Thursday, 19 October 2017

Those difficult decisions.



What on earth does this picture have to do with difficult decisions? Because it comes under the list of 'Something's got to go'. A positive army is working on keeping me emotionally, mentally and physically healthy, made up of family, friends, doctors, nurses and psychiatrists. Most of my problems would be solved by money, but with my first house unsold, I am in a fix. Many people who posted to my blog 'When is a house a home' were in the invidious position of sorting out divorce – which counts with bereavement and house moving as the top stress reasons.

All three present hard and also emotional decisions. Where to live? (We are asked, if one of us dies, would the other return to UK and family? Love family, but No.) Money is paramount with divorce, the cost of re-housing mind-bending (many people now living in our area are only here because they could afford a property after divorce). And I've watched, personally, grandchildren commuting between separated parents – they all coped, and thrived, not always the case. I could write a book on watching our peer group 'down-sizing'.

They have dogs, so must stay with the garden. The dogs die, and sentimentality prevails over sense. If you have a big house, with lovely family furniture, the tug of parting with furniture can be as bad as the bereavement – so many memories. The garden's too big, you can't do it yourself, can't afford (or even find) a gardener, so you nag the family, who live 300 miles away and hate gardening anyway. My tall sons DO cut hedges – but possibly through blackmail – I will fall off the ladder or cut the flex of the hedge-cutter. (The pharmacist's son did just that).

So, back to the picture and my own particular decision making. My mother, who lived to nearly a 100, dying in 2001 (10 years after we moved to France) stayed with us a lot, attending all family gatherings, and spent 18 months with our eldest son and wife (everlastingly grateful) before moving into an excellent home. Every time I started preparations, every time, she would say 'It's a lot of work', and 'What do you want to make all the fuss for'. 'Because I like it, Mummy, and I love receiving and pleasing guests'.

So, gardening and a beautifully laid table and well-presented food are still important in my life, and I will hang on, grimly. The latest visiting son noted that the house was none too clean. He suggested that he and his brothers would club together to pay for a 'one off' professional cleaner. If they should be willing to subsidize their Mum, I will accept three days in a hotel with a swimming pool, a beach to walk along, not having to get up at 7.30 every morning, and, thus rejuvenated, I will do my own housework!

Those who are in the thick of moving, and for those for whom it is just a bad dream, what would you keep, or give up?

The Gardener
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/those-difficult-decisions

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

What helps you?

In my blog "Go with the Flow Part 1" on 19th September 2017, Daisy kindly pointed me in the direction of eannegram. This isn't a blog about eannegram itself, which I have found really helpful in understanding some of my behaviours and those of my alcoholic sister.  (Nor is it another blog about my sister.)

It has reminded me that there is so much wisdom, advice and support out there – whether from websites, books, family and friends, professionals, peer groups... the list is endless! It got me revisiting the books and resources I have acquired over the years, all of which helped me at different stages and in different ways.

So, lovely Moodscopers, today I invite you to choose one thing (just one!) that helped you in the past, and maybe is currently helping you or could help you at the moment. Let's share our experience and create a list which everyone can refer to when moods dip and times are tough. Let's see how long a list we can produce... Oh, and of course Moodscope is at the top so no-one can mention it again!

I suggest we don't repeat any resource; only one per Moodscoper – though we can "reply" to another person's suggestion: it will be interesting to see if some resources are more popular than others.

Mine is Louise Hay "You can heal your life" – which taught me so much about the negative thought patterns in our minds, and the power of affirmations to turn things around.

Your turn!

Frankie
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/what-helps-you

Monday, 16 October 2017

All Your Life Is A Rehearsal For Today.

It's an interesting aphorism, isn't it? What if all your life has been a rehearsal for this very day?

Isn't this the truth?

All your experience, all your emotions, all your beliefs, all the meaning you've ascribed to all the events that have happened to you, everything you've said, everything you've thought, everything you've felt – all these things will influence the choices you make today.

And those choices will influence today's 'Show'.

