Thursday, 5 May 2016


I came across this word the other day and was immediately attracted to it – for reasons I know not.

Senescence comes from the Latin word senesere, meaning 'to grow old'. It is all about our gradual deterioration as organisms.

What this radio programme highlighted was that senescence can be slowed and delayed and some were predicting a future where there is no reason why we should not be living over one hundred years!

Now...did that strike fear or hope into you?

My work often uses the four quotients, in order to make people aware of what they can do to make themselves healthier and more balanced to also improve their families and organisations.

PQ – physical – Human Living – To Live
IQ – intellectual – Human Doing – To Learn
EQ – emotional – Human Being – To Love
SQ – spiritual – Being Human – To Leave a Legacy

Most organisations, I believe, falsely focus on their IQ (the cognitive ability to memorise facts and solve puzzles) almost to the exclusion of the other three.

This follows on 'schooling' from the age of five – and we see the present rebellion against yet more IQ tests in primary schools presently.

I believe it would be far better if education was far broader than almost solely IQ schooling and included, in some way, the other three quotients (health, relationships and meaning) i.e. the whole person and not just the brain. In this present 'system', our bodies are simply mechanisms for carrying our brains around, with our heads tilted to one side - the left – to grow our rational abilities!

As far back as 1934 it was discovered that too many calories not only made us fat but also doubled the speed of our senescence!

So we have the clear IQ understanding that calorie intake can half our lifespan and yet last month was the first month in the history of this planet, that there were more obese people than starving people!

There is also the latest research that not only does exercise keep us more mentally healthy, it actually increases the size and ability of our brain. This is clearly shown by halving senescence in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

So my question on senescence, on a mental health web site is, 'What are we doing in all four quotients to ensure we stay as healthy as we can and while like me, not avoiding mental health issues, reducing them to the smallest effect on our lives and the lives of our families?'

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." John Lennon

A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Playing Your Part.

I am privileged to be part of an interesting musical project. Music inspired by chocolate! How great is that?

Let me explain. A while ago I met up with Cheryl Brighty who owns a chocolate shop. She makes the most wonderful chocolates and has awards to prove it. It was a Christmas Fayre and she had dark chocolate with frankincense and gold leaf. Well – who could resist trying that? An utterly amazing taste sensation.

I have synaesthesia so for me this chocolate had deep cello notes, a wild violin line on top and chromatic xylophone scales around the sides (I taste in sound and hear in colour: it all makes sense to me even if it sounds weird to you). Cheryl was fascinated and said her daughter Emily, who was studying music, would be interested too.

So a few months later I found myself with a box of chocolates and instructions to write down the sounds they made as I tasted them. Emily then wrote the music, arranged an orchestra of assorted volunteers and last Saturday we met up in All Saints Church, Newmarket to rehearse and record the piece.

It was awe inspiring for me to hear how Emily had translated my thoughts into real music. And amazing to hear how close it was to what I had "heard".

But this blog isn't about that.

You see, each of we musicians and singers had received only our own parts. None of us (other than Emily) had the full score. None of us knew what the whole piece would sound like, or even what the piece we were playing in would sound like. Some of the chocolates needed only the string section; some percussion; others woodwind; some needed trumpets and horns. The piano was only needed for two chocolates and the singers for three.

It was not until we were all together with Emily conducting us, bringing us in at the right time, that we could begin to hear how everything went together. I could then clearly hear the timpani of the   Madagascan white chocolate. I could hear the cranberry and popping candy and the intense bitterness of the 100% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.

But we could only hear a little at a time as each piece was recorded in isolation. We won't hear the full piece until we receive the CD.

It occurred to me that life is like that. We have only our part to play. We must play it as well as we can and trust that the composer and conductor knows how it all goes. Occasionally we hear how everything comes together; sometimes we play our line, pack up our instrument and go home: we never hear the finished piece.

If we try to play a part other than our own, we will spoil the composer's piece. Just one more reason to be ourselves as well as we possibly can. Our little triangle may be the popping candy that absolutely makes the music really sing.

