Pets are therapy

Ziggy the cat, photo by Ali May, Forfar, United Kingdom, loyal friendIt is well documented that having a pet is more than just a pastime or a fancy. Pets are therapy. People who are recovering from serious illness show more of a remarkable recovery than those who don’t have a pet. Have you wondered why? One school of thought claims that when we show love to another we heal. A pet can return unconditional love and love is the emotion that heals us. How many times have we seen people melt at the sight of an animal? How many times have we seen people be cruel to their animals and yet they put up with it. Few times an animal will react viciously, but usually that’s when they become scared. Understandably, pets are therapy when they are treated well and not abused.

I have had pets since when I was a young girl
my pets are therapy to me and have
always been a part of the family
living inside with easy access to the outside
Anna, my Siamese cat lived for 17 years
and when I could not care for her she lived with
my son’s family, coming back to me when things changed
Lolita my Chihuahua, lived 16years,
very unusual for both breeds
my Burman cats had to be relocated for more room
now, Midnight, my black cat has been
with me for 4 years and is 7
he gives me so much delight as I speak to him
and he answers
his purring is like an expensive car must
sound to a car lover
he is worth his weight in gold, as they say


Dance in sunset, photo by Sara Hammarback, Stockholm, Sweden, bliss, peaceWhether recovering from addictions, emotional and physical burnout or any other disorder, one of the more effective tools for healing is meditation. Meditation can accompany many different activities such as sitting still and meditating, or yoga meditation, dance meditation, music meditation, chanting meditation, art meditation (drawing, painting, sketching) and even work meditation. Whatever places us in a quiet space where we do not think, in other words we clear our minds of the chatter and busy thoughts. This process centers and grounds us so that we are able to think clearly and take care of our own needs better. Search for whatever takes you into that meditative state and you will know bliss.

I had known of the benefit of meditation
for our wellbeing but whenever
I tried to meditate I would either
fall asleep or do ‘head miles’ about
whatever came into my mind
then one day I stumbled across
fine point abstract sketching and
I discovered the bliss of meditation
1,000 sketches later I still enjoy
the process of my mind hooked in
to every stroke I make whilst
thinking of absolutely nothing and
feeling the amazing thrill of that
state of bliss from being without
any thoughts whatsoever
in that moment in time

Dance in sunset, photo by Sara Hammarback, Stockholm, Sweden, bliss, peace

Double standards

Angela commented on my post on infidelity

“Others yet believe that infidelity is OK for them. They will justify and rationalise it and will be willing to murder (literally and metaphorically) their partner if the latter dares do the same. What sort of people are these? And to add insult to injury they will moralise and talk about values in public!”

Angela, it is one thing to have infidelity as a mutual relationship choice and another to behave in the dysfunctional manner which you describe. To even consider murdering for any reason is indicative of a person’s mental instability.

Furthermore, those people who practise infidelity and expect their partner to be monogamous have double standards. That is definitely not the concept I was describing as part of an open marriage. Not very many people have the emotional maturity to live in a truly open marriage without double standards and that is why the majority of couples choose to place fidelity as the foundation of their relationship.

Lovers, photo by sundar Chinnusamy, Erode, India, unconditional loveAgain whether they succeed in having a monogamous relationship or an open one, it depends on their emotional maturity and commitment to the choice they have made.

I’ll be happy when…

Pot of gold 2, photo by Kim Beardsmore, Kellyville, Australia, wishes, dreamsHow many times have we said “I’ll be happy when…” and we give numerous reasons such as after the lottery win, after the weight loss, after the dream job and so on? The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow holds the promise of bliss. Even if that happens, and it has sometimes, we don’t know what to do with ourselves – there’s delayed shock to overcome before we can enjoy the prize. Nevertheless, for some of us we still can’t cope with the fact that something good has actually happened. Stop wishing for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and become proactive about your happiness.

as he shared his ideas about how they
could overcome their financial difficulties
I turned to her expecting to see relief in her face
but instead she looked as though
someone had just died
“what?!” I asked
she said that until it happens
the worry will still plague her
when she realised she was doing the
“I’ll be happy when…” routine
the insight set her free of negativity
and she could enjoy the moment

Pot of gold 2, photo by Kim Beardsmore, Kellyville, Australia, wishes, dreams

Wedding Ceremony Checklist

  • Decide on the type of wedding – religious or civil Breathtaking shot of single calla, photo taken by Lars Jensen, Shibuya, Japan, wedding plan
  • Civil: contact a celebrant no later than 1 month and 1 day before the wedding date
  • With the celebrant of your choice complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form
  • Together with the celebrant plan the type of ceremony you want
  • Choose the wedding vows which will be used – could be just the legal words or more
  • Choose the venue for the ceremony
  • Choose the wedding party (best man, bridesmaids, grooms men, witnesses (2)
  • Decide on and order the outfits to be worn by the bride, groom and wedding party
  • Music to be played – can be a musician friend playing a musical instrument
  • Decide on who will do a reading – this can have meaning
  • Arrange catering and the wedding cake
  • Ensure that the wedding ring or rings are ordered
  • Order the flowers
  • Choose at which shop to have a wedding register for people to purchase your gifts
  • Send out wedding invitations at least 8 weeks before the wedding, allowing for RSVPs
  • Arrange for the photography and filming of the wedding
  • Arrange transport for the bridal party and for those who do not have cars
  • Remember to purchase small gifts for the bridal party
  • Consider mementos to be given to the guests – may be sugar coated almonds in hankies
  • Choose where you will spend the honeymoon and make arrangements for this
  • Purchase going away outfits for after the reception, and for the honeymoon

