Reframe, reframe, reframe!

I have ben thinking a great deal about the way we complain recently. I feel that sadly society has very much become focussed on what is negative (especially the media). I would love to read news which focuses on positive things rather on what has always gone wrong with the world. So today let’s explore this topic. I want to look at reframing ways of looking at things over the next few posts and today I want to discuss the issue of complaining.

When we complain to a company or organisation, there may be a representative of that company on the phone. They may have had six complaints already and may be feeling unwell, or having a bad day. I have sometimes felt extremely cross at a service I have received and have sometimes vented, as probably have most of us. But I am more and more starting to consider the effect my actions have on other people.

The statistics we read about rising energy costs and the effect it has on people are reflective of the people behind those figures. Many people are in low paid jobs and many people have had Covid and may have long Covid. Some customer services representatives or retail workers may be struggling financially and have in many senses been on the front line throughout the pandemic. and of course, not forgetting NHS staff and key workers, such as social workers.

So, I feel it is especially important in these challenging times, to be kind and notice when people do things well and thank them, even if they are just doing their job. There is a lot of suffering going on behind the scenes at the presnt time and I don’t want to add another blow to someone’s already rubbish day.

You may be thinkng I am saying don’t ever complain. I am not. I think the way we complain is very important and not making it personal when someone may be doing their best under challenging circumstances.

Let’s be kind and when we have done that, be kind. Love to you all X

What love looks like

This year I had many lovely cards for Christmas and the majority were from my neighbours, giving their names and house numbers. This really touched my heart, because it was a gesture of welcome and introduction. I also had cards from friends of old. One card particularly struck me as it sent love from someone I hadn’t heard from in a long time.

This got me thinking. When we write love, what do we mean? I think the nature of love is interesting. There is romantic love but also filial or friendship love. So let us have a look at that.

How do we show love in our friendships? Well my feeling is that it is through availability. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. Do we call text or write? Do we show through our actions that we are keeping another in mind? Being available means sometimes putting ourselves out. A text asking how I am makes me feel good and shows the person is keeping me in mind.

Secondly, I think being congruent is very important. By this I mean demonstrating that we care for our friends. Reaching out to them and also understanding their needs. We are all different. My neighbours touched me through their lovely cards and this small gesture made my Christmas, I think being congruent means our actions match our words. If we say we care then we show it. This may be in small gestures but people certainly feel love and friendship.

I think generosity is also very important. Being generous with our time is equally as valuable as giving gifts. And not expecting anything in return. Unconditional love for another human is a huge gift and one that is really needed in our present society.

And finally love is not negative. It always affirms and believes the best of others. Where do we start with this? By loving ourselves, because from that place we can reach out and love other people. Self-care and boundaries are very important too and I will write about that another way.

Here are my suggestions on practical ways of showing love

  1. write a positive message either in a card or text
  2. offer to do something to help someone, for example do some shopping for someone
  3. Ring someone to check they are ok
  4. Buy a gift
  5. go for a walk with a friend

What do you think? How have you experienced friendship, both good and bad? In these testing times, humans need other humans more than ever. Let’s be there for one another.

Onwards and upwards and be magnificent

All images
Queen Elizabeth II

Someone said this to me recently and it kind of stuck. I have been pondering these words and this is going to be my mantra for 2022. However it is all very well saying something, but how do we achieve it? Magnificence doesn’t just happen. So let’s unpick this together.

So, what does magnificent mean? To my mind, the word conveys a sense of wonder, majesty and awe, like attending a royal pageant, or the Trooping of the Colour. I imagine myself taking a sharp intake of breath as I watch and there is also a sense of eager anticipation in the time leading up to the event. Like a wedding (hope you are reading Helen, this will be you!)

So what does the word magnificent mean? There are two definitions, reflecting the lovely shades and hues of the word:

extremely beautiful, elaborate, or impressive.”a dramatic landscape of magnificent mountains”synonyms:splendid · spectacular · impressive · striking · glorious · superb 

·very good; excellent.”she paid tribute to their magnificent efforts”synonyms:admirable · fine · great · wonderful · notable · masterly · skilful · virtuoso · splendid · excellent · impressive · coruscating · marvellous · tremendous

Leading on from this, how then does one become magnificent? I don’t usually describe people as magnificent and I thought of using an example of someone who is magnificent. The one person who comes to mind is the Queen. And this is why I have chose her.

Queen Elizabeth II has served the country of England dutifully over 50 years of service. She faithfully remains in her office, even though she is 90. She is a figurehead for the nation. She engages people and is loved by many many people. She commands respect. She is extremely hard working and faithful to her role. Yes my version of magnificence is the British Queen.

So how can we achieve magnificence in our own lives? I imagine most of us are not in royal circles, although some may be. Now I want to look at another magnificent person who decided to do his bit.

