Posted in CAT'S LIFE

How I Stopped a Predator from Grooming my 16yr old Son.

We have all heard of internet predators, paedophiles and people who rope children into criminal activity and people who use youngsters for their intellectual property and then profit from it.  But what if you found out that your teenager was having a friendship with an adult via the internet and in person? What if that friendship was kept secret from you and they were communicating behind your back via email and Skype?  What if that adult was in his 40’s and your son or daughter was in their mid teens,say 16? What if you found out that this adult had set up a meeting with your child and you knew where they were going to be and at what time?  This is what happened to my child and I recently and I felt the need to share how I dealt with it and how I managed to get a positive outcome.

My son, ‘Scott’ (name changed for his privacy), had a job selling fruit at a market stall in the city.  He’s a friendly fellow, tall and lean with a handsome face and a curious disposition.  About 6 weeks ago, a man (an American) approached him at work and struck up a conversation.  During that chat he found out that ‘Scott’ likes video games and is interested in writing stories and concepts for gaming. He would have also realised that ‘Scott’ is still a bit immature in his thinking and I would assume that he told this man about his life, his circumstances and his family.  Just from this initial conversation this man was able to sum up that this boy was vulnerable and a target.  He then availed himself to the boy, claiming that he could help him formulate his video game ideas and he’d edit his stories and give him some templates to start creating his games.  In return, ‘Scott’ would be helping him to understand his own children better, as they are gamers too.

So for around 4 weeks they talked over Skype and email and in person behind my back.  This man encouraged ‘Scott’ to keep their friendship a secret and he began to ring ‘Scott’ via Skype at 4am, claiming that he was already up gaming with his children who live in Chicago (the creepy man and my family all live in Brisbane, Australia). But this man was counting on ‘Scott’ being able to keep a secret and when ‘Scott’ is excited about something, he can’t keep his mouth shut! So he began to tell his grandmother about his new fantastic friend and how they talk and he shares his stories with him and he’s such a great guy, but he can’t tell his mum because he can’t trust her, she just wants to control and ruin his life….

Being the wise woman she is, my mother began to txt me about this friendship and I instantly saw it as inappropriate and headed towards my child experiencing a disaster.

So how did I deal with it?  Well the first thing I did was to look at all the facts.  Once I had done that I rang the police. I took down the name of the policeman I spoke with for my records and they advised that they didn’t have the man hours to hunt this guy down, so I had to do some detective work.  My mother and I spoke at length over the phone and it was decided that that weekend, she would take the trip into the city and accompany ‘Scott’ home from work.  Thus ensuring he didn’t go off with the creepy man.  I had originally planned on going in myself but as he was confiding in my mum at the time, we thought it best to keep that going so as  we could learn more about the man and wait for a firm meeting between the man and my son to be set up.

In the meantime, I began to search the net for any advice I could find about how to rid your child of an inappropriate friendship with an adult.  Mostly I found forums with parents all agreeing that it is not on, but there was no check list on what to do if it happens to someone you love.  I did, however, find check lists about paedophile grooming behaviour and the man fit the bill.  Even more alarmed now, I decided to remain calm and to stay centred.  This way I could keep being objective.

The next Friday my mum txted me saying that the man had set up a meeting with ‘Scott’ for Sunday during my son’s lunch break.  I decided I would now be the one to go into the markets and confront this man.  The morning of the confrontation, I was resolute.  As I drove in I felt completely separate from my emotions, in fact I honestly feel that I left my emotions at home when I drove off.  I just had steely determination in my heart and mind.  During the drive, I went over what I was going to say, being well rehearsed payed off.

When I got there, I saw where they were sitting together and I found a spot to take photographs of the man.  I took several.  Then I decided to just go up and say hello.  ‘Scott’ was genuinely pleased to see me, but funilly enough, his body language expressed relief.  He introduced me to his friend and we exchanged pleasantries.  Once that was over I looked him straight in the eyes and said ‘you must be older than me, what are you doing spending your Sunday afternoon hanging out with a 16yr old?’  He was a gasp and taken off guard.  He told me I was being too up front and I said I preferred to expose the ‘elephant in the room’ and get right to the point of why I was there.  He then tried to de-base me by talking about me being ‘in fear’.  To this I just stared at him, again right in the eyes, until he stopped.  When this tactic didn’t work he proposed that I give the word and he’d shut down his friendship with ‘Scott’ right there and then.  Now, this is when you are saying ‘yes! that’s the outcome you want, say yes!’ – well that’s not the answer I chose.  You see, I remember very clearly being a 16 year old, head strong kid.  I knew that if I told them to break it off, ‘Scott’ would take the friendship underground and they would go behind my back.  That stunk like a doomed strategy, so I instead demanded full transparency and I took the man’s phone number, full name, email address and place of work.  I told them I was to be included in all communications from now on and they were not to meet without my permission.  I then looked my son in the eyes and told him that I was there to be a guide in his life.  To protect him and to help him make good decisions.  The man did ask me about what I do, and I told him.  He could research that anyway, I was not going to reveal any private information about me to him.

My mother had told me that the creepy man was trying to get my boy to sign a contract for his gaming work and to form some kind of company with him to sell the end gaming products.  I asked ‘Scott’ about this and the creepy man chimed in and said that he wasn’t so worried about the money side of it just yet and was just trying to get ‘Scott’ to develop his ideas better.  Then to my alarm ‘Scott’ announced that the creepy man had convinced him to move to the USA to sell his ideas there, as there is a bigger market.  None of this is legal for a 16yr old to do in Australia.  There is no way I’m letting my son move to a foreign country on a whim with that stranger to sell his ideas! I remained steely silent and unresponsive to this though, as this strategy was proving to be more and more disarming to the creepy man.

