Anger – A Surprising Visitor

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This week I had a surprising visitor – anger. I haven’t experienced anger for a very long time, probably 30 years. And I have never been as angry as I was this week. I was shaking with rage.

Now, why would I allow myself – the person who comes from the centre of peace and love – to get so angry that I literally wanted to punch someone’s lights out?

My knee jerk reaction was based on the built-up memory of this someone’s repetitive aggressive behaviour. I snapped because it happened again. Strangely enough, it wasn’t anywhere near as aggressive as in past times, but I snapped anyway. And it’s because my memory bank was chock-a-block full of it, and suddenly it all hit me at once.

I wanted to shout and scream and threaten. But, I have never, nor would I ever confront someone with anger in the heat of the moment. It is too destructive, so instead, I reached out to somebody who I knew would listen without judgement. Someone who was safe; someone who allowed me to vent.

The interesting thing was that while I was experiencing the rage, I was also acutely aware of being in control of what I had to do with it. I even remarked on it. I knew I needed to let it out, and I am thankful I had a safe place to do just that. In fact, it was almost an out of body experience as I could hear every emotive and angry threatening word from outside myself.

And the other interesting thing was, I knew I would never act on it. My love and compassion will always be far greater than any anger I could ever feel. But I had to voice it, or I would have exploded.

The truth is, when someone behaves aggressively on an ongoing basis, we don’t always challenge them. We get used to it, find ways to deal with it and make excuses for them. When life gets hard and things go wrong for those locked in aggressive patterns, they let loose, and anyone who is in the way gets it. So, we the non-fighters back away from the aggressive energy. My anger was the result of years of backing away – not challenging it because I didn’t want to make it worse for those in the firing line, didn’t want it to personally impact me, and of course, I always hoped it would change.

Now, the question is – will I challenge it this time? I have lived long enough to know that the right time to say what you want to say without anger or aggression always presents itself, so yes, I will. But I will do it with kindness and empathy because that’s what aggressive people need the most. They are desperate to be heard. The sad thing is they look for happiness outside themselves and can never find it, so punish not only themselves but all those around them. They are trapped in a negative cycle, and as much as we may want to help them, they must find their own light-bulb moments.

In the meantime, I take full responsibility for my anger; for allowing it build, for not acknowledging it, for what it created in my body, and for the energy it sent out into the Universe. I don’t intend to stack it up again, so I am healing and freeing it the only way I know how – with the Ho’oponopono Prayer.

And finally, here’s something for you to consider. How much anger do you think you’re holding onto, because I didn’t think I was holding onto any.

With love,
Inara

© Inara Hawley 2018

Do You Buy Mayonnaise?

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Do you buy mayo? Well stop it! Making your own takes just 3 minutes. Truly, only 3 minutes including getting all the ingredients out, and it’s delicious! Plus, you won’t be adding to the recycle pile of glass or plastic with an empty jar of mayo every month.

So, are you ready? Grab the oil, vinegar, eggs, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, your measuring jug, teaspoon and stick blender, plus a wide-mouthed jar… and away you go!

Avocado Mayonnaise

Mayo Ingredients - Sunday MusingsJar of Mayo - Sunday Musings

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100 mls of avocado oil
  • 100 mls of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 2-3 turns of the pepper mill

Method:

This is the fun part. Put all the ingredients into your nice clean jar and whizz for about 20-30 seconds till blended and the consistency is just right. If it’s a little thick for your liking, add some cold boiled water and whizz again till you’re happy with it. It lasts about a week in the fridge, which is just about right in our house. Sometimes I make it twice a week depending on who I’m feeding.  So, pop it into the fridge, and enjoy!

So, there it is! I use it instead of butter on bread. It’s fresh, it’s delicious, and it’s lovely with boiled eggs or a salad sandwich. And… you can experiment with different oils. How cool is that!

Happy cooking! 

© Inara Hawley 2018

What does RUOK really mean?

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I’ve been thinking about writing this for some time but didn’t know where to start because it’s about many things. Difficult times, kindness, caring, reaching out, friendship, but if I’m honest, it’s basically about giving a damn.

