Special Valentine’s Day Memory

Valentine’s Day isn’t big in Australia, well not so much when I was growing up. It has become more commercial over the years and is something I’m more aware of.

I first learnt about Valentine’s Day in my early years at school. I thought it was specific between girls and boys or women and men, and was something to do with true love (even though I didn’t know that was).

When I got a Valentine’s card from a female cousin in America who was coming to visit us downunder in a few months, I was a bit confused because she wasn’t my girlfriend (I only wanted love cards from guys!). In Australia this was a very different cultural thing for me to have experienced.

Mum sat me down and explained it wasn’t that sort of love, but a true friendship love which doesn’t matter if it’s from a boy or a girl. And that this was part of the American culture to give cards to people who were meaningful in your life and someone you loved. I’m not sure I really understood (I was under ten years old at the time).

Mum then started to buy us (me and my sisters) inexpensive gifts each year for Valentine’s Day, partly because some of my ancestry is linked to America and I believe this was mum’s subtle way to open my mind.

One year, much later when I was in my early 20s mum gave me (and my sisters) a purse-sized packet of tissues with love hearts on it. I wasn’t impressed. Even though it only costs a few backs, I told mum it was a waste of money, as it was tissues. She was hurt and upset of course. It was just some fun, something little. Something I realised much later after she passed that required some thought to find something practical and without spending much money. And I was sad. I’d not received the gift graciously. Over time this has turned into the most cherished memories of mine for Valentine’s Day much better than any gifts from guys I’d been dating or in relationships at the time, (including a dozen roses) and a hell of a lot more meaningful than any gift I’d received from a man ~ who was supposedly in love with me at the time!

The gift giving has also been a tradition between me and my sisters each year on Valentine’s Day. My aim is to be thoughtful in the gifts bought and not spend much money. It’s hard to do. It reminds me of the effort mum put in to her gifts to me. How I was ungrateful but also how I learnt (finally) the deeper meaning of giving on this day, beyond convention, commercialism, to connect to the spirit of giving and recognising those who matter in my life, those who stay by my side no matter what. I might not be able to tell mum this. At least I can continue the celebration in her memory.

What special Valentine’s Day memories do you have? Feel free to share them below.

heart clipart

 

Lilliana Rose rose clipart

www.lillianarose.com

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

It seems that every year is a big year with lots happening, the good, the bad and the ugly. As we say farewell to 2017, I’d like to take a chance to reflect on the year that was.

Three top things that shaped my 2017 are:

3) Beginning Café Pondering blog

2) Starting up a journaling group on Meetups, Inspirational Journaling

1) Teaching ESL students

Of course inspiring family and friends, but that goes without saying 😉

There are so many other things too that shaped my 2017. The little things that whispered softly and can be easily over looked. Like how I made friends with the lady I shared an office with at work. But it was more, we shared creative endeavours, and encouraged each other to write and be creative. There was the signing off on my research proposal for my PhD. A writing workshop over a weekend in Sydney with the HayHouse publishers. Becoming an Aunty again. Starting art classes, with Splashout Art. Publishing my poetry book Fading Farmer, which I had held completed for two years unable to release out into the world. Plus so many other events I can’t quite remember, the ones that were negative and ugly which I will keep from here, as I am looking to release those events to move on to the new year. Like some of the world events, the ones that rock you to the core, the ones that cause the tears to flow, the ones that leave imprints on your heart.

As I remember the ‘good’ and forget the ‘bad’ I turn my attention to 2018.

What am I looking forward to? Right now, there are so many new doors opening for me, some of which I don’t know yet, it is difficult to see ahead for what may come in the following months.

I’ve managed to narrowed the list to three main things I’m looking forward to:

3) Presenting writing workshops (to make sure I do this, I’ve scheduled a Travel Writing workshop early February!)

2) New writing endeavours, writing more ‘life writing’ works.

1) Continuing my research on my great grandma, for my PhD, and learning more about my heritage, as well as growing and extending myself as I study.

I’m also looking forward to meeting new people, sharing my experiences in real life and on blogs with people. Continue my art classes and developing my skills with oil paints. To write more poetry. To simply write and journal and find the flow in life that nurtures me as best I can.

Starting a new year can be daunting. I don’t have a day job to rely on. I’m looking. For now I’ll have more time to write. The horizon ahead is wide with the haziness of the unknown, the forecast continually changes and I am constantly reminded that I’m not in control. But by focussing what I’m looking forward to helps me to move past the fear of the unknown, and allows me to deal with not being in control, because at least I can adjust how I respond to the situations. And by being grateful for the year past, and particular events, and interactions is a positive way to say goodbye, and move on.

Please share what you are grateful for in 2017 below in the comments and what you are looking forward to in 2018.

May 2018 bless you,

Lilliana Rose heart clipart

www.lillianarose.com

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Treat Yourself

 

“You treat yourself a lot,” a friend said to me recently.

“Well no one else will,’ was my reply.

This is the reality of adult life. Sure I get gifts at my birthday, Christmas, and throughout the year from family and friends but it’s the little spontaneous treats that can lift my spirits and help me to be motivated to keep persisting with the projects I’m working on. If I don’t treat myself then it won’t happen. But despite knowing this I also forget to treat myself, or try new treats, or mix it up for myself.

What do I mean by treats? My puppies get treats all the time. Often they get the same food treat and each time they react with surprise and joy and gratitude. That’s really the outcome I’m trying to create within myself. (But I’m not always wanting food treats.)

my puppies ready for a treat
Waiting for a treat.

Part of the key is for me to come up with a treat which is inexpensive, fun and spontaneous. Like when I’m at the supermarket and blueberries are on special and in season. A perfect treat for no reason except that I deserve it. Peonies are in season and their flowery faces call me, so I buy a small bunch and the cheer they provide in my home lasts for days. I walk bare feet along the beach right at the point where the sea wets the sand. I try a new café. I have a bath. I bake myself a banana cake and smear icing on the top.

Blueberries
Blueberries

There are so many ways I treat myself yet I forget to do it. I get busy, or I’m consumed by deadlines, or I’m exhausted. I’ve got all the excuses but really during these times I’m not in my natural life flow and so I’ve forgotten about me. That’s all right because at some point I’ll remember and I can adjust my pace, re-find my flow, and get back to giving myself the treats. For me that’s part of giving the treat to myself because it shows I’m in the flow of life. I’m relaxed, chilled and I see something that has meaning and will lift my spirit, even if it doesn’t need lifting.

Not only do I forget to treat myself even though I have a variety of ways to spoil myself, the act of rediscovering a treat I’ve not used for a long time is particularly up lifting and rejuvenating for my soul. For instance, recently while on holidays from my day job, feeling unmotivated to write, I decided I’d read evget consciousen though it was before 9am and reading is what I do in the afternoon. I set my phone to play music – Gratitude by David and Steve Gordon and I read. And read. And read. Then I remembered another treat I used to have. Spending the entire day reading. How decadent! A top shelf treat I’d long forgotten how to reach for – one that’s taken years to remember. I read Ali Walker’s book Get Conscious, perfect for someone like myself who is the constant busy bee and thinker.

Now I’ve remembered this treat in particular I’ll be aiming to do it more often. What treats to you enjoy? Are there any you’ve not given yourself of a long time? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com