As mentioned, the creepy man was an American, so I made sure that I told him I have several USA connections and proved so, when I opened up my phone and found a missed call from someone in New York City. Funnily enough, this gave me more control in the situation. Me having connections in his own country some how made me more evenly matched with him, he couldn’t posture himself as being better in some way.  I also noted that he was unusually dressed.  He wore a long sleeved blue collared work shirt with pastel coloured chequered shorts and a cap. It was like golf meets work! Later on I asked an American friend if Yankee guys in their 40’s  dresses like that, he said no and agreed it was a weird way to dress.  Certainly guys in their 40’s here in Oz don’t ever dress this way, it’s always t-shirts or polo shirts and shorts or jeans.  Even the most slovenly don’t dress this way.

Once I was satisfied with my confrontation results I left the table and moved off to a market stall within sight of them.  I didn’t leave until I knew he was gone and my son was safely back at work.  I told ‘Scott’ he had to txt me when he got back to his grandma’s that night.  ‘Scott’ was excited that I had met his friend, he thought I might like him and that we’d get along.  But I told ‘Scott’ that my concern was that the man’s intentions were evil.

The scenarios that I was most concerned about were:

a. The man drugs and rapes my son and possibly kills him

b. The man uses my son’s juvenile status and ropes him into crime.  As he is under 17, my son would be tried as a juvenile if caught.

c.  The man uses my son for his intellectual property and profits from my son innocently exchanging ideas with him. (best case scenario)

To drive home my reason for concern, I chose to only air concern A to my son.  I said that the man’s intentions were possibly to drug and rape him.  ‘Scott’s’ eyes widened.  He hadn’t thought of that.  I told ‘Scott’ he is not to meet the man at night, not to get in his car, only to meet during the day in public places and not without my permission and never ever to go to the creepy man’s house. I told my son that this was an inappropriate friendship and I was not happy about it.  But I did not at any time, word my concerns so as to alienate my child.  I made sure I came across as being on his side and as understanding about his need to have this friend. I chose not to berate him about the secrecy of the friendship.   I didn’t want to get my son off side, that was the last thing I needed.

With the confrontation complete and vital information about the man gained, I set about trying to find him on the internet.  I came up with plenty of men with his name, but not one who fit his photo or work place.  As I said, I researched about how to end the friendship, but came up with nothing there either.  So I chose to look to my community for support.  A friend’s mother, who was also a high school teacher was the first person I thought to approach.  Having only recently retired, I knew she would have been across the dangers to teenagers in today’s society and she may be able to point me to an organisation who could help.  Instead she put me onto my old high school principal, who is still active in the education system and after hearing my story he gave me the website for http://www.bravehearts.org.au (a child advocacy group) and recommended I speak with one of their councillors. I said I thought it would be good to seek out a gamers development social club for my boy, I needed to find an alternative to the ‘help’ the creepy man was giving.  The principal mentioned he has a son who is working in the gaming industry and he then organised two of his son’s friends who are also in the industry, to agree to mentor my son.  Thus making the creepy man’s ‘help’ towards my son’s aspirations redundant.

With this happening in the background, I began to receive emails between my son and the man, ‘Scott’ had CC’d me into their conversations. It was the week following the confrontation and the creepy man was suddenly off to Melbourne and would not be able to communicate with ‘Scott’ for a week.  Those emails were through Google Gmail and so, that meant the man had a G+ account. I checked it out and found that his account fit the same style as the romantic scammers’ accounts I had seen time and again on Facebook.  4 profile shots only, nothing in the ‘about’ page and random pictures of places in Australia, around 5 or 6 of them, on his wall.  That was it. You’d think that a man living in a country foreign to his birth would have nostalgic pics of his home and family up there. Not one and the pics he did have did not ever feature him in them.  Very very dodgy.  It is also worth mentioning that ‘Scott’ told me that after the confrontation, the creepy man said that I had intimidated him.  He claimed to have felt intimidated by all women because his ex-wife apparently used to beat him up.  This is classic predator behaviour, posturing himself as the victim in order to take the heat off of him and shine it right back on me.  It didn’t work, I told ‘Scott’ “Good, he should be intimidated by me!”

With all this going on, it is safe to say that I was getting nervous about the coming of the next weekend.  I was worried that the creepy man may have tried to arrange a meeting with ‘Scott’ behind my back, so I set about organising a way to keep that from happening.  I tied up ‘Scott’s’ weekend with family time and gaming with his brother.  I made sure that he was not ever left alone.

10 days after I orchestrated the confrontation, armed with all my research about this man, his supposed place of work and with the community help I had achieved, I spoke with ‘Scott’ about the man.  I pointed out that he was not employed in the gaming industry and that he was not a student of it either.  Knowing that teenagers are by nature self serving, I then asked my son if he would like to be mentored by a real gaming professional.  Of course he would!  Yes please mum!  So I told him about my old high school principal and his son’s friends.  But, I had not given my principal the go ahead yet.  Instead I used it as leverage.  I asked ‘Scott’ to agree to drop the creepy man in favour of the new real mentors.  He agreed to give up the friendship!!!

