|Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company|
For us in Australia at least, this time of year brings with it the end of the school year, summer holidays and the closing of groups we belong to for the year. I belong to three groups: a writing group (once a month), photography group (once a month) and a dance group (once a week). I will miss these people, my friends through shared interests, over the break till we meet again in January or February next year.
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It got me to thinking about how belonging to a group can be so important to our well being, both inside and out - whether it be a creative or physical activity, travelling with like minded people, or just sitting and talking - it is the belonging, sharing and being appreciated for the individuals we are. For some people belonging to a group may be the only contact they have with the outside world. I wonder what do these people do when groups close up at the end of the year?
I know from my own point of view the members of the groups I belong to have really helped me through low points in my life, like the passing of my darling Dad a couple of months ago. The groups have helped me focus on other things. These people are separate to my family, so in some ways were able to help me in a way my own family could not. Just by being there and showing me that life will continue on and be enjoyed. To listen and to be there with a hug that was not tied up with my own families' grief. The people in these groups are really my family too. And perhaps I have shared with them tears and words that I have not shared with my biological family.
So this post is dedicated to the groups I belong to. But of course, none of this would be possible without the unconditional love and support of my family.I thank them with all my heart. Without them I would be lost.
My dear fellow members from South Side Quills writers group - thank you. You have perhaps seen and heard me at my most raw through my written words...
That's me second from the right....
The inspiring photographers at the Photography Group of Bunbury. You inspire me to look and see and be more creative with my photography. Below are my awarded images this past year. I was given an "highly commended" for the black and white steps you can see in the middle of the images below here at the end of year.(unfortunately the process of putting them in a collage has cropped the images)
The amazing dancers at Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company and School of Dance. Thank you so much Nicole and all the ladies and gent for your patience and encouragement. Flamenco is not easy to learn, but it is fun! Don't they look fantastic in these bright costumes.
And to my wonderful "ladies who lunch", a small group of friends who meet every week for lunch - we have been through a lot together over the last 16 years or so. It doesn't matter where we meet - it is not the restaurant that matters - but the conversation and the sharing. We say it is "cheaper than therapy"!
And also to Eileen, my friend who I met through Sol-y-Sombra - you saved me with a hug and a bar of chocolate when I most needed it when I was creating my invitational floral art piece for the Floral Designer's Club exhibition "Blooming Art" - when my Dad was in hospital. Thank you.
Do you belong to a group and what do they mean to you? Perhaps you might like to share in the comments.
Perhaps you too can think about those people who do not belong to a group, or don't have family close by, or whose family situation has changed this past year, or for whom Christmas may be looked on with dread as they think about those they have lost, or indeed it stretches before them as a lonely space.
At times it can be very easy for me to wallow and be maudlin but this Christmas I am going to pledge to myself to "choose happiness" - not only for my sake, but for the sake of my family. For we have much to be grateful for.
We have put up our Christmas lights - I still have to do the tree. I wait till my Grandson has had his birthday which was yesterday 7th December. 8 years old already! I can hardly believe it.
One of my lunching ladies gave me an article from www.marcandalngle.com the other day. This is a summary.....
10 ways to choose happiness -
Choose to be the very best you can
Choose to be around the right people
Choose to focus on what you have, not what you haven't
Choose a good attitude
Choose to smile more often
Choose to take care of your body
Choose to help others when you're able
Choose to let go when you know you should
Choose to embrace the next step in your life
You are the only one who can create your happiness. Love who you are inside out. The choice is yours. Choose happiness.
Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.
I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and What's It Wednesday. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday