Life Is Not Fair

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Life is not fair.

When you are ostracised, judged, criticised, scorned, avoided, circumvented, ignored, mocked, derided, gossiped about, spurned, shunned, snubbed, rebuffed, or even politely side-stepped, despite being honourable, loyal, honest, non-judgemental, clean-living, empathetic, kind, generous, tireless in doing the right thing … it hurts. It hurts more than it hurts those who do none of these, or only some. Why? Because your heart is open and, when your heart is fully open, you open yourself to being vulnerable to both joy and pain. Open is open, there are no half-measures with truth and honesty. What to do about it? Nothing. Only stand. Keep standing. Keep doing what is right. And in the place of standing, love and hug and walk only in the light … Leave all the others to their own devices … and rest in the knowledge that by doing only that which will stand up to scrutiny in a fair court in any land, your rewards will be eternal (as will theirs) and you can always live with yourself.

 

 

 

In truth,

Holly x

 

Love And Friendship Without Strings

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If you feel the need to compete for someone’s love, or buy your way into people’s lives, wait and see what happens when you have nothing left to bargain with.
If you choose friends by what they have, rather than who they are on the inside, wait and see what happens when your own rubber hits the road.
If you have unconditional love to offer, but no one takes your hand, remember that you are the richest amongst them, because you have learnt The Secret that they are still running around in circles searching for.
If you can sleep well at night, knowing that you owe no man a debt of love, you are indeed the one with all the wisdom and your riches are stored up in heaven.
If you can love yourself, when others pick at or ignore you, know that your star shines brighter than those with limited vision will ever know.
If you can see the blessings of another and walk on by without envy, your riches are in your heart and nothing can stand in your way of happiness.
If you can turn the light on when others only stand and judge, know that you have plugged into a power far greater than dull minds can ever experience.
If you are able to speak your mind in truth and with clear conscience conviction, you deserve the spotlit platform that you stand on.
If you long for the love of those whose love is only ever competitive or conditional, remember the gems that you have inside, and turn your cheek to face the wind.
It is wiser to do that, than to mind about the minds of others.
If you can be your own best friend, even in times of deepest darkness, you have what few others possess, and no friend in the world can better that.
We are each, ultimately, alone and no substitute for loving yourself will ever be found.
Be your own friend first, as that removes all need to compete or long for the approval and friendship of others.
When friendships and loved ones come to us without strings, each one is truly free to be themselves.

~ : ~

Holly x

 

 

 

© 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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IF … In The Strongest Terms

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IF … In The Strongest Terms

If a man is not prepared to recognise the massive contributions made by his spouse to their combined family, and is not prepared to walk to the ends of the earth to do what is necessary to support her, then that man is not worth his salt and he does not deserve the gem that he has chosen.

If a mother is not prepared to lift a bus for her child, to teach, guide, lead by example, to do whatever is necessary to ‘be there’, to defend, support, and to love, no matter their age, then she is not worth her status as Parent.

If a father is not prepared to go out of his comfort zone to learn to parent himself, in order to parent his child, and to lead by example so that his son or his daughter know firsthand how to begin to care for and fend for themselves, then he does not deserve to be a Father.

If a person is not prepared to put in the hard yards to learn to love him- or herself, is not prepared to stand in front of a mirror and do whatever is necessary to befriend and iron out the chinks in their own armour, then he or she does not have a right to stand before others and preach.

If a human being is not prepared to do whatever it takes to become more human, to allow Life to mould him (or her), to let everything break open in order to be rebuilt, yet stands in judgement over others and calls out their faults, that human is sick and needs to doctor himself.

If we stand in judgement over others, we invite wrath upon ourselves.

*

~ Holly Maxwell Boydell

*

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Quiet Time In Winchester Cathedral

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A few months ago, I was down in Winchester to attend a couple of events at Winchester College and found a little time for myself on the Saturday morning, anonymous and alone amongst the many inhabitants and visitors to the town. Feeling tired and fairly tender on the day, I decided to take myself on foot to the Cathedral, in the hope of finding a quiet corner where I might not intrude, and where I might be allowed to simply be.

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Whilst there, I penned the following into my notebook …

~ : ~

In Winchester Cathedral
Epiphany Chapel

As I walked into the Cathedral, on a video screen I saw the words very clearly “Be Still And Know That I Am God” … before they disappeared, replaced on the screen with something else.  I had walked in alone, in that moment, and felt as though the stillness and trusting message was especially for me.