The following Friday, ‘Scott’ met with my old principal to talk about his hopes and dreams, ideas and the mentorship on offer. The Principal set the up the boundaries clearly for my boy and gave him his time and understanding, seeing before him a lad who wants to achieve, but who has some social challenges and is vulnerable.  In time, the mentors will be brought into the picture and we will all meet and move forward. There is just one more thing that has to be done to complete the circle, ‘Scott’ must write to the creepy man and officially end his friendship.  I must see that email and the creepy man’s reply.  I have thought about this and I will instruct ‘Scott’ to ring me as soon as he sees the reply and we will talk about his feeling around it and what to do.  I expect my boy will feel an energy pull to the man and this is what he will be counting on.  This is when ‘Scott’ must delete the account and move on.  The strong thing to do will to leave it at that and say nothing more to the creepy man. Luckily, the job selling fruit in the market has finished up for my boy, as the stall was running at a loss, so there is no concern about the creepy man going to find my boy at work.  It will then be unlikely that they will ever meet again….. But, I must be clear, that I have to remain realistic, that my son may still choose to keep the friendship with the creepy man going behind my back.  I still have to stay on guard, I cannot fully trust that he is still not under the creepy man’s spell.  Vigilance is key.

So to sum it up here is what I did:

  • I remained calm and sought out all the facts.
  • I rang the police with the information I had as soon as I was able to after I was made aware of the problem.  I took the name of the police officer down for my records.
  • I spoke to my son’s confidant in this matter (my mother) and made a short term plan in how to deal with the issue and keep him safe. We agreed to keep the information trickling in until there was a clear time and date set to act.
  • I researched all I could about this kind of person and sought out forums for advice.
  • I spoke to my parents and took on their advice, thus also keeping the elders of the family informed.  Having their support gave me a great sense of security in myself. (I too needed someone bigger, stronger, wiser and kinder.)
  • I looked to my community for advice and in doing so, I found a person willing to help.
  • I thought about what my child’s real motives were for this friendship and then I asked for help in finding a way to full-fill this need in a safer and better way.
  • Once I knew about a firm time and date for the next meeting of the creepy man and my son, I set my plan into motion.
  • I chose to stand in my power and to step aside from my emotions during the confrontation.  On the way to the confrontation I ran through what I was going to say to the creepy man a thousand times.  This made it very easy to say what I had to say and to come across as a strong and righteous parent.
  • I looked the creepy man in the eyes at all times and chose to never give him any personal information about me.
  • I told my son, in front of the creepy man that I was there to guide him and to help him make good decisions and to be safe, thus defusing any lies the creepy man had been feeding my son about me being the opposite.
  • I did not leave my son until the creepy man was gone and I was frank and forthright about my concerns with my son’s friendship.
  • I chose to air my concern to my son with the most shocking scenario, thus filling his mind with the full weight of the situation.
  • I continued to do more research on the company the creepy man claimed to work for and his social media presence.
  • I used the opportunity of a viable alternative to the creepy man as leverage to have my son drop him.  Thus creating a situation where my son chose to end the relationship himself and not me forcing it to end which could have led to the friendship going underground.
  • I followed through on the alternative mentors by arranging a meeting for my son to attend in order to set the mentoring up.
  • I asked for proof of the friendship being disbanded and will support my son through this.
  •  I have chosen to remain vigilant about this creepy man’s presence in my son’s life and to teach him about dodgy social media profiles and the typical grooming behaviour of paedophiles.

I feel it is worth a mention that in the process of researching what to do, I also contacted the local child youth mental health services, my local member of parliament and the department of child safety.  This way the authorities were well aware of the friendship, should a negative situation arise.  Also, to my relief, ‘Scott’ began to listen to me about the creepy man not being who he claims he is, and he made an attempt at researching the creepy man himself.  In this case, planting a seed of doubt in my child’s mind about the creepy man was a healthy thing to do.

Predators are a minority in the population, but they do still exist.  This means that all teens are at risk of being groomed by one.  If you notice your child suddenly becoming secretive and broody, doing or saying anything unusual or talking on Skype at unusual times, sound the alarms and seek answers and look into it further.  I’m glad I did and with the help of my family and my community, we have saved my boy from becoming a victim and scarred for life.

Being a parent is in some ways like having a profession, and as such you need to have on going professional development.  Do your family a favour and research the typical behaviours of a child who is being groomed and the behaviours of the groomer.  Knowledge is power.  You will then know what to look for.  Teenagers may become more independent, but they still need to have the love, guidance and support of their family as they learn to stretch their wings and fly.

I hope this blog post will help someone else, please share it around and get the conversation going.  This was not a typical on-line paedophile case.  This was a case of in-person and on-line grooming.  Each case is unique, but the outcome if not dealt with is horrifying.  For the love of our children, for the love of family, let the good people of the world work together and make a stand.

Post Script:  As I have been thinking over the intensity of those couple of weeks, I realised I forgot to mention another vital part of the community that I also spoke to about my son.  I contacted his employers.  My boy had a paid job selling fruit and a volunteer job.  I spoke with both of these employers about ‘Scott’.  The paid job employer I handled a little differently to the volunteer employer, mainly because I had an established relationship with her.  She was able to get my boy to open up to her about the creepy man and she was a vital support.  As for the other employer, I simply established a line of contact with him and told him that my boy had a few social skills challenges and he needed to be watched over a bit closer than he maybe was.  I did not want to go too deeply with this guy as I respected my son’s professional relationship with him.