Not everyone lets you know they’re having a rough time. We’re all different. Not everyone asks for good thoughts and prayers. Not everyone asks for help. Not everyone complains. That doesn’t mean that their life doesn’t have its ups and downs, or that they aren’t dealing with challenges. It could mean that they’re keeping schtum because they want to stay as positive as they can; doing their best not to be at the mercy of overwhelming emotions.

These are the folks who look for the best outcome in their day. They are the ones who tell you only a tiny bit of what’s really going on because they look for the best feeling thought and choose to tell the story of their positive expectations instead. They seem so strong, don’t they? So together. So easy to be around. If they are dealing with something tough, they certainly don’t rabbit on about it. They talk about the good things instead.

And how do I know this? Because I’ve had a very difficult year. And I can only now say how hard it really was because the worst of it is over. I found it very hard to talk about because I didn’t want to drag myself down into what, for me, felt like a negative and stagnant place.

I handled it by shining as brightly as I could. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have used a kind word. That came home to me not long back when a social media friend picked up on a comment I made and sent me a private RUOK message. It was such a kind gesture that it brought tears to my eyes. My heart was full of appreciation.

So, how often in our busy lives do we reach out to those around us?  It’s a funny old world isn’t it, where the squeaky wheel always gets the attention. So, how about that friend, family member, or colleague who always has a smile on their face? Have you asked them lately how they’re doing?

There’s not a person out there who doesn’t have troubles, big or small, who doesn’t want validation or couldn’t use a kind word. My point is this ~ why not stop by and ask someone how they’re doing? Those who shine a bright light in this world would love a moment of your time.

So, go for it. Pick someone today, and ask them how they’re really doing, and then, listen. Trust me, it will not only make their day, it will make yours as well.

© Inara Hawley 2017

A Mouse, Doubt, and a Ginger Beer

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Writing Prompts: Mouse, Doubt, Beer

Frank had to book the holiday online if he wanted to be in the competition. And, he not only wanted to be in the competition, he wanted to win.

His eyes had lit up when he saw the ad on telly. It would be the best surprise ever for Marge. She had been talking about a cruise for the last twelve months. And if he won? Well, that would be the icing on the cake. All that extra spending money!

The screen in front of him came to life. Following the instructions they had been given in computer class, Frank put his hand on the mouse and clicked on the little multi-coloured circle on the desktop. He had it all there in front of him. Step by step, in pictures – how to order and pay online.

He could hear the instructor now, ‘Frank, don’t despair. It’s easy when you get the hang of it.’

But what if he didn’t have the hang of it? What if he pressed the wrong button? What if he put in the wrong details? What if he was too slow? What if he booked the wrong cruise? What if he was still in the middle of it all when Marge got home? Frank was overwhelmed with doubt and apprehension.

‘Don’t be silly,’ he told himself. ‘You can do this Frank!’ Employing his careful one-finger typing, he put in the website address. Up popped a kaleidoscope of colours, moving pictures, and even a talking video. Staring at the screen, Frank felt more confused than ever, when he heard, ‘Hey Pops, whatcha doin’?’

It was young Clare, Frank’s granddaughter, holding up her keys, ‘Pops, you didn’t hear the door!’

‘Oh Clare, pet. You don’t know how glad I am to see you.’

Before he could say easy-peasy, Clare had done it all. Would he ever get the hang of this Googling, surfing, and ordering online? He didn’t think so. But then, he knew what he had to offer was worth much more.

Clare had come to ask for his advice.

So, on this hot summer day, it was time for a refreshing homemade ginger beer and a chat.

(361 Words)

© Inara Hawley 2017

Amelia – Part 4

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Amelia’s Lucky Day

Amelia was feeling on top of the world. She was almost skipping along as she headed for work. This was her last day.

The magazine had been a great training ground, but Amelia was ready to take the leap. Her stylist business, The Barefoot Fashionista was on its way, and today, at midday she was hopefully signing up her first big client – Maggie Barker, an up and coming actress.

Amelia was ready, willing, and able, and she couldn’t wait!

