Sunday, 30 October 2011


Have you ever - watched a honey bee at work? Flying from flower to flower, it doesn't quit. Working away, always busy. Indeed, a honey bee could visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey - the sweetest reward to be found from a long, long hard struggle.

There are many quotes which can be recalled upon to give inspiration to a tired and flagging spirit. One of my most favourite comes from the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who said: "never underate the duty of being happy." A man suffering from many health problems throughout his life - he was one who made a very conscious decision as to how he wanted to approach his life - he chose to look for and seek out the positive, something I think that everyone should try to do (for their own personal benefit).

Today, in Scotland, (and other European countries) the clocks went back. I was reminded by a friend in Spain who sent me the cheery wee image here (thanks Tony!).

An extra hour, 60 minutes to enjoy a longer, lazy snooze in bed or the potential of an hour to do something else - something more memorable. As I thought about how to use my 'extra hour' - I recalled a series of events from a few years back...

Some time ago, I set up an online group called ":-D SMILE and pass it on!" Within 3 weeks it exceeded 1,000 members. People posted to the group wall their photos and sayings which made them smile. But, to me personally, a number of questions were directed - why was I doing this? What was my motive? And even criticisms that, at the time, I really didn't need... I'd just lost my mum to cancer and behind my cheery public smile I was very much working hard to be outwardly positive. Then, one night, words in an email did 'cut in' bitterly and very quietly I slowly began to remove the online group. People's comments - good and bad can influence all of us and it is sad that they pushed me into removing a group which was certainly doing nothing negative. Yet, as time has passed, I have bounced back again. Stronger in mind, happier in myself and with a quiet 'determination' - this is my life and I aim to live it! Getting out and enjoying the world around me, like the endless beauty of the changing seasons in Scotland, always nourishment for my heart and soul and something to share with others. 

27.10.11 Let there be light, Shona McMillan © 

And of course - I benefit too from a great group of friends. People who I know have certainly helped me in what they've said but also in the things that they have done and continue to do. One friend being the catalyst to me beginning an album of funny photos on my Celtic Reflections page. For sure, there's nothing Celtic about these photos, except that their journey to me was latterly from Ireland. My friend there has the motto "A day without laughter is wasted" - and my goodness, he has shared a lot of laughter with me since we met. Back then at that time, I was recovering from the shock of losing my mum to cancer and then, this year, I also lost my dad. And throughout these tough times, my friend was ALWAYS there to send me an endless supply of daft, funny photos, pictures and positive sayings. In the same way that my friend from Spain (before his English became so good) he would send to me masses of musical links to tunes and clips that he thought I'd enjoy... Yes, these are all quite small gestures if each is evaluated on its own but, over time, these many small gestures do add up to make a BIG difference! (they certainly have brightened my days and made a big difference to me!). And then, last night, when I was beginning to feel pretty aggravated at being unable to find something "I'd put away in a safe place" (an absolute recipe for it to be lost!) - my aggravation turned in to a big smile as I remembered one of the funny pictres I had been sent some time ago - a photo now very relevant. 

I found the photo again online - posted first to my page on 25.09.10. Sharing it again on Facebook in 2011, new people commented about it and we all shared another laugh. So this morning - when I wondered what to do with my extra hour from the clocks going back, it seemed to me that it was the perfect opportunity to begin a new chapter in my own 'philosophy in practise' - my ":-D SMILE and pass it on" an album for me to share with others - rippling out through the internet things to make people smile and promote positive thinking and action. Therefore, on my Facebook page SHONA MCMILLAN CELTIC REFLECTIONS more photos will be added together with sayings that I enjoy and I hope others benefit from too. [And if you would like to contribute a funny photo or inspirational saying - please do get in touch]. We live in the real world - it is not always beautiful, life is not easy and people can be mean... BUT the real world can be good as well as bad. In my photos I try to show the beauty of what I see around me, I'd also like to add: positive thinking and humour. I realise that I am just one person posting things on the internet but just as I have benefitted, from a friend's photo (sent to me over a year ago) so too then do others have the potential to benefit. And yes I know, I'd like to take a wee bit of time in my life - to try and help shine out a light and share a smile with others.

I shared a story yesterday with a friend - one of the last stories my mum shared with me. Mum told me that she was going to work early and this day, in poor weather, was an old lady at her garden gate and sweeping her path. Mum smiled and said to her "fancy being up and out at this time on such a morning" - but something in the woman's expression made mum stop this morning so she could listen and talk. Sure enough, the lady smiled back "Och I know my dear but in truth, ever since you smiled at me weeks back - I get up to start my day with your smile. My family are all gone now and sometimes it's just nice to say hello to you and see you smile back at me. Your smile it brightens my day". I recall my mum saying she had smiled and promised "I'll never pass you by without a hello and a smile". Mum went on to say to me "Never underestimate the power and the value of a smile, it costs nothing to give but it can mean oh so very much to receive" - wise words and my reflecting on these was my starting place for :-D SMILE and pass it on! It is a beautiful world but there's room for improvement and everyone has the potential to do something to make it a better place.

People can be negative and say - what hope do you have of making a difference and I'd say - no hope if we never begin to try. The world is full of what I'd call "emotional polluters' and me, I don't have the inclination to reserve a place in my life for their negativity. Each day is a new beginning, each day is the start of the rest of our lives, each day containing 24 hours of potential to :-D SMILE and pass it on!


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