As for the friendship, I am pleased to announce that my boy sent the creepy man an email stating that he no longer wanted any contact with him.  It is also important to note that ‘Scott’ only ever received one email from the creepy man after the confrontation and that was to say that he was headed to Melbourne.  ‘Scott’ has not heard from or seen him since.  Speaks a thousand words, doesn’t it?  I shudder to think about the intentions of this guy and I’m so pleased we can now put it behind us.

I saw on the news yesterday that because of the previous Newman Govt’s focus on Bikies, paedophile rings have been able to run rampant in Queensland.  Be vigilant and know that the new Govt is re-routing police.  But it all takes time and we as parents need to be our children’s police in the meantime.

The names of the people involved in this article have been changed to protect their privacy and so I don’t get sued for slander.

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Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE, spiritual

Thoughts on Spiritual Experiences

Most of you who are reading this, would have had at least one spiritual experience in your lifetime. But for those of you who havn’t had one, I feel promted to talk about it.  Spirituality is a reality,  for human beings.  Science is beginning to catch up to knowledge that many philosophers and spiritual masters have long known for a long, long time, and  it is just now that science has the technology to prove it.  So I think it would be safe to say that there are many atheistic scientist out there,  having spiritual experinces right now and they are not even awear of it.

Spiritual energy is a very subtle vibration, it is the energy in the space between atoms and nucleases and protons.  It is the most potent of all the energy in the Universe, yet it is the least visible to the human eye.  However, it is also very, very percievable to the human animal.  I call us animals here, because at our most primative level, we are hard wired to see, hear and feel spiritual energy.  We get instincts, we get bristles on the backs of our necks, we just know something and have to act.  This is all a transference of spiritual energy.

Quantum physics is now beginning to understand this and of course many of you would have seen the DVD seriese that started with ‘What the Bleep Do We Know’ which came out around the same time as ‘The Secret’.

So spiritual energy is easily transfered to us and within us, but how do we know it?  Well as you know, we are the ghost that drives the machine.  We are a spiritual being in a physical body.  The scientists can measure the activity of the brain. But they cannot find the mind. Yet it exists.  It exists within a body, within a body, within a body, within a body.   Homeopathy teaches us that we have four bodies, the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body and the spiritual body.  The mind is held in part, within each of these bodies.

So, back to a spiritual experience.  The most obvious to talk about would be the sighting of a ghost.  How many of you have seen one?  It’s a chilling thing.  We normally expect to see people in physical, not energetic form!

Parapsychology famously discribes being in the presence of a ghost as feeling a cold chill in the air.  And sometimes that is the case, but I have found not always.  Ghosts don’t care about the temperature. They want is energy. They are hungry for it.   When you see one, you may see a cloud of white or dark energy, or you may see a blob or an orb of differnt coloured energy.  Some orbs are good, some are not.  You may see an apparition or a see through person, (like a film negative), or you may not see anything at all.  Sometimes, you will feel someone looking at you, or one time I was at a friend’s place and suddenly I felt a male energy lean across the table and breath a gahstly breath in my face.   Another time, I just heard a loud and clear physical voice.    Ghosts are more often seen, heard or in my case smelt, because there are lots of them hanging around.  This kind of spiritual experince, is often what sends someone looking for more answers.

When you see your guide or an angelic being, however, you may feel frightened at first, but you very quickly beign to feel exhilarated.  They will uplift you and fill you with wonder.

I set out writting this comment with the intentions of dicribing a spiritual experince and as I’ve writen it, I’ve realised that having a spiritual experience is like tasting chocolate.  Another person can tell you it tastes nice, but they cannot discribe to you, how it will taste for you, only you can experience that.  Food science  can  prove the differnt scented notes in the chocolate, but the flavour and smell can not be tranfered into your mouth via words. So too, you must experience a spiritual encounter for yourself, in order for you to gain a full understanding.

Spiritual experinces are varied from scarey and horrid to exhillarating and amazing.  Your own life philosophy will dictate to you how you deal with it.   Odds on, in this day and age, you will have a spiritual experince or you will generate spiritual energy via meditation or thought transference. Remember to keep the knowledge,  that as the alive one,  you are in control, you have the power. Spirituality is not to be messed with.  So chose to move within the spiritual realm wisely.

Much Love

Cat Edwards

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

Persuasive Charity

Yesterday (28.05.12) I received a package in the mail from a charity.  Now like most people in the western world, I get bombarded by charities a lot.  I have chosen one charity to support at this time, because it makes sense to me to support them, but also, because I have  a budget.  Last Christmas I had desperate charities sending me blank Xmas cards  to use and then billing me for them, even though I hadn’t ordered the cards; I have charities ringing me up, being very firm,  in a polite way, pushing me for money and being consistently demanding.  Even the charity I do support has been asking me to commit to more money in donations.  All of this pushiness has made me feel a bit annoyed.  Like most people, I care about the recipients of my donation, that is why I do it.  However, I do not care for the at times begging  and soliciting behaviour  that some charities are conducting.  We are all hurting.  I know that in Australia, on paper there are lots of wealthy people and we got through the GFC with a big tick, but we have a massive cost of living.  For people earning 100 thousand dollars a year, who have a family, it is hard to get by, because the cost of living is so high.

Now this package I received had a Koala toy in it and some paper work along, with a bill, so I immediately thought they were soliciting money out of me and I felt outraged.  By yesterday I was all charitied out  and I was not going to have this anymore.  I told them so, too, on their Facebook page.