So, if today is 'Show Time!' and you've already showed up for it, what's the Show going to be called? What's it going to be about? What kind of genre: comedy, drama, musical, adventure, fantasy...?

And who is going to be in the Show?

Not only have you rehearsed your whole Life for today, you can also exercise creative control.

· You can influence who is in the cast; Who's 'in' and who's 'out'?

· You can influence where the Show takes place;

· You can influence what happens when;

· You can influence the pace of what happens;

· You can influence what part you'll play, what you'll say, and who you'll say it to;

· And you can influence the outcome – the ending – the finale – the result.

I say 'influence' because there are other players who have also been rehearsing for today.  They'll have their part to play too, and they'll have their say, but let's not forget who the Star is, shall we?

Time to Shine!

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/all-your-life-is-a-rehearsal-for-today


Sunday, 15 October 2017

The cogs turn the wheel.

I may have bored you silly by now rambling on about my best friend. (The tree.) But he is a big part of my life and I like sharing his wisdom and his guidance. He is currently amber in colour. He winks when the sun tickles him and he is giving parts of himself away when the winds get close.

He is my marker. He is my spot. I look at him when I want to know where I am. If I am low on energy he reminds me to stop. And I stop with him. If I am needing to move he reminds me that my movements need just to be regular, not big. We all need a marker. A guide.   Having no partner, I need him to be my sensible head. And he is always, always there. I learned communication needs not the spoken word.

Having him as my marker has proved to be invaluable to me. And I don't really care if it's a little crazy to place my trust in a tree. It works for me. It gets me through.

Do you have a marker? A magnet to attract you, a candle in a hurricane lamp, a compass, the horizon, a written down plan, a mantra or prayer, perhaps a training schedule or a project. Something that brings you method and result. It can be a bit of a life saver.

Love from

The room above the garage
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/the-cogs-turn-the-wheel

Saturday, 14 October 2017

How do you handle rejection?

Kate Di Camillo winner if 3 Newberry Awards for Children's Literature received an incredible 473 rejection letters within a 6-year period before her first novel 'Because of Winn-Dixie' was published.

When Kate talks to students she uses a theme of persistence and determination. She likes to make a guessing game out of the number of times her writing was knocked back.

Children usually start at 5, then go to 10 and then think they are brave and say 50.

When Kate says no it is way more than that, the students are puzzled as to why she kept going and going only to be rejected again and again.

She explains to students that while she could not control whether she was talented she could keep on trying.

I think I would have given up probably before 100 rejection letters as my self-belief, self-esteem and self-worth would have been exhausted.

I assume that with each rejection she was spurred on to write something new or improve what she had written so the same book was not rejected 473 times. It was the tally of letters for all the writing she submitted over the years.

I find this an amazing story of determination or was it sheer stubbornness that kept her going.

I wonder if she had not been published after 473 rejections would she have gone to 500 or more. Did she have a cut-off point?

Would you have had the determination to keep going?

It can be for anything not just writing, anything you get rejected for, or are not succeeding at, would you persist no matter how long it took?

Or would you say I did my best and give up when you had given all you could?

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/how-do-you-handle-rejection

Friday, 13 October 2017

I am feeling lonely.

I am feeling lonely. There I've got it off my chest. I am feeling lonely and hurt and that's painful.

I knew that last week was going to be quiet as my kids were going off on holiday with their Dad, my Mum was off on holiday with a friend and my sister and family were also off up in Scotland. So as well as my day job, it was my job to keep an eye on my lovely but elderly Dad. This I did well. Curry was cooked on Wednesday night, we had a little day trip to a garden centre with a spot of lunch, a few hours I will treasure forever, and in chaos, as my cooker broke midweek, I produced Sunday dinner for him and my kids at his house despite having to grapple with a new oven which he had no idea how to work and simultaneously arbitrate a fight about felt tip pens.

Over the years I have developed a good sense of cherishing the moment and am pretty good at finding little pleasures in the small things. Indeed I am normally someone who is quite happy in my own company so this feeling of searing loneliness is a bit of a shock. At the heart of this is that two of my friends who I hold dear and have been good friends over some years have been too busy to see me and maybe are no longer as good friends as they once were or I had hoped for.

