Friday, July 29, 2011

Break on through to the other side.

You're in the street late at night. You see a dark shape ahead. Your heart races. You notice your breathing. You feel the sweat on your palms and the thrill of fear in your belly. The automatic part of you gets you ready to run. It's ok though because you realise that the dark shape is just a ladder leaning benignly against a wall. From there it's a quick return to feeling normal. You let our your breath and your body relaxes.

Or not. The rest of your trip home is a bit frantic. Your head snapping from side to side. Your legs have a mind of their own and there's the feeling of being pushed along from behind by an invisible hand. Full scale panic is a hairs breadth away. It's ok though you've good reason to be on alert. You are alone on a dark street at night and you know what can happen. It's happened before......

Or not. In fact you are surrounded by people at a party. You're not sure what triggered your panic, but you are tense. Your heart is pounding. Your breathing is rapid. You have to get out of there. You signal your partner using the private, much practised, non-verbal signal designed for this occurrence. Because as usual your panic takes away your ability to excuse yourself politely.

Fear and panic. Hand and glove. Or not?
I fear something that does not make my heart pound or my breathing ragged. It's source is a shapeless, formless, intangible, hovering monster that dwells behind a door that I lock securely. I have cataloged it as the fear that I will do a bad job and fail. To keep the door locked that separates me from this monster, I busy myself with a million other tasks or I simply do nothing at all. Both of these strategies work for me, but both of them are torture.

I believe that this is what we should fear the most, because holding ourselves back, running away, and locking the door is so much worse than facing the monster. I know that it's only when I face any fear head on that it vaporises, or that perhaps it was never made of anything at all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Facing Fear

Hello Writers Risers and Readers,

I feel a need to reintroduce myself. My name is Katherine Jenkins and I blog over at Lessons from the Monk I Married. I started this blog after my writing group in Seattle decided to name themselves the Writers Risers. The point of our little group was and is to meet and inspire each other to keep writing and keep creating and to follow our dreams. Over the course of two years this blog has come to include over 30 contributing writers from around the world! I hope to expand that number, so if you are interested in being a contributor, please post a comment here. There are some guidelines, but you can get an idea of the writing we have here by reading a few posts. Starting next month, I plan to provide monthly themes. To the current contributors, you can choose to write on the chosen theme or submit a post on another topic. For August the theme is:


Can't wait to see what kind of writing comes from that one! I'm going to get to work on it soon and you'll find my post here in August! Until then, happy writing and creating!


Clear the road

Image courtesy of Bing images

I'm in one of those stages where life in general is on the verge of improving in myriad ways.  Personal life is good, new work and projects are in the pipeline, so I can't complain about the near future.  What I find interesting is that just prior to good things hitting many of our personal horizons, Life seems to throw some curve balls.  I'm experiencing this myself, and I find it a curious manifestation.  I don't know what the purpose is of hardships being visited just prior to prosperity manifesting, but it does seem to be a common experience.  I know it isn't unique to my life, as I've discussed this with friends many times over the years.  

A good analogy would be that you're driving along a beautiful road, enjoying the journey, only to keep getting slowed down by small or large landslides.  You can see beyond the pile of debris to clear road, but you have to stop and clear the rubble away before driving on down the beautiful vista.

It could be argued that it's just Life...that it isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, nor should it be looked at as any deep, dark cloud of Doom being visited upon us.  I don't dispute that thought - Life does hand us all manner of energies.  I've said time and time again that we define ourselves by how we choose to react to a given set of circumstances.

So, when you can see happy times within a fingertips' grasp, yet you find yourself also swimming against the proverbial current to get there, how do you deal with it?  I find myself focusing on my breathing.  When I feel conflicted, or scared that something insurmountable is approaching, I feel a sense of heaviness in my chest.  This reminds me to search for calm, to stop the vicious cycle of fear based thoughts, and immediately choose to switch the focus of my conscious thoughts to something of a lighter and happier emotion and vibration.  Does this work 100% of the time to ease that moment of stress?  A great majority of the time, it really does.  

