Do I tell the girls?

My Granddaughters

 

 

 

 

 

This story was written as a parenting tool around the importance of listening to our intuition.

I had just turned 50. There had been lovely celebrations with family and friends, but now I wanted to mark it in some way, just for me. How? One day I was idly flicking through a holiday brochure when I saw a special offer for two weeks in Egypt, in February. What really got my attention was it included getting a diving qualification I had always wanted. Perfect.

I knew I had made the right decision the moment I arrived in Sharm el Sheik. It was the familiarity of Egypt and I was in my air, plus I had never been to the Sinai. I was curious to visit St. Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, together with the Chapel of the Burning Bush where Moses, apparently, had an epiphany. After the diving, at the end of my trip, I hoped to swim with a dolphin I had heard about. She had been separated from her pod and her story struck a chord with me.

The stress of a long-distance relationship was causing endless arguments and ‘silent treatment’ which would always end in me booking an impromptu surprise trip home to try and reconcile, despite this we survived to see out my graduation. 18 months later, we were wed. It was impulsive and frantic… and controlled. One thing that remained consistent throughout was the pattern that followed, one of immense highs followed by immense lows. I would be idolised one day, to disappointing him and feeling at a loss the next.

Aziz, my guide, was at the airport. I guessed he was about 25. He had a beautiful speaking voice which was quite mesmeric at times. He was very engaging, asking me what I wanted to do as well as diving. When I mentioned the monastery, he said “Did you know St. Catherine came from Alexandria? I had to study all about her at University. I also learned that the Bedouins around the monastery are Christians and when the Seven Day War in the Sinai happened it was very dangerous for them.” I didn’t know any of this.

He came across as genuinely knowledgeable about the history of the Sinai, from ancient times to modern. “Would you like to go tomorrow?” He asked. I was delighted and looked forward to an interesting day. He also reminded me that it was Ramadan and people could be a bit edgy at this time from fasting and following the religious laws. I hadn’t realised I would be there during Ramadan, another first.

Driving through the desert was heaven; I just loved the energy of tranquillity despite the troubles that had taken place during the war. I knew there were still peacekeeping forces based there, but on that day it felt beautifully calm. Finally, we reached the Monastery.  It was very dark inside and extremely redolent of other Greek Orthodox churches I had seen in Europe. Lots of hanging lamps and it smelt of sweet, ancient, incense that belonged to another time, cloying rather than exotic.

I felt claustrophobic and wanted to leave when a drawing of fairies caught my eye.  “How strange” I thought to myself. It felt slightly out of place. I studied the fairies for a while, fascinated. Outside, I just glanced at the chapel of the Burning Bush, wondering what kind of epiphany Moses had really had. I was very glad to listen to Aziz’s stories about his life in Cairo as we drove back to Sharm and the feeling of darkness in the church disappeared.

The course started the next day.  From then on, each morning, I would walk along the beach to the diving centre with a real sense of freedom and excitement. In the evening I would walk back with a real sense of achievement. My teacher’s surname bizarrely was Love and we went diving at a place called Temple. This made me smile every time I thought about it.  I loved every minute of discovering the world deep below the surface of the sea.  I loved all the different fish, so unafraid and playful, particularly the clown and angel fish swimming around our bodies like underwater butterflies. Varieties of coral I had never seen before, sea cucumbers in different shapes and sizes… Nearer the surface the colours were vibrant and the deeper we went the colours disappeared. Sound became distorted and my sense of direction changed. Not all the fish were playful and a shoal of barracudas reminded me that we were in shark territory too. Exciting! I could understand why drug addicts liked diving. The deeper you went it became very disorienting in a strangely seductive way with the added spice of danger. Memories of my younger days began surfacing.  However, the older me understood the golden rule about not diving alone and having a buddy. The importance of using regular signals to stay in touch and checking each other’s equipment. It was still magical, till the fourth day.