Now I know that I am patient and loyal, and I am trying to stop that cycle of negative thinking that starts with "Why me?" and if continued would, after a tirade of personal self-criticism, result in a complete character assassination of myself. I am also having to restrain myself from lashing out. I don't do it often but if I do it rarely ends well.

So I have realised that I am normally so busy I don't have time to take stock but work is quiet, people are away and so I have had plenty of time for reflection. Some of this has led to me making new plans for the Autumn, a determination to catch up with friends who maybe live further away and a pottery course booked for Fridays in Autumn. But taking stock has also led to my feeling cross and disappointed.

I hope this blog is not too self-indulgent. It has taken me years to develop the emotional intelligence to understand and name my feelings and to believe they are valid.

So this time I'm not offering platitudes or funny stories of life as a single parent, today I am asking for advice. How do you cope with rejection and what do you do when you feel lonely?

As for me, I will hunker down to the afternoon play and let life drift slowly by until I have licked my wounds and re-discovered my "va va voom".

Yours

Brum Mum
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/i-am-feeling-lonely

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hectic (lifestyle):

Help needed to slow down
Enthusiastic to the point of obsession/addiction
Capable of many things and clever thoughts
Time to put the plan into action
Interested in everything, but not one focus
Calming does me a power of good.

The mind works all the time we are asleep. I wake early, and try to get an extra half hour's sleep. To no avail: my brain is cranking up like the central heating boiler, and will not switch off.

Unlike the central heating boiler, I can't rush downstairs and alter the settings on the control box, switch to the "Off" button.

For some time, I review plans for the day ahead: this to do, a phone call to make, mustn't forget. But as we have guests staying, I can't pad downstairs to make a cup of tea. There is a dog in the living room, who will wake and then that will be it... owners say he doesn't settle again. So, I sip the water from the glass by my bedside, aware of my husband's peaceful breathing as he sleeps on in the marital bed, and do the acrostic above, using the first letter of my chosen word, hectic, to start a thought on the matter.

My current hectic lifestyle provides the skeleton for this simple exercise. We used to give acrostics to the pupils at school to do quite often. Today, it helps sort out some of my brain fog, and stops me going into overdrive. I have taken hold of the reins, and "held back the horses", gaining a measure of control over whirring thoughts.

What ways do you use to help your mind relax when it is too crowded?

How effective is this in relaxing you for the day ahead?

I'd be interested to know what methods others try when sleep evades them, and the mind is galloping?

Sally
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/slow-down-youre-going-too-fast-now

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Giving Comfort.

We all think we know what that means, don't we?

It's the arm slipped around your shoulders when you are hurt or grieving; the soft words of solace. It may be physical, as a warm quilt is placed around you; as you are led towards a sofa, and your hand is gently held. * Comfort is consolation in times of trouble.

Comfort is ease. In the words of an old-fashioned advertising brochure (I believe for a horse drawn carriage – which just shows how old-fashioned it is), "Four persons may travel in perfect comfort." We talk of our bed being comfortable. We speak of a comfortable relationship or a comfortable silence. In this context, we mean that the bed does not poke us in our tender places; our relationship springs no surprises; the silence does not demand words to fill the emptiness. Comfort has no awkwardness, confrontations or demands.

But if that is all we think of "Comfort", then we do it less than justice.

Now, please bear with me. Remember that I am a writer and that words are my language (ahem).

The word "comfort" used to mean far more than it does now.

If we go back to the etymology of the word, we see it is made up of the Latin "con/com" – meaning much or greatly, and "fortis", meaning to strengthen.

So, to "comfort" is better expressed as to "encourage" or "inspire".

The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the invasion of England by William the Conqueror. In one panel, a bishop is seen laying about a group of reluctant soldiers with the flat of his sword. The caption says: "Bishop Odo comforts the troops."  Hmmm – a strange kind of comfort we may think!