Yes, the issues of concern remain, even when I am changing my conscious set point and pattern of thoughts.  However, when I focus on happier thoughts, I'm better able to come back to that issue of concern with a more clear head.  Solutions are more easily accessed, if I just take time to breathe through the initial fears.  I admit that even knowing this fact to be true, I sometimes fall victim to those encroaching worries.  They build up in our mind's eye with ferocious and astonishing speed, don't they?!

What I'm focusing on today is that my near future has a lot of wonderful things that are on the verge of happening. These things are mere weeks away and will bring some much needed stability and security to my freelancing business.  On a personal level, my life is also changing and that energy is growing and improving, and is also mere weeks away from further clarity happening.  It is the here and now that is a bit challenging and worrisome.  I'm falling back on a lifetime of practicality to weather the temporary bumps in the road, and I'm very appreciative of having these coping skills.  

Am I still harboring some fears, deep inside?  Yes, to a degree, because reality can be downright harsh at times.  To be fair, adopting a temporary hunkering down mode doesn't slow down or prevent all the good energy that is approaching; I remind myself of this fact quite often.  Perhaps the bumps in the road are Nature's way of clearing out a bunch of junky energy.  Sort of a way to clear the road by dramatic means....a catharsis.  If looked at in this manner, then the series of troublesome moments that hit prior to the good stuff occurring can be looked at as a blessing.  It is my habit to look for the positives in any situation, and these thoughts have been circling in my mind for the past several weeks.  I would much rather find a way to appreciate these annoying little tangles in my path than to lament and embrace them, building them into an even larger ball of worries.  I think we all know that focusing and pouring energy into a negative mindset just encourages more of that same energy to grow and manifest.

So, yes, Life sometimes throws us unexpected unpleasant moments right on the eve of wonderful things approaching.  Is this some sort of Divine test to see if we're strong enough to persevere, strong enough to hold our faith, strong enough to keep smiling?  It may be a modicum of all of those, and it may be none of them.  It all depends on our perspective and our conscious choices.  There's obvious merit in not giving in to despair.  No one wants to dwell in such a sad mental and emotional space.  

I like the thought of clearing the road for better energies to manifest.  That empowers my Spirit, and lifts my heart, and it most certainly eases that heaviness of breath that was making itself felt.  Choosing to look at this situation as a positive, this clearing of the road for better things to come, allows me to feel a rush of anticipation.  A sense of sureness that yes, this is all part of the Greater Picture, the Greater Plan, and is a necessary piece of the process.  It is a strong truth that before order can be created, chaos usually is the precursor.  With that in mind, I am now better able to face these smaller bits of detritus littering my path, because I recognize that this is a clearing of discordant energies that no longer serve a positive purpose.  Logically, if I move through these smaller moments of  frustration and weather them with equanimity and a sense of Grace, they will clear away that much more quickly.  I just have to be willing to roll my sleeves up and be purposeful in how I choose to direct my energies to clear the debris littering my personal path.  It's the concept that is resonating the most strongly for me, so that is what I am choosing to embrace.  

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Never too old to learn

I don't know if it's just me, but I love learning.  I think I was born with a curious inquisitive mind and I think it's good for anyone to keep the old brain cells active.

I go through phases of learning new things.  When I get a new hobby, I'm all systems go at first.  I get lost in it for a while.  Really, I just want to learn and play.  I love playing, me.  I'm a big kid at heart.

I think when you are creative, playing is the only way.  You have to enjoy what you are doing.  When you enjoy it, it's easy.  When you 'try', things don't work out so well.

My latest hobby is making videos on youtube.  I just love it!  I'm not much good at it yet, but I will be!  Each video I'm making is getting better and better.

That's all I have to say really.  Short and sweet, as my Grandad would say.

Here's my latest video (ooh I sound like a pop star!) because I'm in a 'show and tell mood'. :)

for the first time...