Oh – and if you'd like to find out more about the project, or indeed the chocolate – here is the link: 

A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A question of balance.

A few weeks ago while I was going on my daily walk in the bush, I tripped on a rock and fell on the dirt, scraping my hand, knee and leg. After I had cleaned my wounds, I thought how little it takes to make one lose one's balance. Whether one is walking or in life, maintaining a balance can be tricky.

Most of my life I have tried to maintain my balance but sometimes like when I fell over, I need to look at what caused me to lose my balance. This time, I was not looking where I was going but was looking at my watch. Something very simple that can be remedied easily. Sometimes it can just mean having breakfast, or remembering to have  a walk, or even to call a friend. Once these things have been done, I am usually fine. That is easily done.

The hard part is when one finds oneself out of kilter, off balance, but cannot find a simple reason. I go through my check list - enough sleep, enough exercise, eating well, writing each day, but somehow I am still very tired or more irritable or impatient that usual. Sometimes it can be something very small that is enough to upset things. Wouldn't it be simple if it was just a matter of looking out for a little rock or a misplaced twig but in life simple things are sometimes harder to spot.

So can you identify a small stone or twig that may have tripped you recently and caused you to lose your balance?

What did you do to restore your balance. Did it work?

A Moodscope member.

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

Monday, 2 May 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life: Letter S for Songs and Stories.

One of the most simple songs by The Carpenters is also one of my favourite. It is called, "Sing".

I suspect that, for copyright reasons, it's not wise to quote the whole song here, so let me lift the themes and you can check it out on YouTube or Spotify... then sing along.

Karen encourages us to sing out loud and strong – which suggests at the top of our voices – with all our heart and soul.

She also suggests we sing about happy and good things, not the sad and bad – there's enough of the latter in the news.

What really struck me, though, was the encouragement to make your song (hats off to Sir Elton) simple enough to last a lifetime – your Signature Song. And, if you really won't bring yourself to sing, your story. What's your song, what's your story, what's your simple message?

I often ask people this question, occasionally framed as, "What's your noble purpose?" It really does need to be simple. I've known mine since I was 18 – to change minds in order to transform experiences. To swap old patterns of thinking for new patterns that offer new choices. Not the catchiest of lyrics but I'm sure I could write a song about it!

What I didn't realise at 18 was that I needed to sing my song to and for myself first – I'm the one who needs to change first. And Karen says that I shouldn't worry about whether my song or my story is good enough for anyone else to hear – it begins with me.

My belief, however, it that when you and I find our song (or make it up) and tell our story in a way that is true to ourselves, then the World will indeed sing along. We know there are over 7 billion people on the Planet now – and many of them, perhaps millions of them, can echo the sentiments of your song – resonating with your message.

Let your story and your song reverberate down the corridors of time, telling of your history and defining your future. I finish with a small direct quote from the song:

Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Here's to singing happy songs this week!

A Moodscope member.

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

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Building blocks.

Piles of paper
Piles of socks
"Piles my dear
Are caused by blocks!"

Block the doorway,
Block the desk,
Block the phone and to do list.
Block the freezer,
Block the car,
Block the garden, don't go far.
Block the people,
Block the door,
Block the cupboards and the floor.
Block the noise out
And the stress,
It's safe inside
with all my mess.

That can go,
It's worn out now,
Sentimental, lost somehow.
Hold on to love,
Hold on tight,
Hold on to nothing with all my might.

To comfort me,
My "precious"stuff
Lies all around and with a gust...

It's stuff and nonsense,
Stuffed myself!
Stuff old books from dusty shelf.
Stuff the rubbish
In the bin,
Recycle out and not within.

Just one corner,
Just one shelf,
One small step to help myself.
Make one call,
A little space,
Take my time, it's not a race!
Take a moment,
Take a rest,
Take a breath and do my best.

It's ok to step outside
Once I've started,
Love the ride!
Around the block,
Or to the trees,
Bubbling brook
And air to breathe.

Release my fists.
Release my pen,
Let all flow out and in again.
Relax my grip
on useless things,
That memory,
The pain it brings.

Be more gentle,
be more kind,
Relax clenched teeth.
Release my mind.