I asked the lady greeting visitors at the door if I might be allowed to just come in and sit down.  I barely had the emotional strength to explain that I was not a tourist nor a history scholar, merely someone needing solace. I did not wish to join the milieu, nor have to walk across to the ticket kiosk and deal with the business of being there.  Thankfully, mercifully, I did  not have to explain to her. The lady looked directly into my eyes, and asked if I wanted to pray. I said “Yes, just to sit and pray, and to write”.  She looked as though she clearly understood my need and, without hesitation, showed me the way – “towards the wrought iron gates on the left hand side, and then left into the little chapel” – which has been set aside for this purpose.  I was so grateful to be able to come here and be peaceful, alone.

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As I walked into the chapel and sat down, the tears that had been gathering on the long walk down the side of the Cathedral were beginning to really flow free, and I was pleased to be able to let them out, completely alone and privately.  Then I looked up at the beautiful flowers, in an arrangement near where I was sitting, and noticed snapdragon heads amongst them, and realised that they are similar to the few apricot-coloured snapdragon plants that I had inherited at [the home where we currently live], before I moved them out of the area near the house, into the Stables Courtyard.  Not my favourite colour in plants by any means, but I felt as if they were a link to here, a message of some sort.

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I opened the Bible sitting on the pew rail in front of me; it fell open at Proverbs 19.

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Then I opened another page, after reading what had been shown, and saw Psalm 126.

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I photographed the pages, to have a record of what I had seen and read.  Some meaning was already and immediately there, but I felt that more meaning might come later, and wanted a record of what I had felt to be special and relevant messages.

Before entering the Cathedral, I had walked around the area in and near the shop and refectory beyond it, photographing the beautiful and meaningful bits to me, nurturing myself by being peaceful, enjoying the unrushed time to absorb what I felt led to and what I wanted to see.

Drinking in the peace at the Cathedral, even with the many other visitors and voices bouncing around the huge stone walls, I feel grateful for being understood, being allowed to stop, sit alone quietly, and simply be.

“Be Still, And Know
That I Am God”

Psalm 46: 10

~ : ~

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As I was leaving the Cathedral, I slipped gold coins into the donation box, in thanks for the peace and understanding shown to me, by the kind lady at the entrance door. That time in the Epiphany Chapel had been a gentle, much-needed balm to my soul.  I had felt momentarily as though, perhaps, someone truly is looking after me.

Holly x

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Judging And Loving

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Judging And Loving

Don’t judge that which you cannot understand,
For only fools do that.
Don’t judge the one whose shoes you’ve not walked in,
Unless you know that you could walk his path.
Don’t judge others,
For while you point one finger, three are pointing back at you.
Don’t sit around chewing over the life of another,
While your own life’s clock is ticking past.
Don’t use your head to judge a situation,
When your heart could do it better for you.
Don’t judge what you cannot feel,
For in the process you might condemn the one who can.
Don’t judge unless you have the right to,
Knowing that things of the soul do not stand up in a court of law.
Don’t judge that which you have no control over,
For in the process you might imprison yourself.
Don’t judge the ones who have been placed in your life,
For they might well be there to teach and love you.
Don’t cripple the ones who give you unconditional love,
Their love might be the best you will ever receive.
Not judging is a karmic equation,
Which stands fully spoken and written at length about in the Bible too.
Instead of judging, try loving
And then stand back and watch how much love flows back towards you.

 

 

~ : ~

 

 

Holly x

 

 

 

© Holly Maxwell Boydell
All rights reserved.

 

 

 

A Letter To My Brother

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To my darling brother,

Whom I have known for fifty years today,

A message that is on my heart to share with you,

On your special birthday far away …

 

I am not sure how to write this, nor how to best begin, and so am going to pretend that we are in the same part of the world and this is my speech for you, as if standing before you, amongst a crowd of well-wishers. I wonder how many know how lucky we are to have you with us still?

When I woke this morning, unusually early at 5.50am, I immediately knew that today was your birthday and the enormity of this realisation hit me like a boat paddle across the head. Thoughts flooded my mind, memories of our childhood – sweet, adventurous, challenging and complex all at once – and tears tumbled out as I recalled how we so nearly lost you. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you did not die … and that you survived each additional time that you heroically diced with death …

The fact that you are here today is, to me, nothing short of a miracle. Does anyone else know this, I wonder?

It was such a long time ago, and yet even today I cannot bear the smell of chemotherapy. I recall as if it were moments ago, visiting you in your hospital ward, climbing up onto your bed, and you handing me your beloved ‘real rabbit skin’ koala bear … which I took back to my convent boarding school with me, stuck my head into every single night, and cried into as if my heart would break.