"for the first time" is the title to my latest can't possibly live without piece of music... sung by "The Script" from the UK... link is at the bottom of my post... I had listened to the lyrics many times before... but today the words hit my brain... maybe it was the continuous loop on my iPod but they sank in today... I started feeling the words and letting them flow into my life and all my experiences... he sings about his girlfriend but I let the words drift to encompass myself and I...

maybe it's the approaching 44th birthday that has me waxing philosophical but I find myself looking at who is looking back at me in the mirror and it sometimes feels that we are meeting for the first time...

who is this dude with the increasingly grey hair looking back at me... I know he is a good guy, but could he have been more, given more, loved better, been more patient...

not been so damned scared of everything...

how have all my experiences been engraved onto the face I see... this person I present to this world, friends and family...

I am at that age where I remember my parents and the more "mature" people in my world starting to leave us... more funerals than weddings, seeing their pain as they moved their loved ones into care or into hospice for their final days... all the broken hearts and all the "jack" drunk alone in the local bar... all the smiling but at the same time close to tears... all those ripples under the surface that we all smooth over so as not to be "that person" who is always in the shit... never has anything together... the one we all avoid....

I'm not giving up, not by a long shot, I just really wonder do we really ever know that we made a real difference to this place, the people we know, this great, colourful mural of humanity... do our brushstrokes even count... are we even supposed to know?

I look around my life and it is a good one, I have few regrets, but have at the same time, never truly "had it all"... or maybe I have, but just used the wrong scale to judge... always seem to have had employment that I loved, and when it wasn't great anymore, had the strength to walk away and allow a new door to open, family is good, those I have chosen to call "family" have my back, and I theirs... but the great love of my life eludes me, and maybe that is my lot in life... I am loved, that much I know down to my core, but I have never been able to hold on to a significant other... never found quite the right balance between holding on and letting go I guess... maybe that's my lesson this go round... that and patience... not good at either...

So I put it out there, look around and look deep, look at those eyes in the mirror and all the secrets and fears, love and tears, laughter and joy...
what would you say to that face if you were to meet it again for the first time...
maybe take it further, honour who you see, love who you see, respect who you see, cherish and comfort who you see looking back at you.. .
for some of us doing that, will truly be the feeling that you're meeting ... for the first time...

also posted on my blog (

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on love and loss...

Today has been a tough day for my household.

Especially for our little Murphy.

My sweet little dog was out walking on the beach with me yesterday evening when he came across a little bit of discarded fishing bait. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as his walks usually involve lots of sniffing and nibbling of anything that looks even remotely flavoursome. So I wasn't too concerned until I realised that he was stopping to paw at his face because there was something hanging out of it.

Thinking that he had picked up a stick or piece of grass in his beard, I called him over to remove it. On closer inspection, I realised that it was a piece of fishing line with a sinker attached. After looking in his mouth, it dawned on me that the tasty morsel he had just munched on was more than likely still attached to a fish hook, which was now somewhere down his throat.

After a rushed trip to the vet, x-rays revealed that the hook was in fact stuck all the way down at the base of his oesophagus - one of the most unlikely and difficult places from which to retrieve it.

Our two options involved the use of an endoscope to remove the hook, or surgery.

We chose the least invasive option, which was the endoscope. This, however, proved unsuccessful as the large hook was becoming more firmly stuck with their attempts to remove it.

The last option was to try and get to it through the stomach.

Thankfully, our prayers were answered and the operation today was a success. Though he is not yet out of the woods, he is in good hands and we are believing he will make a full recovery. 

I fully understand that Murph is an animal; however, he is very much a part of our life. In 2 short years, he has firmly entrenched himself in our hearts and as a part of our family.

I do realise that he won't live forever but I simply wasn't prepared to say goodbye to him so soon.

But one thing I have been reminded of today is that loving means that you have to face losing

Thankfully, for us, not today. 
But someday, sure.

Loving brings the greatest moments of life - incredible joy and feelings of happiness and belonging.
But it also brings a vulnerability to loss and grief - something we inevitably have to face, often when we are least prepared for it.

Of course, the loss of a pet is not even on the same scale as the loss of a person... but still, it hurts.

Yet though loving means that I will have to face my share of pain and grief, I choose to love.

To love and to be loved is an immeasurable blessing.
And it is so much better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

I can't wait to have my little buddy back home, following me from room to room, just waiting for me to love him with games, cuddles and walks.....

Though maybe not walks on the beach for a while.  

also published on my blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

an introduction...