Cutural differences

Love 1, photo by Sara Hammarback, Stockholm, Sweden, loving relationshipCultural differences can sometimes be too daunting in a relationship. This is because there are such varying norms between one culture and another that it takes a lifetime to be oriented to them. In one culture offspring are expected to leave home as soon as possible after the age of 16 years so as to learn about living skills. Yet in another culture it is considered irresponsible for parents to not keep their children in the safety of the their home until they are old enough and ready to set up a home of their own with a partner. These differences can sometimes be impossible to overcome in a relationship whilst other times they enhance a couple’s outlook on life. It all depends on what a couple wishes to get out of life.

they came to see me because
their families were against their union
claiming that the cultural differences not only
would cause problems in their lives but also bring
despair to their children once they were born
this really worried them but they were in love
and had lived happily together for some time
without any difficulty
they had close friends and
were successful in their careers,
talking about it with a professional
made it clearer for them that
the life they already had would be
a good foundation for bringing
their children into the world and
providing them with a
healthy and happy lifestyle

Love 1, photo by Sara Hammarback, Stockholm, Sweden, loving relationship


Lucky Balls, photo by Steve Woods, Colchester, United Kingdom, win-winSome people are delighted about buying lottery or lotto tickets because it gives them hope. Other people are opposed to this because they believe that buying lotteries is a waste of time and money, as the odds are against winning. Yet people do win against all odds. For a small fee a person buys the anticipation of a dream come true. When this is within reason as far as cost and emotional investment, then it is a form of lifting one’s spirits momentarily. People need to stay in tune with the impact this activity has on them. Making sure that they do not spend amounts of money they cannot afford and that it does not result in feelings of excessive frustration but rather fun and delight.

buying a $2 lottery puts a smile on my face
even better – subscribing to charity lotteries
not only gives me a lift in spirits but also
importantly provides support to people
who benefit from our donations
a win-win activity
as I participate my thoughts go to
the people who are helped by the small
amount of money it costs me and
the huge benefit I have from dreaming
how I would spend the winnings!
I also remember the elderly couple
I know who did win a million
when they were at their worst
that wonderful story
also brightens my decision
to buy a ticket!

Deprivation versus indulgence

Chocolate truffles, photo by hartini a, Hiland, United States, stress, treatsWhen a person is in the clutches of addiction they experience feelings of deprivation versus indulgence. In other words they are torn between abstaining from the drug of choice to giving into what they crave. Often this is due to experiences in their childhood where they perceived their parents to be at times too strict and then quite the opposite when they were generous. Such inconsistent behaviour is damaging to young children. A person then becomes confused about their self parenting skills and they too swing from one extreme to another. Until they find recovery, when they discover how to have serenity. Then developing a healthy relationship with self is the final outcome.

I struggled and struggled with my food cravings
and feelings of deprivation versus indulgence
attending self help programs and therapy
and participating in countless
personal development courses
I moaned and groaned about
my predicament as I explored my childhood
as well as being examined for biological reasons
no easy answer while I was in denial about
my willingness to resolve the issue
then one day after much dedication and
sitting with painful feelings
instead of suppressing them
I befriended my demons and
developed the relationship with self
now I feel free of cravings and deprivation
and food is just for nutrition not comfort

Basic wedding format

Wedding1, photo by Marcos Santos, Tatui, Brazil, marriage plansWeddings, whether formal or not, have a certain essential format. First, the couple need to find a celebrant and make a Notice of Intended Marriage at least 1 month and 1 day before the wedding date. If it is a religious ceremony then a church is the appropriate place. However, if a religious ceremony is not desired then a civil marriage celebrant who is appointed by the Attorney General’s Department is the appropriate person to conduct their wedding. At this initial meeting the wedding vows are considered.

Second, the couple chooses the venue and the type of ceremony required – this can be with some help from the celebrant. For the more detailed arrangements a wedding planner is ideal if the couple can afford it, otherwise, many people have managed without one.

Next to be considered is how many attendants and the outfits and flowers preferred for the bridal party – usually the bride’s choice in consultation with the groom. Sometimes small gifts are offered to the attendants for their participation. At some weddings each guest is given a memento of the occasion such as sugar coated almonds in a hanky, or a fresh flower.

The next decision is whether there will be a reception and where? Also the catering requirements such as a wedding cake – depending on the budget set. Flowers and decorations come into this category as well as entertainment. Sometimes close friends can provide entertainment or carry out readings for the ceremony which can be quite artistic. Usually, a photographer to take the stills or film the celebration can be a friend or a professional can be hired.

Here you have a basic format which can be added to or changed for individual preferences, and which is also an enjoyable process for the bride and groom.

Wedding 1, photo by Marcos Santos, Tatui, Brazil, getting married

Living skills

Globe, photo by Elvis Santana, Hialeah, United States, enlightenment, developmentThroughout the world people are faced with everyday dramas. What helps everyone get fulfilment in their lives regardless of these dramas is their living skills. Living skills or life strategies are learned behaviours we use to overcome life’s obstacles. When people are able to recognise their own feelings as assets and not fear them, which means they befriend their demons, then they are using life strategies. Having purpose and direction motivates us into living fuller lives and that too is using life strategies. These abilities are innate, that is, such living skills come naturally but because of life’s ravages we need to purposefully set aside time to consciously refresh these skills. This needs to be done in a safe environment with a qualified facilitator – a Life Strategies Workshop.

he told me that he did not want to
go with her to a life strategies workshop
because he thought only losers needed that
I asked him if he felt the same about using
the services of a doctor, accountant or lawyer?
he admitted that he did not and with this
he realised that going to a workshop where
a professional would facilitate the process
of refreshing his living skills to manage life efficiently
was indeed no different to turning to any other
professional resource person
this insight meant that he got full benefit
from the life strategies workshop

Globe, photo by Elvis Santana, Hialeah, United States, elightenment, development