When I asked him about Ramadan because of the time, he just shrugged. “Oh I don’t really follow all the laws.” It was a hot balmy night and we talked amiably until quite late. Having company that evening helped and the next day I walked along the beach feeling better and ready to overcome my blocks to hovering. Ms Love had asked the head instructor to help us. Very gently he asked me what it was that bothered me about hovering. After a while, I had a memory of my grandmother hovering around me when I got back from school. I realised I had a problem with the word itself! I used to be very sensitive to her invasion of my space.

“Can you think of something to replace that image.” he said softly, almost innocently. “Yes, yes I can.” I remembered the drawing of the fairies. “I can happily imagine being a fairy”.

From then on I sailed through the course, the magic was back and I got my qualification with flying colours. Ms Love was pleased and I was thrilled. When I saw Aziz later he was pleased for me too. “How are you going to celebrate?” He asked. I realised I wanted to know if it would be possible to drive out to the beach where the dolphin was.

“Of course” he said. “Everything is possible”. He arranged for us to have a driver and go the next day. He said it would take a while to get there so we would be gone the whole day. We set off quite early and Aziz sat in the back with me. To begin with I was looking out the window drinking in the energy of the desert, spotting the odd Bedouin child with their camels.

At some point, I became more aware of Aziz, his physical closeness, but ignored it as I thought it was my imagination. The feeling of closeness changed, started to become intrusive, and, at the same time, I sensed the car was slowing down. I saw the driver look at Aziz in the mirror and then everything slowed down. I had experienced this stillness before, years before. A decision was being made. I knew what that decision was. Somewhere in my head I heard my godmother’s voice saying “Don’t do anything, don’t even ask the Universe for help. Just listen to my voice. Remember you don’t have a bad bone in your body.” My eyes slid away from the mirror. I somehow disappeared into her voice, floated in space.

I became aware of the car picking up speed again and Aziz’s closeness receding.  I went back to looking out the window and eventually we arrived at the beach where the dolphin was. I have no idea how I managed to get to a rickety shack of a toilet. I was sick, my knees giving way, I held onto the basin. From somewhere I remembered Aziz saying he couldn’t swim.  I needed to feel safe, get into the sea with the dolphin without appearing to hurry. When I did, this incredible creature seemed to know how much I needed her. She nuzzled me gently, again and again. She kept giving me comfort, reassurance, circling me and nuzzling again. Her grey body soothing and, in turn, I recognised her loneliness at being separated from her pod. We swam together in mutual understanding like a healing balm. I was so grateful for her companionship but eventually I had to get out of the water. I got back into the car wet, wrapped up in my towel like a cocoon, still wanting the connection with the sea and the dolphin.

Strangely enough the journey back to the hotel was much shorter. When we got there, I got out of the car, not bothering to say goodbye. I sat in the lobby for a while with a sense of relief, watching the other guests going about their business. Eventually I felt able to pick up my key and head for my room.  As I got closer uneasiness crept in. The door was slightly ajar. I pushed it wide open without actually stepping in. There was Aziz on my bed, stark naked! For a nanosecond I struggled between rage and laughter.

He looked strangely vulnerable, like a little boy.  With all the assurity of 50 years, I said “For fuck’s sake, get dressed and leave. I am old enough to be your mother.” “Oh no you’re not. My mother is 70” was the petulant answer. He wasn’t 25 after all.

Whilst he got ready, I sat in the sun outside still wrapped in my towel, aware that the sea had dried out leaving a layer of protective salt on my skin.  I left the next day and, when I got back home, I sent Aziz The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I was grateful, I had truly learned to dive and hover.

Do I tell the girls? The girls being my granddaughters,  and the answer is yes, when the time is right. I will also tell them how I recognised the stillness. Sometimes we hover, sometimes we fight. My granddaughters are twins of three. Feisty little girls with strong personalities which disguise a fragility both influenced by their age and, I suspect, their fundamental characters. I wrote this story now as I may not be around when they are young women but I know their mother will pass this on to them when the time is right if I haven’t been able to.

