We are moving house soon and as I was clearing out my wardrobe I stumbled across my grandfather's waistcoat. The waistcoat had survived the previous cull of items that saw it's matching parts carted off to a charity shop. Why the waistcoat was not hanging alongside it's other parts, I don't know. Why they were in separate wardrobes is a mystery. I had been sad to say goodbye to the suit, but as I will never wear it, keeping it made no sense. I believe that sentimentality over objects is the way a hoarding issue lies, and so I had waved goodbye to the suit, knowing that I didn't need it to remember.
Then the waistcoat appears. And whilst the suit it previously accompanied would never fit me, the waist coat does. I take this as a little gift from the cosmos, from Grandpa himself, allowing me to release his accoutrements, but organising for just a little something to be left, something I can wear close to my heart. I'm wearing it now. It's surprisingly warm. His suits are all tailor made, Saville Row affairs. This waistcoat has no tag, this makes me think it is extra special, perhaps hand-sewn, unique to him, certainly not something I could purchase on the high street. It is in fact a little piece of him, stitches sewn from his soul to mine.
How do you connect to your beloved ancestors? What items do you hang onto to help you remember and 'be with' your lost ones?
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I am having quite the season! Whilst I may not be scooping an Oscar or, indeed a Grammy, I am pleased to report that I have been nominated as "best self help author" in the Health and Happiness awards, and best book in the Non Fiction category of The People's Book Prize Winter 13/14 (The High Heeled Guide to Spiritual Living). Maybe this isn't quite enough reason to dash to the shops and purchase a thrilling gown to strut a red carpet. However it is sufficient to slick on some extra lipgloss and smile heartily!
I was, of course, really pleased to be nominated. As many nominees before me have pointed out, it's not the winning, it is being nominated that counts. I agree, despite the cliche. But I have also found another gift within this that I was not expecting.
Upon being nominated for the Health and Happiness Awards I tentatively sent out an email to friends, colleagues and people I know fairly well, asking them to please vote. I also posted it on the usual suspect sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I felt nervous doing this, as it feels pretty cringey to go out asking for the acclaim of others. I also really don't want to clog up people's inboxes and timelines with my ego. As such I didn't really expect anything back. I certainly didn't expect what I got.
What I received back astounded me. Indeed it made me realise that awards, whilst lovely, are not nearly as beautiful and tremendous as the love and heartfelt respect of people we care about. I received, lots of votes, alongside little messages of support, of love, of kindness. Those messages were not something I expected. They warmed my heart far more than any nomination or vote ever could. I had no clue that my asking for a bit of love, in terms of a vote, would transform itself into a 'flood of lovely' from people I know, and some who I don't.
This isn't all about me though of course. I don't mean to bore you with the details of how loved I am! Rather, what I learned, and what I want to share, is that sometimes what we think is the goal, is in fact only a prop to help the universe express love. In this case my nomination for an award was a prop people used to be gorgeous and to share big love.
So often in life we have our eyes on a prize, and we don't see that the small acts of kindness, the caring words, the expressions of devotion and loyalty that are of far more value than any winning ever could be. The winning is now but a cherry, the love that underpins it is the cake. We all prefer the cake right? It's too easy though to get lost in searching for that elusive cherry. In the search for that cherry we can become so blinkered, and focused on the prize, that the love that supports us is neglected and under appreciated. We end up with mouldy cake and holes in our soul.
I made sure that I emailed all those people back. I felt it was my universal duty to reflect the love they gave to me, straight back to them. In life we have few occasions where we are verbal with our love, and our kindness. I believe we should make more. In essence, we should make more cake. We should spread our love wide, and forget about the cherries of this world. The cherry won't keep us warm at night, soothe our fears or hold our hearts close.
Have a think today about what your cake is made of. Who are the people holding you close, giving you love, offering support no matter what? Next time you have your eyes on a specific prize, remember to pat the backs of those that pat yours, even better, hug them. The real reward in this life is never made of precious metals, stuck on a shelf or in need of dusting. The real reward is the bundles of love that we reap when we least expect it.
Alice's book The High Heeled Guide to Spiritual Living is available all February for 99p / $1.62 on digital download.
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