Look at just how far I've come,
I'm stronger now,
No need to run,
To hide within the past, old me,
There's hope ahead.
For now
Just be.

A Moodscope member.

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

Saturday, 30 April 2016

You don't have to be a streaker, a flasher will do.

Did you remember to have a head holiday?
I didn't.
I haven't.
And I am paying the price.

I've been trundling along with weighty thoughts holding my body down. I have actually wished to become (more) ill for that would bring me Rock Bottom and from there, there is but one path. But the path I am on is neither one thing nor another. I am too busy to be achieving things that matter to me, which would bring me up a little. And I am too low to see the wood for the trees. So I must be kind to myself and make little shifts to coax my head somewhere else, thus giving it a head holiday.

It's a phrase I struggle with "be kind to yourself". How? How can we be kind to ourselves? I'll show you mine (woohoo!) and perhaps you will show me yours (chortle!):

I can have that bath.
I can stop putting the TV on late at night and falling asleep upright.
I can get a sheet of paper and I can write out everything that is bothering me, in scribbles or a list, it matters not as nobody will see it.
I can look at the words and phrases and imagine my child had written it. And I can decide upon my reply and remember that I should receive that response.
I can stop playing music at every opportunity and allow my head some space to vomit out its thoughts.
I can start meditating again. It worked for me and I should not have stopped.
I can wear clothes that make me feel loved and held on to.
I can remember that engaging with my Moodscope friends allows me to rise up.

Being kind to ourselves comes in all manner of ways. My most favourite is sneaking to the cinema for a morning showing. There is just enough naughtiness in there to spur me on the day before and after. I haven't done that for over a year. It's time for a head holiday.

OK, I'm practically naked (brrr), now show me yours, embrace your inner flasher!

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:

Friday, 29 April 2016


I have been a member of Moodscope for a number of years now and feel very keenly that sense of knowing it is a safe community to be amongst and also to know that there are many members who comment regularly.

When these people don't comment for a while we miss them; I sometimes contact Caroline at Moodscope and ask where is so and so and often the realisation that someone hasn't appeared on the blog page for a while, is commented on by others.

We each of us need time to reflect, time out from regular commitments and the space to deal with crises and just life basically.

So although we all realise this need, we still miss our friends and worry about their welfare.

This morning on my bike ride, I thought of

Bear (please Bear, give us a little growl).

Norman. (Norman I just loved your joke about the Irish guy being offered a drink before the pub was allowed to sell drink notwithstanding Hopeful's daily jokes so no competition here).

Ratg seems back in the fold, albeit a little quieter than before.

Les is still out there thank goodness. You are a survivor Les.

Rupert? How are you?

Lex..I was sorry to hear you are exhausted and not your usual ebullient self. Please bounce back in your own time.

Debs? Well, I have seen your name recently so will try not to worry.

Di, I hope you are well, I miss your calming words.

And Suzy, I hope you'll be coming back soon.

I am sure you can think of others we are missing. I may have forgotten some and I am sorry but rest assured I am thinking of you.

A Moodscope member

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

Thursday, 28 April 2016

What we look for we find...

I noticed in a comment in one of this week's blogs, that a person used that is what I would call 'away from' language.

This is where someone will say or write something like 'I strive to avoid x' or 'I never want to do y'.

The brain of course does not compute the 'negative'.

It's like my ex-wife saying to the kids as they walk along a narrow wall – "Now watch and not fall off" seeking to protect them, which was more about her own protection of insecurity.

All she did though, is place into their heads the thought of falling off (thus ensuring they continue to 'carry' her own insecure life).

They then fall off – and she says "Told you so" and the child's self-esteem takes another tumble!

In the same situation I would probably say "Now keep your focus, look at the end of the wall and you'll make it."

The child then usually completes the wall walk and grows in self-esteem and self-belief.

So what do you want to move towards – not what do you want to move away from?

If you place in your mind the 'move towards', your subconscious will seek that out and you will more than likely then succeed.

If you place into your mind what you want to move away from – what are you thinking about? The very thing you want to move away from!!! (Don't think about the pink elephant...)

