Monday, 27 February 2017

Grace.

One of my daily delights is to watch the birds enjoying the food we put out for them.  This abundance of food – over and above any expectations of the Season – is a simple example of 'grace'.  Grace is 'unmerited favour'.

Our lovely winged friends don't 'deserve' this gift. They haven't 'earned' this gift. I, for one, am somewhat 'offended' by the thought that they should have to 'earn' their gifts from me. For me, it is a great pleasure just to give. You may argue I am expecting something in return, but let's agree to disagree on that. I get pleasure from seeing them enjoying this abundance, for sure, but they are going to get the gift whether I see them enjoy it or not.

My pleasure is in the giving to creatures who cannot return the favour.

The Moodscope blog is a great place to be honest and bare one's soul. Honestly, then, I am not sure anymore whether the Universe is a friendly place or not, or whether there is any higher power particularly active at the moment, but I do know there are many gracious people on the Planet. These are the people who enjoy giving without expecting anything in return, and I am grateful for them.

My point today? If the Universe is a friendly place, is it possible that it might get pleasure from bestowing on you today a gift that you haven't had to earn, a kindness that you don't particularly deserve, and an enrichment that you don't have to pay back?

I hope so. And I hope that, today at least, you'll be as open as the birds to the surprise bounty of abundance that could be coming your way.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/grace

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Life goes on.

It's so very hard to comprehend
How life can still go on
That birds will keep on singing
Even though they know you've gone.

Why does the sun keep on shining
Though you're no longer here?
The raindrops keep on falling
As if you're still so near.

Why do the flowers prepare to bloom?
Their growth showing no repent
When surely they all must know
You'll no longer smell their scent?

Why do I still feel you everywhere
And ache so much within
Why does my head mock me so
whispering that you'll walk back in.

... Well the birds will keep on singing
And the sun will always shine
For they all know better than me
You hear them all the time.

You'll feel the sun and all its warmth
Through bodies that feel no pain
You'll see the horses grazing
And the dogs playing in the lane.

You'll feel joy when we're happy
Laugh at our jokes and smile
For you haven't totally left us
Just moved on for a little while.

And one day we'll all meet up again
It's part of the inevitable
But til then I'll try my very best
To live life to the very full.

Rosemary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/life-goes-on

Saturday, 25 February 2017

It was just a wig.

When I was seven I came home from school to find a woman in our kitchen with short light brown hair. I screamed. I demanded "What have you do with my mum?" She explained that she was my mum but how could she be, my mother had long dark brown hair that she always wore in a bun on top of her head.

I ran out of the house and down the street crying wondering where my mother was. Eventually this woman found me and took off her short hair and I realized she indeed was my mother. It was also the day I discovered what a wig was.

Everyone in my family laughs at this anecdote and chant, it was just a wig! They say how could you have feared a wig? In my defense, there were not a lot of wigs in the suburbs of Sydney in the 1960s!

I see it as the start of my having difficulty coping with change.

My mother assumed that a seven year old would be able to recognize her own mother but with a different hairstyle. Not me, my mother had the same hair colour and hairstyle all my seven years and I thought it would never change.

From this early age I always had difficulty with changes even if it was a desirable change. I have never avoided change I just find the thought of things being different to be challenging.

I am not talking about life changing events or traumatic changes but rather those changes we need to handle throughout our life.

What about you? Can you remember a moment, a story from your past or your present which illustrates how you cope with change?

Do you think it makes a difference if it is a desirable change rather than a negative change?

Leah
A  Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/it-was-just-a-wig

Friday, 24 February 2017

Let it go... Let it go...

Families, eh? Can't live with 'em... Can't live without 'em!!

When I am in the middle of a family fued/fight/disagreement/issue or even simply sitting watching from the sidelines or listening to others, I try to think...WWJD? (As Christian teenager's wristbands often remind them... "What Would Jesus Do?")