You had no hair, your leukaemia treatment had been fierce and your battle was being lost … only one in ten children were able to survive back then, if that, and you were fast fading away. The smell of chemotherapy was powerful in the hospital, and it followed me powerfully everywhere, captured in the fur of the little koala bear. My pain at our separation was unbearable; our broken family disintegrating before my eyes, and the thought of losing you too was inutterably painful. I could not understand what all the words meant which described your health challenge and treatments, nor why I had to lose you, but I knew that I would not be able to go on if you went away forever. With my fervent little girl prayers, I prayed my heart out to the God that I knew and trusted, and I begged him to let you live … I can’t remember what I offered in return, but I begged for my brother not to leave me.

I was in a convent for two years from the age of seven, separated from you from when you became ill aged five, and cannot remember how long the treatment went on for, but every day was like forever. I know that we were hardly ever able to see one another in that time, and much about each other’s life then has been lost to both of us, but I remember the relief when I heard that you would live. You were dying. The doctors had done all that they could to save you. It was just a matter of time … and then one night, bruised and completely spent, you suddenly (miraculously) turned the corner, and your body began to heal. To this day, I believe that God granted the miracle so fervently sought, and that you were supernaturally healed. You were not strong physically, although clearly your spirit was phenomenal, and we had to take the utmost care with you … by then your and my childhood rough ‘n tumbles together had completely ceased. Your body had to be protected, and we were taking no chances with it.

How you got from there, aged five, to where you are today with a beautiful family of your own, amazes me. I am in awe of what you have survived, thrived despite all challenges to do so, overcome and risen above. The thing that I find truly astounding is that, not only did you stare the demon in the face and overwhelm it, but you then went on to tease the darkness several more times, coming out on top each time. Do you remember how, not long after surviving cancer, you climbed up into and then tumbled out of a huge fig tree … hitting your head on the concrete ground below? How did you walk away from that? Fervent prayers again, I wonder?

Do you remember the time, in about 1973, when we went on an adventure to find out where a swarm of honeybees had built their nest? We climbed up a narrow metal rung ladder in the garage, up to an attic space above … I remember clearly telling you to walk along the rafters (how did I know that, aged ten?) … but you disobeyed, and promptly fell through the roof. Your arrival into the living room was so dramatic: not only had you blasted through the ceiling like a super hero, but your steering skills went slightly awry … you took the brass candlesticks with you, as you flew past the stone mantel piece, thrashing your skull before you crash-landed onto the stone-flagged floor below. Why did you do that, my brother? Why did you have to go and crack your head open yet again, and on the day that we were due to travel in a group to Ifafa Beach? Do you know that, while your body was being put back together in hospital, yet again, none of the adults would speak to me? Do you know that they all thought I must have been trying to extinguish you? If only they’d known. What a sad, lonely time that beach ‘holiday’ was … but, thank the Lord, once again you survived.

We had so many adventures … did so many things that most children would not dream possible … our escapades colourful and inventive. I remember watching you, a tiny boy aged ten, swimming across the Vaal River in flood, to collect a dassie or mongoose that had been offered to us, so that we had something to cook on our fire. Our little African friends thought you were Superman, I’m sure. How did you survive that, my brother? Where do you hide your cloak?

You were such a brilliant companion and you have been such a clown all our lives, that I would not trade you for all the world. The times when our joking banter would bemuse others, and your dry humour infuriate them, are so innumerable that I have lost count of all the jests. Perhaps if people had known about your ability to overcome beasts and dragons, as I did, they would have shown you more compassion, as well as much-deserved respect? You certainly have mine.

As I think back over just those few incidents in the fifty years that I have known you, my brother, I see how much I have been blessed to be a part of your life. I have known for a long time that you stand head and shoulders above the crowd. What I did not anticipate, aged fourteen and you aged twelve, was how quickly you’d fall head-over-heels in love with all the Bob Marley music I played. Having rocked to the Reggae beat consistently for several years, disinterested in any other beat whatsoever, you finally gave in and increased your music collection, and yet to this day you remain an avid, loyal and dedicated fan. Rastaman vibration, yeah.

Happy Birthday, my brother. You are a truly bright, shining star and you have been my one rock, one constant, for a full half a century, through treacherous seas, through thick and thin. Here’s to the next half, and may you continue to be blessed.

Congratulations on reaching this fabulous milestone …
No … more than that … THANK YOU.
I do not know what I would have done had you left me behind.

With love, positive beats and admiration,

Your sister always,

Holly x

 

 

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PS.

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It’s Not Who You Are That Matters

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It’s not who you are that matters,
It’s what you are.

It’s not what you say that matters,
It’s what you do that counts.

It’s not who you say you are,
It’s who you show you are.

It’s not what you have that matters,
It’s how much you love.

It’s not how much you say it that matters,
It’s how much you show it.

And in the final moments,
This will be all that will have mattered.

* * * * * * *

 

 

I wrote this little piece, on 11 July 2013.

Holly x