But in the bible Jesus says to his disciples (John 14:16), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." This is normally assumed to be the Holy Spirit, which (who) alighted upon the disciples at Pentecost, changing them from terrified, cowering individuals into a force which changed the world (for good or ill is your own view). That force is hardly one which uses soft cushions and comfy chairs!

Today I asked my friend of "longest standing" to be my comforter. I poured my heart out to her and said: "I need you to be straight with me. Am I being stupid?"

She was straight. She was firm. She was enormously encouraging. But she presented me with a challenge. She was my "comfort".

I need to rise to that challenge. And it is hard. One day, I may be able to share with you just how hard.

In the meantime, I wish you comfort. Not the cosy comfort of the easy chair, but the robust comfort of encouragement – and the force to face what you prefer to ignore. May you rise to it!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

*And at this point I am irrepressibly reminded of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition torture sketch: "Cardinal Fang – fetch the comfy chair!" http://bit.ly/2fYiyze ; I am sorry for it – but there it is!

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/giving-comfort

Monday, 9 October 2017

Back to University.

The guy on Reception at the Best Western Hotel was not happy. He couldn't cope with the flow of customers... increasingly irritable customers. He told me he was "stressed." I didn't need to be told, but I'm glad he shared. I sympathised.

That little bit of rapport through sympathy was enough for him to open up. He confessed he was going to leave. This was the fourth hotel he'd been at - and I'm guessing they were all as 'bad' as one another. It wasn't his fault.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H...

My heart went out to this young man because I could see his future. He was running from problems instead of embracing them. I knew that as soon as he changed hotels again, he would encounter exactly the same types of issues as he was clearly failing to face here. Whether it's a job or a relationship - running from the problem only ends in finding the same issue reincarnated in your next scenario.

This is why I love problems.

They save me a fortune in University fees.

Let me explain and expand. If you're like me, you'll be bombarded by 'opportunities' to subscribe to expensive educational sites. What these sites fail to realise is that I am already enrolled in an amazing educational programme... for free!

Not only am I enrolled, I get to take the same class over and over again until I pass! And when I pass, I graduate to a whole new level of 'problems as my teachers'!

Now, don't get me wrong. I secretly 'hate' problems. I'd like an easy life. But this is not a realistic expectation - I know that now. Problems S-T-R-E-T-C-H my mind and it never returns to its earlier size or state. Problems make me a better man - more resilient - more able to cope...

...IF...
...if I learn from them.

Otherwise, I encounter the same problem clothed in another situation or difficult person to deal with.

Recognise now that you too are enrolled in the University of Life where problems are your best teachers.

And here's today's opportunity to share. I'd LOVE to hear about problems that you have overcome on your journey so far - and what you've learned from them.

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/title-back-to-university

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Being nice.

Hands up anyone who thinks they are too nice?

This last week has been a challenging one for me.

Certain people set off the train of thought in my mind that perhaps I am just too nice to others for my own good and actually some people to whom I was nice didn't really like it or appreciate it.

A very good friend told me I was too nice and should step back a bit and not always try to please.

A close family member told me that practically everything she had in her house, I had bought for her and she had too much and to stop buying. My husband of course loved to hear this.

These two people might be right but what they didn't know (through no fault of their own, I just hadn't explained it to them) was the reason why I was too nice and tried to please.

I think it all stems from a feeling of inadequacy on my part.  I have away felt wrongly or rightly that I don't contribute much in terms of humour or light heartedness and am too serious overall. So I tend to be a pleaser and to make up for the lack of normal skills, which other people who don't suffer from depression or low moods seem to posses quite naturally, I am just nice.

I am going to try to stand back a little and not exactly turn into a not nice person but not try so hard to please. The family member who spoke in haste to me but was probably right, may miss the thoughtful practical things I buy her but at least I will give her the chance and space to miss them.

Do others think they are too nice? Any advice would be gratefully received on my part. I don't want or can't undergo a complete personality change but I do think it's time for a slight change in my behaviour. I don't think I can change my low moods but I may be able to make this small alteration to my constantly wanting to be nice (so boring!), to buy to make up for perceived inadequacies and to please.

Jul
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/being-nice