What would my advice to them be? To start off with, be aware of the environments, cultures, traditions you find yourselves in, be respectful whether you agree with these or not – being defiant and provocative rarely works. We make assumptions whether we are old or young and we can definitely teach our children to be aware of our own prejudices and simply to be ‘aware’. My story is really about how important our intuition is and ultimately that is what saved me then and at other times. Parents need to work on their own intuition and can begin to encourage their children to value their intuition. Then they can see how it guides and supports them, rather than depending on logic alone. The best advice I heard given to children was, rather than “never talk to strangers”, when a ‘yes feeling’ changes to a ‘no feeling’ trust it and get away preferably calmly. I taught this to myself and my children and it works. Being afraid of everyone doesn’t work and a child’s world can become very small taking that fear into adulthood. By the same token, my advice to parents is to get help and support if they have experienced any traumas so it is not passed on to their children.

 

This was originally printed in Volume 9 of The Wildling magazine

 https://issuu.com/wildlingmagazine/docs/volume9

 

SMELL the ROSES meditation workbook deadline!

The best laid plans … not meeting a deadline


Well here we are, the morning of 30th May and there is a strong possibility that I am not going to meet the deadline of launching the meditation workbook for SMELL the ROSES by tonight. For the past month I have been doing a 30 Day Challenge with John Williams for this reason – the workbook is ready, the website is there but …. I could gnash my teeth, cry, rubbish the whole 30 days (a bit dramatic) or just laugh!

Laughter feels the best option! Especially as in the workbook I say “Thoughts of meditation can fly out of the window when strong emotions are triggered. This can happen to all of us and it is helpful to be aware of what some of those triggers might be. A guaranteed one for me can be my computers playing up when I least expect it, especially when I have set myself some unrealistic deadline! What are yours?

As I have said, at some stage of working with meditation, you will probably get an attack of self-doubt. This can happen more than once especially when your intuition increases another notch or you might be overdoing it. I love the acronym RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) devised by Elon Musk and his team when they first started Space X. They experienced so many of their rockets exploding, they coined this tongue-in-cheek acronym to keep them going. Self-doubt can feel like rockets exploding in our brains. It is a very normal part of developing a skill and helps us move forwards.”

So there I was yesterday afternoon with my favourite triggers “computers and IT” combined and RUDs exploding in my brain. It was bound to happen but I needed to live in the solution. A quick two minute meditation got me back on track. At least enough to see, I was powerless over the IT stuff as it was now in someone else’s hands and of course they didn’t have the SAME deadline as ME – I can hear  my grandmother’s voice saying “Not his baby”.

After listening to the above meditation, I was left with what am I going to do instead. I decided to listen to the Bear Story as simply listening to it makes me smile. I don’t actually have to do anything else just listen. That’s what I did.

In a much calmer frame of mind this morning, here I am writing a blog post about my RUDs and how I changed my perspective. Whether I meet the launch deadline or not, this will get posted as it has helped me this morning – it might even help you. More importantly I will enjoy the rest of my day.

As I am about to post this, http://smelltherosesmeditation.com/ has gone live and the SMELL the ROSES Meditation Workbook has gone live ….

Rubes Cartoon used with permission. For more Rubes Cartoons visit RubesCartoons.com<http://www.rubescartoons.com>

Pain, meditation, Smell the Roses

This blog is about pain and meditation, what I discovered from personal experience and what kind of meditation helped – interestingly at times what didn’t. A few days ago a friend asked me if I had kept a diary on my full knee replacement. My answer was no but said I had learned a lot.  On and off over my life I have had back ache, broken a few bones and given birth twice but nothing like the pain I have experienced recently.