Hello Writers Rising!
Allow me to introduce myself to the group and tell you a little about myself. Katherine signed me up today as a contributor, and requested my first post be a little about who I am.

I started my own Blog ( earlier this year as a way of achieving 2 things. One, to add some structure to my love of writing, and two, to combine that love with my passion for photography.
I have loved to sit and write since my high school days, where regular English class assignments allowed me the opportunity to breath life onto a page. Where others dreaded the essays, I welcomed them with eager anticipation. Coupling my writing with photography has had me make the leap to digital format, broadening my boundaries of creativity.

I write from the heart, with the bulk of my work as non-fiction, usually when the words urge me to put fingertips to keys and let them flow onto the screen. Like many of you I am sure, this urgent need to write almost overtakes me and I have to stop whatever I am doing at that moment, and let the words come. I never force the issue, if I don't feel connected, I don't write.
I try to keep everything on a positive plane, with heartfelt, deep soulful feeling.

I work in the publishing industry for a family owned chain of Community Newspapers, though in our IT department working with, and training our office personnel.

I look forward to this journey with all of you.

Fritzy's World

Fritzy. She wandered into our apartment complex in New Delhi some weeks ago and decided to make it her home. Many of us residents took care of her - feeding her and loving her. She was mostly white with some patches of golden brown painted across her back. A splatter of light brown gave character to her otherwise large and pointy ears that looked a little big for her narrow face. Her eyes were doe-like, beautifully shaped - the kind that could turn every gaze into a soulful plea.

I first met her was when I took Mitraa, our pet dog who we adopted off the streets a year ago, for her evening walk. Fritzy came bounding up to us, her scrawny tail wagging tentatively. Not the overbearing kind, she stopped just short of us to gauge my reaction. Like she was asking for my permission to play with Mitraa.

Mitraa is usually not one who takes very kindly to her fellow brethren on the streets. The feeling is mutual - her fellow brethren don't have a high opinion of her either. They usually dismiss her with a look of disdain and a deep throated growl, while she struggles to break free of the leash and lunge at them. When this happens, the human caught in the crossfire, which often happens to be my Dad or me, is in an unenviable position - barely managing to maintain a grip on the leash and avert an ambush in the making. Mitraa thinks she can take them on single-handedly. We have often tried breaking it to her that she is sorely mistaken on this count.

But with Fritzy, it was different. She and Mitraa took to one another like fish to water. The introductions were tentative. They sniffed each other in all the wrong places. Once that was out of the way, though, they jumped onto each other, frolicked in the mud, pawed one another, and generally made complete monkeys of themselves. Fritzy was all about gentle play. Mitraa, on the other hand, has an exuberant personality. She's more "hands on". Fritzy would begin the duel by nudging Mitraa with her nose. It was like she was saying "come on, don't be a bore - let's play!” Mitraa obviously took Fritzy's jibes very seriously. She would put her paws onto Fritzy's back and give her a little kick. That would get Fritzy all riled up and she would nudge Mitraa back. Then they'd go round and round in circles, chasing one another. Fritzy enjoyed it thoroughly. She loved instigating Mitraa and having her lead the play session.

During these play sessions, however, Mitraa always had her leash on. If that ever came off, she would go running off towards the not-so-friendly stray dogs who sit in the lane parallel to ours. An encounter like that could be dangerous for Mitraa so even though we love all the stray dogs in our complex - we even feed them - we do make sure that Mitraa stays away from them.

That evening, I watched in glee while Fritzy and Mitraa played cat and mouse. A few minutes later, I felt her leash go limp in my hand. Mitraa had wiggled out of her collar! In the next millisecond, here's what happened. I looked at Mitraa, and she looked up at me. Our eyes went big with surprise for different reasons. The glee that shone in her eyes was in stark contrast to the horror writ across mine. Mitraa was quicker than me. Before I could say or do anything, she went charging away with Fritzy. Fritzy couldn't believe her good fortune. She finally had the dog all to herself without the human in tow. I knew, though, that if Mitraa saw the other stray dogs, she would get into a fight and would probably not come out alive. I went running after Mitraa and Fritzy, screaming Mitraa's name. She saw me run towards her and thought this was a game so she began running even faster in the opposite direction. Fritzy was on a high - this was way too much excitement for her all of a sudden.