It makes me stop before I speak and try to see things from the perspectives of:

A. God the Father, our ultimate judge and Jesus His Son, our Saviour
B. The 'instigator or aggressor' and their loyal friends and family
C. An unbiased onlooker
D. Myself as a child and as an adult

Looking at an issue from different perspectives can help me avoid saying or doing something I may later regret. Once hurtful words are spoken we have no control over their impact. (Even if you later apologise - the damage is done - you can't take them back again!).

This is the first time I have had the courage to write a blog, although I have commented occasionally in the past...

I feel empowered by simply putting my thoughts into words on yet another restless night at 4.30 am on the morning and sharing with this wonderful moodscope community so I'd encourage anyone who is a bit nervous of blogging for the 1st time..'JUST DO IT!'

I was diagnosed with bipolar about 30 years ago and have to take meds with nasty side effects, but if only I could practice what I preach I am still hopeful life could just be calm enough for me to manage without the meds at all.

Sue
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/let-it-go-let-it-go

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Dealing with anxiety.

I have experienced anxiety in some form for the past twenty years. For the most part, my anxiety has been 'managed' through avoidant behaviours which don't actually manage my anxiety at all. When anxiety is doing the thinking for me, I struggle to think and act. The simplest of acts becomes virtually impossible and I find myself retreating back to bed, unable to deal with things. This avoidant behaviour only reinforces anxiety's grip upon my brain, and so she will do more of my thinking the next time the situation comes around.

However, I am learning that I can fight back. It is hard work, and sometimes I really don't want to or have the energy in me to fight. Anxiety has had a grip on my brain for a long time and she has made herself well and truly at home over the past eighteen months when I have not been well, though I am firmly on the road to recovery now. I'm a very logical person when anxiety is not ruling my brain and I am fighting back with logic. Again, this is not easy and some days are significantly better than others. Anxiety does not like it when I question her decisions. Anxiety says 'no' when I want to say 'yes', so I'm trying to say 'yes' more often to those things which anxiety would usually prevent me from doing to show her that she doesn't matter and that I can manage, regardless of the fireworks she sets off in my brain to stop me.

As well as fighting with logic, I have added mindfulness and meditation to my anxiety armoury. Once, when a panic attack started when I was driving (the majority of my anxiety resides here), I even found myself swearing very loudly at anxiety and telling her in no uncertain terms to go away as she was not wanted. I'm not sure that's going to become a recommended strategy, but it certainly worked for me at the time!

So, I will continue to fight anxiety each day with whatever strategy I can find. I will continue to say 'yes' when anxiety says 'no'. Do you have any other anxiety busting weapons to add to the armoury?

Rats
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/dealing-with-anxiety

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Reconciliation and Restoration.

Family can be wonderful. I love my family, I value my family; but, oh, I how cherish my friends.

There are many levels of friendship of course, and many reasons for friendship. My friend of longest standing (we do not use the term "oldest friend" for obvious reasons) has known me for 42 years. We see each other only every month or so, but inside ten minutes will be finishing each other's sentences. A friend who was once my neighbour moved to the States seven years ago but we text nearly every day. Another friend is my eagle-eyed Moodscope buddy who regularly comments on my score and supports me through my down times. I love them all.

2016 was a bad year for many of us. It was particularly tough on my family. We had broken bones, surgical operations, a serious car crash, the stress of demolishing and rebuilding our house and things going disastrously wrong for my son Tom and his partner. Oh, and a worse than usual bipolar cycle for me.

In the middle of this, I nearly lost a very dear friend.

Oh, it was entirely my fault; not that that made it any easier.

I had known Raz for only a year. Although I had told him about my bipolar he had not lived through my cycles of mania and depression. And I had not told him what to expect, for there always seemed to be other things to talk about. Many, many other things: that's friendship.

So, when my mania arrived it was a shock. Who was this unreasonable, demanding, jealous, raging creature? Who was this person who abandoned him just when he really needed a friend? I wrote my blog "Bipolar Exploding Hedgehog" (26th October 2016) and cut myself off.