I have become far more empathic to people who experience pain every day without respite and certainly humbled by the thought of them and full of respect. I was told by the doctors and nurses before the operation that it would be very painful and to be honest, in hindsight, I realise that was totally meaningless to me. They could not have said it differently either. However, it gave a friend of mine and myself time to prepare in the best way we could. Because I have been abstinent from drugs and alcohol for over 30 years I wanted to avoid opiates, so she made me a meditation tape visualising a time when my knee was pain free and I listened to it at least twice daily for about a week before the operation. I went to hospital full of confidence and very relaxed.

Although they blocked the nerves around my knee and gave me an epidural, they didn’t sedate me. I was fully awake for the sawing, hammering and soldering as well as the fun banter. I listened to an extended album of the Beatles amid the hubbub. It was all very surreal and it felt like I was in one of the comedic parts of a Shakespearean play. I happily carried on with the visualisation and the terrific nursing staff were very impressed with my ability to deal with the pain. This carried on for about three days after I got home.

Then it all changed! I started to argue with the tape. “You have no blank blank blank idea what this feels like!” I ought to mention here that I have been teaching meditation for nearly 30 years and am an NLP practitioner, but rant I did and wondered how often people ranted at me in their heads when they struggled with meditating! Well I had to get my little grey cells working as taking opiates wasn’t an option. I realised that what I could do was pant and believe me there was no danger of hyperventilating – I could only do it in short bursts and then groan. Yes, it reminded me of giving birth. As an aside, I also remembered panting helped my husband when he had a heart attack.

Once the pain eased after panting, I could focus on a one or two minute meditation. I distracted myself by watching day time television and reading pot boiler books unashamedly. Thank goodness I have a sense of humour, although occasionally I thought I had lost it, as I could laugh with people who were having similar experiences. After about ten days, I could work again from home using FaceTime and Skype. I started to move around more and do the exercises you have to do through the pain to get the knee moving. I have become addicted to ice which has been a life saver. I am bizarrely grateful for paracetamol and ibuprofen which I never thought would happen and at the same time can’t wait to stop taking them going back to alternative solutions but not quite yet. I can use the visualisation again too which is good news even if not all the time.

A week ago I had the opportunity to join 30 Day Challenge, which I had done a few years ago to finish my book Healing the Ouch of Disappointment. I just jumped at the chance to work with John Williams again and get Smell the Roses, a meditation workbook, finished and out there. It has really helped me get my creative juices going despite the on-going pain which I need to remember is about healing my knee. The first month is over and they have said it takes two. By that time Smell the Roses will be up and running as a digital workbook.

I appreciate even more the love and support from friends and family, the little things that bring so much joy: gifts of flowers, plants, books, treats. Wandering slowly out in the garden and watching nature unfurl, my grandchildren shrieking in delight as a chicken escapes. All of this can be a form of meditation and Smell the Roses is about busting a lot of myths around what meditation is. Needless to say I have added a section about pain and meditation. By the way,  John’s latest book is called Screw Work Break Free and is worth a read.

Being a Grandmother and the lessons I have learnt so far . . .

Wow – being a grandmother

Being a Grandmother

I probably started my initiation as a grandmother when I was born. I had two grandmothers. One was an earth grandmother and the other, who brought me up, was the complete opposite. The ‘earth mother’ one taught me all about nature, cooking and how to grow pumpkins in compost. The other one took me at four, to the college of psychic science to be with the mediums there. They mothered me and began at an early age to teach me how to use my intuition properly. So, in a way I had very balanced role models.

My spiritual practice and support system has been there a long time but as a grandmother it is even more essential, like a super lighthouse guiding me through so that I don’t get lost or flounder. Part of that support system are the wise women and other grandmothers who share their journeys – I can’t imagine life without them.

One of my most precious possessions is a Native American pottery figure of an owl storyteller with her grandchildren. This was given to me a few years before I actually became a grandmother and somehow it started a ‘broody’ feeling deep in my gut. Babies seemed to gravitate towards me everywhere I went. My two sons got married not long after this, and, soon grandchildren started to arrive.