Well,  late last night, after a business meeting, my partner and I got home and I showed him this solicitous package.  He said, ‘Oh great it came!’ ‘I was supposed to intercept it though and give it to you myself.  I donated to them as a gift to you and this bear and certificate are yours. ‘  Well how much of a big old mean dumb bum did I feel?!!!  I made a complete ass of myself, because of the feelings I was harbouring about the behaviour of other charities.  This was a legitimate package, from a legitimate organisation.

I have aspirations myself of starting a charity, but with an eco-business funding it.  I care about the people and the animals that the donations go to, in charities everywhere.  However, the behaviour of some of those who wish to help others in need, in my opinion, needs to be reviewed, because it taints the minds of people who would genuinely be their greatest supporters.  I am not a perfect person, yesterday was proof of that.  My lovely man donated on my behalf as a gesture of love.   Last night  I took that toy koala and cuddled it in bed , because it was the right thing to do, for my partner’s sake.

How do you feel about the behaviour of charities and if you are a regular donor, who do you donate to and why?

Much Love

Cat Edwards

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

The Artisans Have It!

 

Image thanks to virtualtourist.com

Do you ever visit or live in a town with a big artisan population?  I love going to these towns. Just recently, my family and I went up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to celebrate my mother’s birthday . We ate some cheese at a boutique cheese factory and enjoyed the views to the ocean from the veranda of the old Mapleton Pub.

The thing that strikes me about artisans is the love they put into their work.  I think it would be a rare artisan who is not in love with their craft.  As we all know, love is so very important in daily life, the expression of love into objects always translates into beauty.  Mother Earth gives us this all the time, with the simplest gifts of flowers and birds, butterflies and beetles.  But humans are also capable of creating love in beauty.

Artisans can teach us so much about working with love. The appreciation for the time they put into their work is unavoidable.  Take a stained glass lamp for example.  The artisan will have stained the glass and sketched a plan, they would have soldered it all together and wired it up.  Time, and love and thought goes into every piece.

How many of you find that this same process goes into your job?  Most of us hate our work and we are only there because it pays the bills.  But what if we were to change our view for just a moment?  What if we were bored out of our brains with our job, but we were to make doing the job a game?  What if we disliked our colleagues, but we were good at our job; couldn’t we play nice and feel the freedom of not being caught up in the office politics?  By putting a little love into our working lives, we too could be like the artisans and find the quality in our work.  You always have a choice and it is your choice to stay in a job that is creating a negative issue in your life.  It is simple to say, ‘no more, I am looking for a new job’. Or, ‘I am going to find out how to learn more, to get into another industry or to climb the corporate ladder’… Or ‘I am going to feel the heart in this job, so I can at least enjoy it while I am here’.

We all have to work, even those who stay at home have to work.  No one gets out of it.  For some of my day I do paid work and for some of my day, I do home duties.  This is because I have kids.  I have to be there for them.  It means I have two jobs.  I am rarely off my feet watching the TV.  Sometimes I hate cooking again or doing the washing again.  But I have chosen to put as much love into the mundane tasks in my day, as the tasks I enjoy.  I love my job, so I put allot of love into that.  I love my family so I put allot of love into the jobs that support them.

Learn from the artisans, work like you love it and love will reward you with beauty. Whatever beauty,  is for you.  Make choices about your work, that suit you and be brave enough to change your attitude to your work.  So as you can begin to love it, until it ends.

I’ll finish this spiritual comment with a quote from my ‘inspirational messages of love cards’

‘Before enlightenment – feed people and wash dishes, after enlightenment – feed people and wash dishes.

The mundane does not have to be dreary, if you put a little love into it.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS

Who is your Mother?

Today (the 8th of may) is my beautiful Mother’s 70th birthday and every 7 years, as the calender goes, my Mother’s birthday also falls on Mothers day.  So I thought I’d use this comment to celebrate my Mother and Mothers around the world.

We can all say what a good Mother does, but when we look at our own Mothers, I wonder how often we think about who they are?

My Mother has a name, she is named after her Aunt, but that is not who she is.  Who she is, is a good, kind generous person, who has a practical nature and a sharp and intelligent mind.  She is someone who will help a friend and a stranger, if they are in need, she is someone who loves craft and music and who bakes a mean lasagna.  She is a person who likes to travel and explore, who has fun because she got lost, and has fun finding her way back.

She is all these things, but what does she do in the world?

Well my Mum is a triple certificated Registered Nurse and Midwife.  She helped thousands of women become Mothers over her 40 year career in the UK and here in Australia.  She has delivered thousands of babies and nurtured thousands of new borns in the  humidy cribs, too sick to stay with their Mothers in the first fragile days of life.  She has educated Indigenous People about health matters and travelled to remote townships to live with them, when she taught them this vital work.  She has vaccinated thousands of children, saving their lives from the tyranny of disease.

So I know who she is and what she did, but how does she now spend her days?  Well now she is retired, she spends her days creating amazing quilts and items of clothing, by sewing and knitting.  She sells them and she gives them away.  Each piece gives her so much pleasure that she is always planning ahead to the next.  When she is not doing this, she is making music on her Piano or her Guitar.  She sometimes watches Agatha Christie murder mysteries on the TV while she sews and she loves to watch Shakespearian plays and Opera.

But when is she happiest?

I think she is happiest when she is with the people who love her most.  When she is with her family.  When she is with the people she feels most at ease with, her people.  The ones who love her back unconditionally.  She is happy when she is with her friends; she has a group of friends all who graduated Nursing at the same time, still all alive and living near each other.  These women have seen each other through life’s triumphs and tragedies and yet, they remain close and supportive of each other as they have come to the retirement years of their lives.