I regretted it of course. I regretted it within 48 hours, but the damage had been done. After an exchange of bitter and angry emails Raz retreated into silence. My texts went unanswered and even unread.

"Let him go, Mum," said Tom. "Some friendships are not meant to last forever."

But I couldn't let go. Friendship is too valuable to just – let go. Especially in hurt and anger.

On Christmas Day I tried reaching out yet again over that chasm of pain and betrayal. And this time Raz replied. Perhaps it helped that we share a Christian faith and Christmas is a time of peace and reconciliation.

It's taken a while. We have had to feel our way into something that is not quite the same. To trust each other with silly jokes and to share our creativity together; to lean on each other again. We are mutually fearful of further misunderstanding. The flip side of love is pain.

But it is worth it. It was worth reaching out again and again. I don't know if I could have done it for years rather than the two months it took. I do know it would still be worth it.

Friendship is a most precious gift.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/reconciliation-and-restoration

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

One sided.

Prompted by Jane, in my last blog, about things sometimes appearing 'one sided' and also talk of parents recently, I thought I would share my relationship with my dad, or lack of!  He is still with us, but I rarely see him.

He left us when I was a child, he fell in love with another woman, who he had been having an affair with for some time. I didn't really hold it against him, you cannot help who you fall in love with. He saw my sister and I on a regular basis when we were children and some of my best memories are with him.

When we got older, contact became less and less, like he didn't know how to relate to us anymore. He wasn't there for us anymore, refused invites, made excuses if we asked for anything and didn't bother with his grandchildren (my sister's kids).

We tried and tried in different ways but eventually it was time to give up. We were not getting anywhere and as Pennie-Lynn said in her response to my last blog, you have to accept the way things are...

His wife died of cancer some years ago now, she was only 49 (10 years younger than him) so this was a massive shock. It was quick and unpleasant and my dad turned to me, ringing me at every given opportunity. I was there for him of course, my sister however, had a completely different attitude. "He hasn't been there for us, so why should we be there for him".

When my step mum was moved to a hospice, with only days to live, I moved in with my dad to support him. I put my whole life on hold and would not leave him alone at any given time.  I was there when he received the dreaded phone call, I was there to arrange the funeral, to help him with all of the paperwork, I stayed with him for a good few months. How could I leave my father to cope alone?

It wasn't an easy time, as others must have thought, "He's ok, his daughter is with him" so we had little support.

I also foolishly believed our relationship had been rekindled and that we would become close again. We had conversations we had never had before.

But my dad couldn't bear being alone, as in not in a relationship, he often told me this, I was no substitute for a partner or wife. "Better than nobody", I would reply.

He met someone else very quickly, through one of the support groups he attended.

And I was dumped! He had no interest in anything but her, to the point of obsession, which may have been his way of coping, I understand that.

But I felt used.

I didn't get my dad back.

I don't regret it, I would probably do it all over again...

Molly
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/one-sided

Monday, 20 February 2017

Alice or Malice in Wonderland?

We all live in a wonderful land. Sometimes, what happens is less than wonderful but the potential is always there for wonder. Our biggest and most prevalent wonder is:

I wonder what this means?

Humankind's quest for meaning haunts us every day. We may go deep and seek the very meaning of life itself, or we may just try to get through the day wondering what the meaning is behind the actions and words of our colleagues, customers, friends, and family.We may even question the meaning behind our own actions as in,

Why did I do that? What was I thinking?!

Our answer to, "I wonder what this means?" can easily lead to the positive adventure of Alice in Wonderland, or it can just as easily lead to the nightmare of Malice in Wonderland. This was brought home to me recently when a third-party informed me of how a
friend had allegedly criticised me behind my back. I had no evidence - just what the third party had shared. The 'witness' was a credible one, as was the criticism, so I began to wonder...

On this occasion I chose Malice in Wonderland. I was hurt, offended, and I lashed out. A better path to choose would have been one where I either ignored the unsubstantiated report, or spoke directly with the alleged critic, or even better, asked a better question. This one:

"What else could this mean?"