She was bouncing along happily as she thought of the meeting. She was smiling at everyone she passed. As she got closer to the office, she waved to the pop-up coffee shop owners and to the sales girl from the boutique next door. She sidestepped the courier who was delivering parcels, and as she was about to walk through the front door, she noticed the camera crew further up the street. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.

Life was good and everything was going exactly as it should be. Even the sun was shining.

The morning passed uneventfully. Amelia was handing over the last bits and pieces to the new girl, recruited from fashion school. She remembered when she started and how daunting the magazine was. She looked at the clock…. 11.30 a.m. Not long to go.

They were meeting at Maggie’s flat, not too far away. It should only take 10 minutes to get there, so she had fifteen minutes up her sleeve before she had to leave. Maggie had slotted Amelia into her tight schedule so she couldn’t afford to be late. She quietly gathered together the personal portfolio she had prepared for Maggie so she could scoot out the door quickly. She hadn’t made it public knowledge that she had a meeting and didn’t want anyone asking questions. After all, she hadn’t clinched the deal yet.

Satisfied, she was giving herself a big mental tick for organisation – not always her best strength. Just as she was about to leave Amelia noticed Bev, the head secretary purposefully hurrying towards her.

“Just popping out for lunch Bev.”

“Could you spare a minute,” Bev said, as she steered Amelia towards the Board Room.

“Can’t this wait.”

“No, not today,” said Bev, as they reached the door.

Bev stepped forward, opened the door and there stood at least 20 people – all with a glass of champagne in their hand. Amelia was stunned. This was the last thing she expected. The magazine was not one of those girly friendly places. It had been all work, work, work in the five years that she had been there. Deadlines and pressure didn’t make for a chatty social environment, but here, in front of her were all the important people, and even some of her clients – all, holding their glass of bubbly.

Surrounded by happy faces, Amelia couldn’t think of a thing to say. She couldn’t run and she couldn’t stay. She needed to get to a phone and she needed to do it quickly, but the minutes ticked by as she walked around with a smile plastered on her face.

“Thank you. This is so thoughtful.”

Tick, tick, tick.

Fifteen minutes later she was in a loo cubicle with a mobile in her hand, but Maggie wasn’t answering. She heard the door to the ladies open.

“Amelia, are you in here?”

“Yep, be out in a sec.”

“The boss wants you.”

Oh geez, what now!

Andrea waved her arm as Amelia walked back into the boardroom. There was no way she could escape the boss. She would just have to keep ducking out and ringing.

Fifteen minutes later, and Maggie still wasn’t answering.

Amelia looked at the clock. 12.30, and just as she was about to make her excuses, food trollies were wheeled into the room. Oh, I give up, she thought. I will try Maggie once more, and if she doesn’t answer, I’m going to relax and enjoy this.  Maggie didn’t answer and Amelia did relax, and she enjoyed herself immensely.

Much later, after she’d tidied her desk for the last time, and was heading down the street towards home, she saw the film crew up ahead. Right in the middle was Maggie. She had seen Amelia walking towards them, and was smiling.

Maggie had been called away to her shoot much earlier than she had expected and had turned off her phone. She’d left a note on her door.

All was well.

The Barefoot Fashionista’s reputation was intact.

© Inara Hawley 2017

The Writing Exercise for this piece: 
Create a ticking clock situation for the main character who has an appointment and can’t be late.

Amelia – Part 3

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The Barefoot Fashionista

“This is going to be fabulous!”

Amelia loved her job as a stylist. Working for a magazine was a great job, but today, she was the stylist for a local fashion show. It was a charity do, but the best promotion Amelia could ever get if she was ever going to start her own business. And that’s what she wanted to do.

The air was buzzing with excitement. All the right people were in the audience.

Amelia had always had an eye for fashion. And, she knew precisely what an outfit needed – a scarf, beads, a hat or a splash of colour. That was why she was the stylist in charge of getting the models onto the runway looking exactly as they should.

One by one her girls hit the lights and did their thing. It was going like clockwork. The usual backstage chaos was humming along surprisingly smoothly. Of course, Amelia’s wardrobe assistant, Jeannie – perky, bubbly, enthusiastic little Jeannie was an absolute gem.