If you want to alter your life or habits more effectively – focus on what you want and NOT what you do not want.

What we look for – we find.

It's how our brain works, and the beauty is, you ARE the programmer.

If you want to see joy – look for it - don't look for less pain - or you'll find more pain.

Don't - want to lose weight - want to be slimmer.

WE create the world's WE live in.

What 'filter' are you putting in the front of your mind today which means it's the same for your eyes and thus your life?

A Moodscope member.

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

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Holding on... And letting go.

"Life's too short..."

How many times have we heard that one? Life's too short to stuff a mushroom. Life's too short to carry grudges. Life's too short to drink bad wine. (I like that one).

I don't hold grudges, but I do hold onto other things. Sometimes I hold on for too long.

I have a birthday next week. For those who are interested in such things, you will know that makes me a Taurean. Those born under the sign of the bull are notorious for their stubborn natures. Hmm - I like to think rather that I demonstrate the virtue of tenacity.

But it can go too far. I spent fifteen years as a chartered accountant – a role utterly unsuited to my creative nature, because I was too stubborn to give up. I spent twelve years in an unhappy marriage because – well – ditto. And there might be some pride in there too. If you don't give up then you have not failed. The moment you give up, then the final score is tallied and – you've fallen short yet again.

The trouble is that holding onto things, whether material things, relationships or jobs when there is no joy remaining, not only sentences us to a pretty grim life, but also prevents us from embracing anything new.

Yes – change is scary, and none of us like to admit defeat, but if we lift our eyes from the thing we are clinging onto, with metaphorical clenched hands and straining fingers, we may see other opportunities ready and waiting to fly straight into our arms.

Please – I am not encouraging any of you to resign from your job right now, or to go home and pack your bags; sometimes holding on is rewarded. But it has to be an active embracing and an openness to change within the existing framework. Change is a constant, we cannot hold on to sameness. If something does not change then it is dead, and even then there will be the inevitable change of decay.

And sometimes change can be in the smallest of things. I finally opened a bag of coffee that has been sitting in my cupboard waiting for the perfect moment. I realised last week that there never will be the perfect moment. So I opened it, and drank it with breakfast. It was good coffee. It would probably have been better coffee had I used it before its best before date – which was 2008...

I told you – I hang onto things too long.

The one thing I've been able to change successfully is that I no longer continue to struggle with books I don't enjoy. Reading is my greatest pleasure. Life's too short to read a book that does not give me that pleasure. Even if it did win the Booker prize last year.

But I will continue to hold onto friends, because friendship is too precious to let go.

A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Is happiness always the answer?

My grandfather told me when we he was in his early 90s that he had never been asked if he was happy. He explained he was too busy living to be worried about wondering if he was happy. That was over 35 years ago, so I wonder what he would think about all the books, blogs, websites, conferences, workshops about happiness.

What is this ever increasing emphasis on happiness. There seems to be pressure to be happy, even if something tragic happens we are being told, encouraged to look for the bright side. A recent survey explained that every person surveyed when asked what they want out of life for themselves and their loved ones, answered they wanted to be happy. I was not asked and if I had been I would have answered that I want myself and my loved ones to live a peaceful life.

If people are always questioning if they are happy or not, this can lead people to think they are not trying hard enough and even to feel guilty. A few years ago my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said she could cope with the cancer but what really made her feel guilty and depressed was all the pressure she felt from the medical profession, well-meaning family members and friends, and the growing number of articles on the internet and books about how she should be positive and see the bright side of her illness.

I think other generations did not have so much time to focus on and examine if they were happy.

I do worry that when happiness is the only objective, people who don't achieve it in spite of reading books attending workshops and following advice from friends and internet, may end up more unhappy than before they made choices that they were told would make them happy.

Just in case people think I am becoming a grumpy old woman, I do like to be happy but all the emphasis on it lately as being the only goal makes me feel uneasy. To me being happy is a by-product of being at peace.

What do you think? Do you think there is an over emphasis on happiness or do you think happiness is the goal we should be aiming for in life?

A Moodscope member

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