As soon as we ask, "What else could this mean?" we open the door (or the looking glass) to Wonderland. It is the question of the philosopher and the scientist - that leads to deep discoveries, but it is also the question of the expert in relationships. By settling
on not one but multiple meanings, we can soften the blow of Malice.

When a loved one says or does something that grates against our emotions, asking this magical question can help us think twice, or multiple times before jumping to conclusions and making harmful assumptions. It can give us pause for thought, and even help us
become wiser.

Whether my friend criticised me behind my back or not, I know he has my well-being at heart. Who hasn't ever said something about someone else behind their back? Isn't gossip the tastiest delicacy - especially in delicate matters? Asking instead, "What else could this mean?" could well save a friendship, avoid conflict, and open positive possibilities to rival Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!

If you're having a tough time at the moment, it may not mean that the Universe is out to get you! Ask yourself, "What else could this mean?" and let healing thoughts flow bringing comfort.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/alice-or-malice-in-wonderland

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Can't sleep.

Can't sleep. Not unusual at all since I got the news about my brother passing. I feel so tired, I think I'm going to be able sleep then I can't. Then the tiredness is like a vicious circle and I feel worse.

I'm not sure how to grieve, if there is a wrong way or a right way? Knowing it is better for him doesn't make it feel better for me.

Some days I can pretend it's not happened. Like on Christmas Day so the kids could have a great time, and even New Year when there was a good reason not to sleep and I felt almost happy and positive and ready to make changes. But resuming work felt meaningless and like wading through mud. All my passion was gone. And I'm missing my humour as I rely on my humour so much, for so many things, including to hide my insecurities.

My Mum taught me to always find humour in everything, I miss her so much, the Mum she was. She is blissfully unaware, as she has forgotten already, but she kept asking for my brother when I stayed with her on Boxing Day. I felt so angry at the world at that point. I guess it's down to Time. And right now I'm staring at the clock on the wall, Time is driving me nuts.

No need to reply. I just needed a very safe place to voice this without feeling like I'm burdening anyone. I feel indulgent talking about it but I know I can trust you. Hopefully now I can sleep. I know I will feel better again.

Possibly even in the morning.

Jane
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/cant-sleep

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Today I was amazing.

Well, to be more accurate, it was last Sunday.

Many Moodscope blogs and comments advocate self-kindness. Yet many of us are all too familiar with the inner critic which taunts and heckles; that dismisses hope and diminishes enthusiasm and achievements. My own head voice tells me regularly and firmly how completely rubbish I am. And I believe it unconditionally.

So what caused this turnaround in thinking, in someone who is highly resistant to the notion that thoughts can be challenged and up-ended in a CBT kind of a way?

I've been frightened of flying for all of my adult life. And not just scared, but filled with absolute terror about the 'being trapped in so high up' issue to the point of wanting to escape and feel safe. Which really isn't helpful at 30,000 feet.

But there's a great big, beautiful world out there which, someday, somehow, I'd like to see and experience more of.

So on Sunday I joined about 100 other fearful flyers on a course which was designed to help us tackle our fears.

The day was filled with information, advice and the greatest support, but was also intense and quite emotional for me. Yet with much trepidation and a couple of false starts I boarded the plane that afternoon. We took to the skies and, instead of being filled with sheer terror, I thought how amazing it was to be high above fluffy white clouds infused with a golden glow from the winter sun. And how amazing we all were for being on that flight.

I don't think I've conquered my fears, but I've faced them head on and given them warning of my intentions. And maybe, just maybe, this new-found self-belief will filter its way into other areas of my thinking and my life.

But amazing doesn't just come in big, scary packages. Amazing is the blog which offers advice or insight into hard-earned experience when the writer might be going through the toughest of times. Amazing can be the comments which offer support, humour and understanding from afar. And most amazing of all, is everyone in the Moodscope community for simply hanging on in there.

With love

Dragonfly
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/today-i-was-amazing