And so why am I telling you this?  Because I took the time to get to know my Mother.  To learn that she is not a 1 dimensional person.   She is my Mum, the one I think of when I am in distress and the one I think to call on to tell my good news to first.  She is the one person who I feel I can hold onto no matter what, she is my soft place to fall.  But she is not just that.  She didn’t just raise  my brothers and I, she also had a career and friends and interests.  She continued to learn and gain Degrees and Certifications long into her 50’s.

Sometimes it’s easy to categorise a person, in what they do for us, and to see little of whom they are apart from that.  This Mothers Day, I hope that you can see your Mother for all of her self and no matter what your relationship may be with her at this time in your lives, be grateful that she gave you the gift of life.  For the greatest gift we children can give to our Mothers, is to use the life we have been given, well and to make them proud.  For Motherhood is full of self-sacrifice for the sake of seeing your child live and thrive.  Make that sacrifice count.

I love you Mum, happy birthday.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CONCEIT!

As a spiritual person, do you ever come across conceited attitudes from others, who think that they are somehow better than you, because they don’t subscribe to your beliefs?
In the past I have often experience this attitude, although it used to really bother me at first, these days I find it to be quite amusing.
Should you ever meet me and you didn’t know what I do, then I would not be going out of my way to tell you. Simply because I don’t like to display who I am and what I do on my sleeve. I keep myself to myself and allow this part of who I am to be slowly revealed over time. It is at that time, that I find out if I’m dealing with a person who can cope with me or a person who needs to put up a barrier of conceit and make out I am less than in order for them to feel they are not being challenged in any way. I havn’t just had this expression put upon me because of my beliefs either, sometimes it’s because I didn’t finish my degree, or because I have kids with special needs, sometimes it’s because of the car I drive or because of my country of birth.
I don’t really care where the attitude comes from, I just know that if you come across a person who is projecting an attitude that they are better than you, it’s time to feel even more solid in who you are. In that moment, you cannot allow their attitude to affect you. You need to believe in who you are, know in yourself how far you have come and stand strong in that. You don’t need to buy into a conversation about it or even acknowledge their attitude, just be quietly confident and self accepting.

Of course later on, you may need to vent. You may need to re-group and you may need to even cry. But don’t let that attitude of conceit affect you in the moment that it hits. This is an attitude that is projected by people who don’t understand or havn’t taken the time to learn. They feel something inside themselves that is inadequate and they need to project that onto you.

Image thanks to theglamlife.net

You are perfect in this moment and in this moment; you are the person with the power of you. Don’t let anyone else affect you. …… Continue on your path of self evolution and believe in your rightful place on this earth.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

ANIMAL KIND ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT

Today I’m thinking of my good friends Sue and Roy who lost their beautiful dog yesterday.

Bella was a little Dog with a big heart, but she was more than a dog, she was family.

As Humans, sometimes we can forget that the other life forms on this planet are just as important as us, we can forget that they love and that they have emotions, thoughts and capabilities that can go beyond our bodies own capacities.

Animals may not occupy a Human form, but this makes them no lesser than us.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’ve met some very upstanding citizens who occupy animal bodies, who could put some Humans to shame in their expression of who they are and what their values in life are for them.

Getting back to families, I have a big family, but only 4 of the members of my family are human kind.  The other family members are Fish kind, Feline kind, K9 kind, Bird kind and reptile kind.  This is an inter-species family and I know my family is not the only one. Many homes throughout the world have animals who are daughters and sons to the human parents also.  This is no more apparent than when you have a Dog.  The pup needs toilet trained, disciplined and taught manners, it needs to be trained commands and how to play nicely.  The dog needs most of all love.  And I think this is for me, the biggest gift  any of my non-human family members have for me.  Love, unconditional love.  It is oozing out of them.  They want for nothing but food, shelter and love.  They don’t care about the latest gadgets, who’s on TV or what you are wearing.  I think they probably think we look a bit strange because we don’t have any fur or feathers and have so much more work to keep ourselves clean and clothed than they do.  But they don’t care, they just want to love us anyway.  Because to them, we humans are their pack, their flock, their school, we are their pride.  We are their family, so why do so many people forget that and think of themselves as higher up than the animals who are in their homes?  Why do they think of them as outside of their families?  Why?  I don’t understand why, because to me, it’s obvious that they have just as much right to be here as me, they have just as much of a beautiful heart and mind as any of my Human children and they have just as active a mind and feelings as any Human I know.

You know, not all Humans can be themselves all day, every day, un ashamedly…Animals can.

My animal children have taught me about love, humility, friendship, death,  kindness and compassion.   My house is no home without them and my life would simply be incomplete without the love of my family.  Tonight, my friends grieve for their Dog Daughter Bella.  She couldn’t live as long as them, but her life was so significant, that she has enriched them in ways they cannot explain and she has touched the hearts of all who knew her.  How many animal children do you know who are in your family or the family of someone you know?  Love knows no boundaries, no one body type has the monopoly on it and love and life are the most precious gifts we have for each other, in whatever body we occupy at the time.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

CONTEMPLATION

TO CONTEMPLATION : Photo of Tom taken by Brend...
TO CONTEMPLATION : Photo of Tom taken by Brenda : God Rest Her Soul. (Photo credit: tommypatto ~ IMAGINE.)