Storytelling

When Oisin was born, seven years ago, I felt a surge of passion I hadn’t expected and this has continued with the birth of each child. The last one was born just before Christmas and the passion is still the same. Each birth has had its own signature and, interestingly, I have had a different role each time. Caleb was so determined to be born at home (despite the fact that wasn’t the plan) that I was very much part of that process. It was an amazing family experience as he literally fell into my hands as my daughter in law had no contractions to speak of and my son cut the cord. Even if I haven’t been at all the births, my bond with each of my grandchildren is just as significant.

It was quite a challenge the first time I realised ‘Oh my goodness I have to share being a grandmother with someone else. Surely he is MY grandchild.’ For the first time in my life the green-eyed monster of jealousy reared its ugly head. Now I can laugh about it. I am incredibly grateful, as a therapist, that I recognised this quickly and got help. It took time, but what I finally got in touch with were my own fears around my mortality, which I hadn’t felt before. As a grandmother I am not going to be around all their lives, and that makes them all the more precious to me.

I enjoy letting the child in me play, explore, get dirty and, if I forget, they remind me of the wonder of the world we live in. With Miles, who has lived in cities so far, we love exploring different streets, go to parks and museums and weave stories about the people who live in the city. With the grandchildren who live in Norfolk, we tend to go to the beach or wild countryside and tell different stories about nature and animals. One of my ambitions as a grandmother is to be part of their getting to know both worlds, whether it’s a city or the countryside. Sometimes I can do that through storytelling and hopefully we can visit both more.

A few years ago, before grandchildren, I found myself with some Aboriginal grandmothers. They had been desperately thinking of ways to help their grandchildren who were beginning to sniff petrol out of boredom and abandonment by their parents. They learnt that if they sat quietly and painted stories containing the wisdom of their tribes, the children would eventually become curious and ask questions. I was privileged to see this happen and have used it as a way of passing on family history, not because my grandchildren have been abandoned, but because, as a grandmother – like my grandmothers before me, I am a holder of our history. A couple of years ago I wrote a book called ‘Healing the ouch of disappointment’ dedicated to my grandchildren. It contains the tools that I have used in my life and passed on to my clients as well as a story to help us look after our energy field. My grandchildren can read this even when I am gone and I suspect there might be another book or two before I pass on to another dimension.

I have learnt that my grandchildren are like sponges, and observe everything we do and how we interact with others. They need to make up their own minds what they choose to copy and what they don’t. They also have ears that hear round corners and are very good at spotting inauthenticity. As a potential role model they keep me on my toes, and as I am not caught up all the time with their day to day needs, perhaps I am more aware of this. Having had a grandmother who would repeat everything I told her, I know how important it is to be someone my grandchildren can talk to and trust. This reminds me that each relationship with the children is unique, and how important it is to have special time with them individually.

Being a grandmother does not mean that I need to give them more time than their parents. My sons still need their mother and that relationship is always growing. I love both my daughters in law and have never seen them as ‘just providers of grandchildren’. I had a stroke a year ago and the love and support I have had from my family is amazing but they have had their own challenges and we need to support each other. What I have noticed is that I can be quite a tiger grandmother over the whole family, not just my grandchildren, and sometimes I need to rein that in.

Very often the help and support that my grandchildren’s parents need is very practical: picking up from school, babysitting, feeding, helping with general family logistics – and I have been happy to do that, as well as the ‘fun’ things. Although I am a loved grandmother, I have to remember that my grandchildren are growing up and their needs will change. I have to watch out for having a favourite age, as each age will have its joys and pitfalls. What I can add to childcare, as opposed to someone from outside of family, is that I love the children with all my heart.