With hair and makeup done, it was, dress on, accessories, shoes and then out they went. The music was throbbing, the lights were flashing, and the dress rack was thinning – only three more to go, and then the finale. The show-stopper and only one model could do it – the fabulously tall Jo.

Putting the finishing touches to the last outfits, Amelia started to relax. She peered through the curtains – yes, it was going well. She was feeling more than chuffed when suddenly, a panic-stricken Jeannie rushed towards her.

“Jo isn’t here.”

“What do you mean, Jo isn’t here?”

“She’s not here yet, I haven’t seen her.”

“Jeannie, why didn’t you tell me? She needs to be here now!” Amelia could feel herself getting hot. She couldn’t afford anything to go wrong. She was depending on this show.

But the seconds were ticking and no Jo. How could Amelia not have noticed she was missing? Because Jeannie was so organised, that’s why, and Amelia depended on her to get the models into their dresses.

“I am so sorry. I was so busy, I didn’t notice.”

None of the other models fitted into the show-stopper.

“Oh God! What am I going to do?”

Be calm! Be calm! Amelia told herself. There has, to be an answer.

“Amelia, you could do it.”

“What?!!”

“You’re the same size, and you’re tall enough.”

“What?!”

“Amelia, listen to me – you can do it, you have to do it.”

“But my hair!”

“I’ll fluff it.”

“But makeup? There’s no time.”

“Just lipstick.”

“Oh, My God! There’s no time.”

“Quick, here… put it on.”

The dress slid on like magic. A glittering sheath of beauty. Oh, how wonderful it felt!

“Sit down.”

Jeannie went to work on Amelia’s hair. She ripped out the clip and let Amelia’s blond locks fall loose. Oh, yes, this will be easy. She put a loose comb through it and grabbed the hairspray.

“Bend down, let your hair fall forward,” said Jeannie, already spraying madly.

When Amelia put her head up, she couldn’t believe it. Her hair was fluffed and really, quite spectacular. She rummaged through the lipsticks. Yes, there it was. The bright red. That’s the one.

She looked at herself. Not bad. Not bad at all. Only two minutes to show time. Amelia reached for the shoes. Oh, no, no, no! They didn’t fit. Amelia’s feet were too big.

“What next!”

“Bare feet, that’s what,” declared Jeannie

Looking around wildly, Amelia’s eyes fell on a long sheer scarf. Bright red, just like her lipstick. Yes, the perfect thing to trail along the floor.

“Thank God I painted my toenails this morning!”

Red lips, red scarf, red toenails, fluffed hair – it would have to do.

She grabbed the scarf, fluffed her hair for confidence, looked down at her big feet with the fabulously painted toes and knew she was ready.

The music cued. Amelia straightened her shoulders, lifted her chin, mentally crossed her fingers and out she went.

The finale was a huge success. And ‘darling, wasn’t it just marvellous how the stylist wore the show-stopper’. Amelia’s talent was duly, noted and some even started calling her the ‘Barefoot Fashionista’.

Her business as a personal stylist had begun.

© Inara Hawley 2017

The Writing Exercise for this piece:
Create a two-level problem for your main character

Old Habits ~ New Choices

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Today I made an observation.

Recently I halved my wardrobe. I got rid of bags of clothes which were old, didn’t fit, and that I didn’t really like anymore. It felt great of course – organising one’s wardrobe always does, but you know what? I’m much better dressed now, and I love it. I’m not wearing the same old stuff out of habit anymore. I now look at my wardrobe every morning and pick something that feels really, good to wear.

And my observation is, that this experience is a great metaphor for life. If we let go of the old stuff that’s not serving us anymore and make purposeful good-feeling choices, we feel a whole lot better.

They say that old habits die hard, and that’s absolutely true if we don’t let new opportunity and choice into our lives.

So, what are you hanging onto, and what can you let go of to make room for the new? There are a wealth of new choices and opportunities out there. It is up to us – it’s our choice whether we greet our tomorrows with old habits or new choices.

© Inara Hawley 2017