Spiritual growth is important for all of us and a major part of spiritual growth involves the simple act of contemplation.  Contemplation is the time we spend in reflection or silent observation, when we deeply consider a situation, an action or words of wisdom.  There have been many hours in my life, when I have naturally fallen into contemplation.  Sometimes, it was because people were doing hurtful things to me and I needed to have time to think.  Sometimes I was going through a period of rapid spiritual growth and through the act of contemplation, I would have a series of revelations.
Contemplation is a form of meditation, because you still your mind upon a subject, a one line or a moment in time and instead of running your mind over all the actions and words and people that surround it, you quite simply step out of the situation and observe it from the third person.  This may seem difficult if you find yourself in a situation like I did at 23 with key people betraying me and conversations that hurt me hitting my mind.  But in taking that time to use the power of my mind to sit quietly and step back away from the situation and see everyone in it as actors on a stage, I was able to see the motives behind other people’s actions and the answers to what was going on, became clearer.  At 23,I was in possession of a, not yet mature brain, so I still made mistakes, but this act of contemplation served me well, because it helped me to, not fly off the handle or say things I’d regret.

Contemplation has given me a series of revelations or epiphanies too.  It is simple and easy to spend time in contemplation and here is a little two sentence contemplation I have for you today, from my deck of ‘Inspirational Messages of Love’ cards…

‘Don’t love your suffering and hurts only.  Love the moment when everything is all right.’

I’ll leave you to contemplate that one and to consider it, allow yourself to feel the truth within it and the deeper message about being in the moment.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE

STATE OF MIND

Lets talk about your state of mind.  You know that when your state of mind is positive the world looks brighter and when it is negative, the world looks dull and you too will look dull to others.  In fact if you continuously have a negative state of mind, you will actually age faster than your peers and etch lines on your face to add to the effect.

Image thanks to deafpagancrossroads.com

State of mind is such a powerful thing.  I was at a life coaching seminar one year and they were teaching us about state of mind, they just called it ‘state’.  They fired us all up and got us pumped with high energy music and dancing and a feel good atmosphere and then they produced a 3cm thick board and they told us to hit the board and break it in half.  Now I’d only ever seen this done by black belt karate dudes on TV, so I certainly didn’t think someone like me could smash a board, but you know, in that state of mind, I put my fist through it like it was just a flimsy piece of plastic.  Then they pulled out an arrow and held it to the little dint in our throat, you know the vulnerable windpipe spot?  We got mega pumped and they told us to walk our bodies into the arrow and break it.  It took me a few goes, because the fact was it intimidated me to do this insane thing. But I just went to the back of the line and jumped around like a little kid and got even more fired up and then I found myself in this mind set where I could actually see flames in my inner eye. In that state of mind I just walked through the arrow and snapped it – falling onto the poor lady holding it up!  Then I went off, jumping around like a jack in the box even more because I did it!

That seminar taught me that I could do whatever I had to,  to get the job done.  It told me to focus and create a headspace that was for winning and then go for whatever I wanted because I can.  I have to say, I was on an absolute high for a week after that weekend, I loved it.  If you can get yourself to a life coaching seminar, I fully recommend it.

But we aren’t talking about seminars here; we are talking about state of mind.  I’ve met quite a few people of late who are stuck in a victim mentality.  You know it, we’ve all been there, the poor me, everyone hurts me, I’m always last, I can’t love myself, I don’t know how.  Everything bad always happens to me, I am not worth it, I have nothing to show for my life, I hate my job, everyone at work hates me…yada yada yada…yep, it’s a toxic combination and it can be addictive.  Silly how things that make you feel really bad, can be addictive, hey?  At first, you are genuinely the victim, you’ve been hurt by someone significant or been in a situation of trauma, but it never really resolves itself and you spiral into a mud puddle in your mind.

The body, as we all know is made up of 70% water and as we all know water holds emotions.  Well those emotions poison that water in your body, if they vibrate at the energy of unhappy for too long.  Especially if your mind is cut off from your feelings and the emotions are stored inside, without the flow of tears to release those emotions and feelings, your appearance will prune up.  Soon you’ll be 40 looking 50!  Don’t do it to yourself, people who genuinely care, will find it hard to be around you.  It’s not good.  Counselling and working through it are the best ways.  For me, I found doing martial arts forced me to hit some major emotional barriers.  Because when I had to do kata’s in sequence with others, it transported my mind back to when I was 13 and all the kids were laughing at me in Physical education class because I couldn’t do a task.  I hadn’t even thought about it, all these years, until that moment when I suddenly felt the emotions wrap me up and squeeze the tears out.  I had to go to the loos, so embarrassing.  But it’s better out than in.  You know?

How are you feeling?  Is there some issue that is affecting your state of mind?  It’s a process of peeling the emotional onion to get the core of those emotions and set yourself free.  I think that at that point, you will feel the freedom of enlightenment, because in my mind, enlightenment is when you no longer have emotional attachments to negative experiences or people and therefore, you no longer have a vulnerability to  negative state of mind.

State of mind can be changed with determination, just by putting on a funny movie, or getting in some exercise, playing with a loving animal or doing something creative.  You are never going to change your state of mind, by doing a task that is ho hum and boring like the laundry, unless you love laundry that is, believe it or not I have met people who love to wash clothes!

Be aware of your state of mind.  Be aware of the things you say about yourself and to others.  Catch yourself saying negatives about yourself or about life.  Write down what those catch phrases are, it may be a phrase like…’it makes me feel angry when’, or ‘I can’t’, or ’ I don’t’ think I can’, or ‘I never get what I want’… whatever the catch phrase is, it’s time to name and shame that little sucker, because it’s sucking the life right out of you.