An added bonus of being a hands-on grandmother of seven children is that I can incorporate this into my practice as a psychotherapist. Not only do I have the experience of bringing up my own children, but I have young children around again and am part of their growing up. Sometimes I can be a ‘grandmother’ to clients and help them understand the dynamics in their own families. What a gift it is to be a grandmother …

 

This personal essay was written for Wilding Magazine Volume 3. (The journal for ‘free spirited’ families.) March 2016.

I highly recommend this beautiful publication, and feel very privileged to be part of this edition.

 

Choices and perception

Interesting that at the moment I am looking at how much my thoughts influence my perception. Some of you might be thinking “well of course they do” and, yes, I know that too but I have decided to take a closer look at the choices I make and how quickly based on my perception.

For instance today is a beautiful sunny spring day, high tide on the marsh, colours vibrant and had a lovely walk with my grandsons. Saw a different perspective because of the high tide which reminded me of a similar scene with one of my son’s in November and a happy occasion. Do I always feel happy on days like today? A friend of mine talks about “being in hell in Paradise”. Thought provoking! In fact do I feel happy all of the time? What choices do I make and are they the right ones?

My honest answer is No. So what do I do when the answer is No? For me I can’t waive a magic wand and change my feelings like that, however I can acknowledge them, make the choice about “how long do I want to feel like this for?” and then start the process of changing my perspective. Sometimes this can happen quite quickly and at others it takes longer. The truth can be that at times I haven’t wanted to or been ready. Today I do know that staying in the gloom is more uncomfortable than asking for help/support even though I know I have to make the change myself. Usually I need to tell one other person what is going on, then it is what I call an inside job. If I stay in the gloom, I make the wrong choices – either too quickly or not all, reinforcing the gloom.

I have been teaching meditation a long time and over the last year I have been aware that one minute meditations are very effective and can work like pit stops during the day. One of the reasons they are effective is because doing one is the first choice we can make in changing our perspective. Worth trying …

 

Life pilgrimage. What does “hitting the wall” mean?

Writing about ” hitting the wall” in my recovery from a stroke made me think about it at other times of my life. In a strange way, it is almost every time I have done something for the first time. It doesn’t happen straight away – it is usually when I don’t expect it. I have been reading Satish Kumar’s book “No Destination” and he talks about when we journey as pilgrims we go with a sense of the sacred without making demands and we expect a certain amount of inconvenience and hardship.

It has made me realise that my life is a series of pilgrimages and eventually morphing into one big pilgrimage of gratitude and respect for the world I live in. So that means that “inconvenience and hardship” are there for me to overcome and become compassionate, understanding, stronger and loving. So I hit walls… Of course I do and will. Sometimes I come to a wall and it takes me a while to realise I can turn left or right and see where that leads me. At other times I notice there is a half hidden door in the wall which opens with a bit of effort. Sometimes I can see that it is actually possible to climb the wall with care as rushing at it is not a smart move I have discovered.

One of the best ways is to find somewhere to sit quietly and meditate upon the situation. Very often I then discover I have made the wall myself through fear, assumptions/expectations and misunderstanding timing – followed by an understanding of lack of preparation and maybe not trying to do things alone! Oh that pride and “I should be able to do this”! I think I have finally learned that my ego has no place here. I hope I have. Although I might want to give up, I never do because in my heart I know I am growing until I pass on to another dimension..

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved watching the sky and this morning was no exception and it is continuously changing which is what makes it fascinating to me. What appear to be inconveniences and hardships can often turn around. The Aboriginal people also taught me that where there is a poison there is an antidote, I have to notice it.

equinox15 010

 

 

 

Having a stroke, blog 3

Gosh I have just realised that I haven’t written anything since mid-July. This might have something to do  with the fact that, about a month ago, I hit a wall with my recovery from a stroke. ‘Hitting a wall’ emotionally is a strange feeling – a mixture of fear and wanting to hide. For about  3 or 4 days I tried to push the feelings away, but unsuccessfully. The fear was mainly about saying out loud that I felt I was going backwards in my physical recovery and that, that would continue.