As both of them ran, they suddenly veered towards the left and were gone. When I reached the spot, I realized that they had run into the neighbor's garden. The gate was left ajar, so I quickly closed and bolted the gate from outside. Fritzy and Mitraa were all over each other in the garden.

Meanwhile, the neighbor's dog - a sausage dog - waddled out the main door, curious about the commotion in his garden. He had barely appeared on the porch, when Mitraa and Fritzy pounced on him. They had found a new, albeit unwilling, playmate. The commotion got even louder, and the neighbors - humans this time - came running out into the garden and screamed when they saw their dog being manhandled by two street dogs.

Unable to bear this anymore, I opened the gate and went dashing in. I managed to get my arms around Mitraa. You can imagine the neighbor’s horror when they saw a man run into their garden unannounced. In the ensuing melee, however, I accidentally left the garden gate open and sausage dog thought it a perfect time to take an evening stroll. With Mitraa in my arms, and Fritzy - in a state of hyper-ventilation - trotting behind me, I went running after sausage dog. I had nearly caught up with him, when he stopped in his tracks and looked back at me over his left shoulder. He gave me a disgusted look that said "I'm not a menace like your street dog. I can handle myself perfectly well in the outdoors." I did not attempt to question his conviction. By then, the human neighbors had arrived and sausage dog was in safe hands.

Mitraa slept like a log that night, and Fritzy looked dizzy with excitement even the next day.

Some days ago, we got to know that Fritzy passed away. She was hit by a speeding car when she wandered onto the road outside. She had mustered every last bit of strength to crawl back inside the gate, and that's where she breathed her last. No one was around when this happened. By the time we were alerted, it was too late. 

When I heard the news, my eyes welled up with tears. I hugged Mitraa real tight - hoping that some of the extra love would somehow be sent over to Fritzy.

Just that morning, Dad had seen Fritzy galloping around the park with Blackie, another gentle stray dog who had become her constant companion.

These days, whenever I drive through the gate and park my car, I feel a heaviness come over me. I miss seeing beautiful Fritzy come bounding up to me, her tail wagging. I miss looking into her pleading eyes, giving her a rub on the head, and watching the pleading turn to pure contentment.

I look over my shoulder and see Blackie sitting beside the entrance to the park, his head resting between his front paws. It looks to me like he patiently waits for his playmate to return.

(Photograph courtesy Michelle Lohutko)

Article also posted on my blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



Tom watched as the horizon bobbed up and down, as the world slowly drifted past. Life, he thought, didn’t get much better than this.

What more could a boy ever want than a day like today? Some days were bad, some good, but today? Well today was amazing.

Tiredness pulled on the boy’s eyelids, making them oh so heavy, but there was no way they were closing right now, not a chance.

There was someone to go and see; someone to cuddle.

As Tom rode his dad’s shoulders, he rested his chin upon the balding head and clung on tightly around his solid neck.

The strong shoulders felt safe, felt warm.

Earlier they had played football together, and Dad had let him win again – but not without some light fowls and blatant cheating, which always made Tom laugh until his ribs ached.

Tom’s dad had taken him to McDonalds for dinner – a rare treat, and he’d even allowed him pudding. Since when was anyone ever allowed pudding in McDonalds?

The man had just smiled warmly and sat there watching him eat.




The greying man had done a lot of worrying recently.

But then the phone call came.

That brilliant, wonderful phone call.

It was Tom’s mum, calling from the hospital.

The results were in – she had beaten it!

The Cancer was gone!

Everything was new, everything was different. Dad jumped up, and with tears in his eyes gave the boy the biggest, strongest bear hug he’d ever had, before popping to the counter and ordering himself an apple pie.

This was a special occasion after all!

And now, as the light faded in the distance Tom sighed. They were on the way to get her; they were heading to the hospital to bring her home.

But not before Tom passed on that bear hug to his mum.

Some things were too good not to share.


Also posted at by me – Glen.