People, who live in a positive state of mind, sometimes have to work hard to stay up there.  No one said being positive all the time is easy and if we were all bouncing around like I was at the seminar, well we’d all be locked up in the insanity ward.  But it is easy to make it a conscious habit of saying to yourself, I am worthy.  I am happy, I am good enough, I am kind, I am a person who has a purpose and a reason for living.  I am loved.

Say it to yourself until you believe it and it becomes a habit to say these positives about you and your life. Then and only then, will you come to the realisation that you have achieved a new, happier state of mind.

Posted in CAT'S LIFE, CAT'S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL COMMENTS, ETHICS AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized

Body Image, Relationships &Gratitude

Scales
Image thanks to http://www.olivia2901.blogspot.com

Sometimes I think people put too much pressure on themselves to be of a so called perfect body shape in order to attract a partner.   Those people that I have known who buy into having to be super slim to get a man or a woman to fancy  them, tend to end up with people who are superficial and who only want to see that outer beauty and not the real beauty of a person, the beauty within.  ‘Time stops for no man’ they say and this is so true in regards to the shape of your body.  Bodies change; bodies grow and evolve as we grow older.  They never stay static and believe me, you won’t look the same way you did a 25 when you are 50, so why stress so much about body image, just to land a partner?  In fact, in regards to women and their idea of body image, I haven’t met one man yet who doesn’t think curves rock!  They love them.  It’s only the fashion designers who despise curves.  They need to sell clothing and so they keep the clothes small.  Here in Australia, the average size of a woman is size 12.  That equates to size 8 in the USA and a size 10 in the UK.   This is a healthy weight, a weight range to be happy with and in doing so, you will find that everything changes for you.

When I met my partner, I had put on a little weight because I had gone through a major period in my life full of struggle and hardship and I had become burnt out and depressed.  So I wasn’t exercising as much and food became a comfort for me.  I was a size 14 in Aussie clothing and he still fancied me.  He still liked what he saw and he still wanted to get to know me.  In fact, now I am a little chubbier, because that time of being burnt out made me sedentary and then I ended up with some health issues and I couldn’t get back to the gym.  Guess what?  He’s still here.  With my pot belly and flabby arms, he’s still hanging around.

It’s because he is able to see beyond my imperfections and he realises that I am motivated to change when the time is right and really, if I didn’t care and I was happy with the way I am he’d be happy too.  He just isn’t worried so much, because he thinks curves rock.  He’s not super slim, either.  But I don’t care because when I look at him, I see a beautiful person and I like him just the way he is.

True love transcends all the superficial stuff.  True love doesn’t care that you’ve just had a baby and your belly is a bit floppy and your boobs are huge.  True love doesn’t mind that you have chubby thighs or that your nose has a hook in it.  True love only sees the heart and the heart, personality  compatibility and communication are what make a relationship tick.

I spent many years in my adult life alone, without a partner.  Many of these years were by choice I must admit, because I didn’t want to find I’d made a bad choice and regret entangling my life with someone who was wrong for me.  So when I did meet someone, it meant that I had the perspective of knowing that I have been alone and I like not being alone now.  It means that I never take him for granted.

Relationship in a Rut
Relationship in a Rut: Image thanks to http://www.sheknows.com

Too many relationships end up in a rut where each person is going through the motions of the day and they forget to stop and remember why they are with that person and why it is wonderful to have them around.  We get caught up in the rat race too easily and this can take over the joy of the little things.  If you are in a relationship, try and remember to stop and be grateful for the one you are with every day and if you can, let your heart be filled with gratitude that they have chosen to stick around and be with you.  This choice of gratitude will make up some of the glue that keeps you together.  I think it’s also important to put yourself in the other person’s shoes once in a while and to reiterate to them what you have observed.  So that they know that you are thinking of them and that you appreciate their efforts.  This is also important in keeping the relationship glued together.

In doing these things, in loving the body your partner occupies and in loving your own, in accepting the imperfections of each other and in allowing yourself to stop and feel the gratitude for the life you have together, you will not overload your love with demands.  Because love soars when it is not overloaded with demands.  How can a bird fly if it is covered in oil?  Its feathers are overloaded and it cannot take off.  Love cannot fly either if you demand it to be skinny or to earn more money or be more sociable or whatever the issue may be.  If you were to back off from what is annoying and encourage what is wonderful, your love will grow to heights you could never expect or even dream of.

For those of you who are reading this and you are single.  Do not worry, your time will come.  There are billions of people in this world and therefore billions of possibilities for love.  Just remember that you are at your most attractive when you are happy with yourself.  When you have no pressure on yourself to be a certain way.  Just allow yourself to be free.  Of course if your Dr says lose weight, you should do so, but this may be the key to you feeling that freedom.  But if you are chasing perfection, let it go and just love yourself in this moment, for the reasons that brought you here and make the choices to live within that sense of freedom, to find yourself and find the love you deserve, within yourself,  for who you are.  Then, when the time is right, your one true love, may just meet you and a new life together can begin.

Easy to Love You
Easy to Love You: Image thanks to http://www.misscarlyrenee13.deviantart.com

When you are with The One, that togetherness is easy.  There is no regular tears or fighting, there is no regular dramas or hassles.  There is just the ebb and flow of life and all that entails.  It is a wonderful and fulfilling experience to be with another person who is your best friend, your lover and your confident.  If you have that, never take it for granted, don’t’ place pressure on it and never hold on too tight for fear of losing it either.  Just love it with all your heart and soul.  True love is awesome and I wish for each and every one of you the opportunity to experience it.