Luckily I had an appointment with my doctor and was able to tell her how I felt. She explained that my body and my brain were trying to figure things out, which was causing some confusion physically. A few days later I was teaching someone to deepen their meditation practice, and during the course of these couple of days, she told me to get in touch with the lady who has always looked after any back problems I have had in the past. She has been able to use Cranio-Sacral techniques. During the first session she said ‘Oh, your right brain is angry with your left brain.’ This made total sense to me, as my left brain was being quite philosophical about the situation, and my right brain was frustrated and felt frightened because the way that I use my creativity had been hampered by the diminished dexterity of my right hand. It had felt as if the two sides of my brain were speaking to each other.

This is a classical example of living in the solution not the problem. Although my right hand is still wonky and slightly unreliable, at least I understand what is happening to me. Lots of my symptoms are hidden from other people, and I had got to the stage where, if one more person said ‘you are doing really well’ I would have decked them! Needless to say I got to the doctor just in time.

Although I see an NHS doctor, I do pay for the Cranio-Sacral treatments that I have, and I am very aware that not everyone can do that. What I have been given are very simple exercises, for instance; touching my nose with my left and right index fingers with my arms stretched out on either side, lifting one leg up and touching it with the opposite hand. It may be a question of asking your doctor or NHS Physio for these kind of exercises. I have subsequently found out that the symptoms I am experiencing don’t happen until about 6 months or later.

One of the interesting things is I have never been able to write with my left hand, and by accident discovered that I can. However, what I am now doing is still practicing slowly with my right hand, so that I don’t ignore the slow progress I am making with my right hand, but progress it is.

Whenever I feel discouraged I think of the 2 young women; Emma and Rebecca, who saved my life in February, and I keep trying. Their part of the story is for another blog.

Highlights of my overall improvement have been; going to Legoland with my grandchildren, and subsequently taking them to the Fakenham fair – all on my own. There are 3 of them here and the youngest is 2. More outings of this kind tell me that I am definitely getting stronger.

 

Having a stroke, blog 2

So why was I in agony – I had gone for a short walk the day after I came home, then the next day I went for another and a bit further. That night I was in agony. I was put on some medication immediately and after quite a few days of that medication I was in tears with the pain. Fortunately I had a friend with me and with perseverance I got to speak to a doctor and she said “Stop taking those pills immediately, you are allergic to them”. As if by a miracle the pain stopped. I should have been given more guidance before coming home. Nobody’s fault but you can fall between two stools very easily. Never really understood that expression till now but you can so easily forget to ask the right question and others make their assumptions about you.

Without friends and family, I would have been lost. A dear friend from France came and looked after me for a week. In that time she was like a terrier and moved heaven and earth to get the physio to come and see me. I had been left off the list for goodness knows what reason. The strangest thing is that I am usually good a these kind of situations, teach Assertiveness no less, but I had no “fight” in me whatsoever. I shall probably keep saying that for a while. Without her I would probably never have been seen by the physio.

Using scissors and cutting my first slice of bread was my aim at the time. Figuring how to put a Bra on was next. More about my progress anon. However, today what is foremost in my mind is the gratitude for the story of the two mugs that turned into five! My IPad has been a life saver and I saw there were some mugs for sale and they were lovely. I always need mugs! So I sent off for two. Then to my horror I realised they were going to the old address and emailed the contact number immediately. No worries said the lovely lady and it was sorted. By some blip, they got sent to the old address nonetheless. Another email, the lovely lady said she would send another two mugs, her fault, plus a print of feathers as an apology! I forgot to mention that she had added a mug with feathers on it as I had said it was a shame she hadn’t that mug left but she found one without a box.

