in good faith, the result of my impromptu filming of an impromptu lecture by Professor Richard Demarco, CBE OBE on 10 July 2013, at Summerhall in Edinburgh. The film clip contains mentions of the Edinburgh Festival, the climate and Nature, made poignant by the presence of a cherished portrait of the late Joseph Beuys, renowned artist and environmentalist, a much-treasured and missed friend of the great man.  There are also several ‘guest appearances’ through a creaky door, by those going about their business of managing the Demarco Archive at Summerhall.  I hope none will mind being featured in this little film.

 

 

As an aside before ending this post, mere mention of the fact that this was filmed a day after Richard Demarco’s 83rd birthday.  Richard has recently celebrated turning 85, and continues to travel widely to speak of Art, his great love, and many things related, inspiring all who come into his orbit.  What a remarkable man he is!

With blessings,

Holly x

 

~ : ~

Note:  For more information about Professor Richard Demarco, please search this site for other post(s), where you will also find links to his website.

 

 

~ : ~

 

 

NB.  The film clip featured is the property of and remains copyright to Holly Maxwell Boydell, with all rights reserved.  The film and this post may be shared, but not used elsewhere for gain without prior and appropriate agreement / permission.

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©  The Holly Tree Tales
All rights reserved.

Broken Trust

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“When someone has broken your trust once, it takes a lot to get it back.
When trust has been repeatedly broken, the damage takes every effort to repair. After repeated breakage to trust, or to any structure, it becomes very weak and, unless proper attention is given to repair, it breaks irreparably or is demolished.”

~ : ~

 

I was sitting in the weak sunshine on a stone bench in our British garden, as I wrote those words some months back. They had followed a revelation of something untrue that had come to light, and the process of discovering a breach of trust had hurt me, not for the first time.

Beside me on the bench sat a little cement statue of two doves of peace. I have loved these birds for as long as I can remember, and have treasured the peaceful statue since I first chose these white doves for my garden in Australia, many years ago.  Displaying them has always carried connotations of peace and love … two elements that have been much needed in the past few years of unfamiliarity, stress and challenge, ironically experienced most especially in the place where we currently live.

Some time ago, the little dove statue was dropped, in haste and apparent error.  As I watched it happen, I felt my heart jolt and looked with sadness at the broken wing lying on the ground.  I have a photograph of it on the kitchen table – it looks like a broken angel’s wing.

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I felt the symbolism at the time and I felt it again, as I glanced sideways at the doves on the bench beside me after writing the words above. I saw the irony then, and I feel it now.  The wing broke, just as my heart has so many times.  The statue looks repaired, but it is broken.  The dove’s wing looks strong, but it is held together with glue.  It and they will never be the same again.  Stronger in some respects, but weaker in others.

I try to look past the realisation and the irony, to forget the pain and to rise above the hurt, to see only the beauty of what the beautiful doves represent …

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but I know with every fibre of my being that only honesty and truth can hold any situation together, in sheer and utter completeness.

It behoves us all to remember that trust is a very fragile thing;
It deserves our every care and our utmost respect.

~ : ~

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Holly x