In the meantime, my husband had gone to the old house and by a real stroke of luck had managed to get hold of the original parcel. So today I have five mugs which I have paid for with the added bonus of a beautiful print and a delightful coaster. What was I going to do with the extra mugs? Then I remembered the two friends who fetched me from the hospital and have come every week to study and chant with me as part of our Buddhist practice. A mug each feels the least I can do. More than anything gratitude is what gets me through the day. The  mugs are made by a very talented Sarah Travis and she has a great Facebook page. Thank you Sarah too.image

More about the stroke to come …

Having a stroke …

Well where to begin. On 3rd February I had a stroke – never been ill before, no medication, no warning. I was very lucky as I was in London at the time taking the tube to my hotel for the night and all of a sudden I was on the platform wondering what was happening to me. In a period of a few hours I was tucked up in bed in Charing Cross Hospital having discovered I had had a stroke.

Why am I going to blog about this? Perhaps it will help other people and it will certainly help me keep things in perspective. The question I have been asked consistently is “weren’t you frightened?”. The answer is “No”. That thought just didn’t come into my head. Whist I was in hospital they kept me pretty busy and even brushing my teeth was a challenge, funny and took most the morning to start off with. I was very lucky to have two amazing girlfriends look after me whilst there alongside my extraordinary sons;  one literally by my side every day and the other, half way round the world, phoning me every day.

Even when I was transferred to Kings Lynn things were ok. The issues started when I actually came home! I was overwhelmed by the love and support by family, friends and clients BUT I needed a fighter on my side. I didn’t have any fight in me and my experience is it is the moment you leave hospital you have a battle on your hands. That battle probably started just before I came home – a pattern of a life time, I looked weller than I was. Within days of being home I was in agony. A day at a time I haven’t felt a victim and most importantly haven’t lost my sense of humour. You have to hold onto that humour even through the tears and anger …

This is probably a good place to stop and I will post the next blog soon …

Happiness

Genuine happiness can only be achieved when we transform our way of life from the unthinking pursuit of pleasure to one committed to enriching our inner lives, when we focus on ‘being more’ rather than simply having more.

Daisaku Ikeda

 

At some random moment in the Summer still pondering of whether I was procrastinating or not this year, I signed up for a MOOC. No, I didnt know what that was either – it is a Massive Open Online Course. Yes, it turned out to be MASSIVE. It started two weeks ago and 100,000 people are taking part from all over the world and the subject is The Science of Happiness. Just the the thought of 100,000 people wanting to explore what happiness means to them made me happy because it is giving me hope.

The Science of Happiness | Positive Psychology | edX

https://www.edx.org/…/uc…/uc-berkeleyx-gg101x-sciencehappiness-14…

The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful …

What else makes me happy? Well it could be something as banal as finding just the right cake tin. What increased the feeling was that I found it on the Thursday Market in Fakenham reinforcing what I say about my home town: “if I stand there long enough, I always find just what I need”.
Web
Seeing this beautiful spider’s web on a wet and dreary morning made me happy, if it hadn’t been wet and dreary I wouldn’t have noticed it.
On the course I was reminded that we change 1% of our cells every day. If I can breathe in those feelings of happiness, perhaps I can make that 1% really worthwhile. My family, my friends, my work, my environment all bring me happiness and one of the questions I have is how can I sustain it realistically. I have a feeling that working on that 1% is part of the key.
Many different meditation practices can also be part of that key and one that comes to mind is Loving KIndness Meditation (Metta) where you give loving kindness to yourself, then someone you love, then someone you are not particularly fond of and finally someone you dislike. Then you send the kindness out into the Universe. This meditation is becoming more and more popular and again that brings hope and happiness for our future.
I was very happy to randomly meet a friend on the platform the other morning and we travelled down to London together. I love the apparent “random” happenings in my life. Being with a like minded person for an hour or so makes me happy and he told me about this funny and moving Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson which I am happy (oh dear!) to share with you as the subject is close to my heart.
Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity | Talk Video | TED.com

and so my happiness increases just sharing this with you…