Wikipedia informs that:

Captain Sir Thomas Moore (30 April 1920 – 2 February 2021), more popularly known as Captain Tom, was a British Army officer and fundraiser who made international headlines in 2020 when he raised money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic. He served in India and the Burma campaign during the Second World War, and later became an instructor in armoured warfare. After the war, he worked as managing director of a concrete company and was an avid motorcycle racer.

On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, Moore began to walk 100 lengths of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, with the goal of raising £1,000 by his 100th birthday on 30 April. In the 24-day course of his fundraising, he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the UK, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. In recognition of his efforts, he received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award at the 2020 ceremony. He performed in a cover version of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” sung by Michael Ball, with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts, making him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one.

On the morning of Moore’s 100th birthday, the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million (worth almost £39 million with expected tax rebates). His birthday was marked in a number of ways, including flypasts by the Royal Air Force and the British Army. He received over 150,000 cards, and was appointed as honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College. On 17 July 2020, he was personally knighted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. He died on 2 February 2021 at Bedford Hospital where he was taken after being treated for pneumonia and then testing positive for COVID-19.

The amazing thing about Captain Moore was his humility and down to earth attitude to life and fame. I also observed a lovely twinkle in his eye when he answered questions on topics such as romance. I think he had a lovely sense of humour. He was in my opinion a true embodiment of magnificence.

So turning to myself, how do I apply the adage of: ‘onwards and upwards and be magnificent?’ Well. here are some thoughts for us all. As always, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I am particularly interested to hear from people from other nations.

  1. Show up. I think of the Queen and she rarely cancels her engagements. She always turns up. She is reliable
  2. Be someone people are excited to see. If we are always negative, complaining and sour, it may be that others do not want to see this. The most lovely people I know are not absorbed with their own worries and bring a sense of hope with them
  3. Do not be critical of others. In my head this is not magnificent. It isn’t pleasant to be around someone who berates other people, especially their friends. I then think “if you talk about your friends like that what will you say about me?”
  4. Create a sense of wonder. This can be by holding a lovely party or doing surprise things. Surprise your friends, be spontaneous. It is lovely to receive a card or a present. And be generous. I think this is a lovely way of creating magnificence.
  5. Magnificence takes time and practice. I was reading about Kate Middleton who has released some beautiful pictures to celebrate her 40th birthday. She has grown in magnificence. She has worked hard to develop into a magnificent royal, who will one day be a queen. I feel her road to magnificence has been paved with taking small steps and growing into the role.

So there are some initial thoughts. I am going to aim for magnificence in 2022. How about you?

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Tom_Moore (accessesed 09/01/2022)

(accessed 0

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Your bedtime impacts your blood sugar control and your responses to food the next day.

In the largest study of its kind, ZOE researchers and their colleagues found that your bedtime impacts your blood sugar control and your responses to food the next day“.

This fascinating study and associated podcast may be found at

https://joinzoe.com/learn/sleep-blood-sugar-control

The study suggests that going to bed earlier can have a very beneficial effect on pur long-term health.

Zoe is renowned for its scientific work on Covid, but is also a fascinating research platform.

I have found when I get loads of sleep before 12 pm, I feel very energised and different. Many times I have started to go to bed very early and simply read a book and chill for a while.

It is so easy to look at screens and phones ( actually I am doing this now oops!) att night, but it doesn’t help us relax or sleep. What really he;lps is putting our phones and laptops in a different room and unwinding, maybe reading a book.

The Zoe study also suggests that the quality rather than the quantity of sleep matters.

I don’t normally write about this kind of topic, however I thought this was so beneficial I wanted to share it.

Thanks so much to Zoe for their wonderful reasearch.

Please share any interesting studies you may have come across? Have you any tips on getting to sleep?

References

https://joinzoe.com/learn/sleep-blood-sugar-control (accessed 06/01/2022)

Supporting children who have experienced trauma

Today I wanted to share a little about my first published book. I am so thrilled that this has been released.

The book deals with the very difficult subject of domestic abuse and the impact it has upon children. It is written from the perspective that while the situation may not necessarily change, there is always hope. It is also written to support children engaging in therapy.

This book would be ideal for those working with children in foster care, or who have a social worker. It may help them understand and be able to come to terms with the trauma they have been through.

I have spent many years working in social care and have experience of working with vulnerable children.

This book would also be suitable for adults who have experienced trauma. as it offers hope.

The Dream Tree is available at many publishers including Amazon and Waterstones. I hope to publish further books in this series, dealing with complex issues around painful experiences.

Thank you to Austin Macauley, my publishers.

Reaching the world through words

I just had a little look at my overall stats and since I started in December 2019, I have had views in 67 countries. My top viewing audience is the United Kingdom and my minimal viewing audience is Croatia. I live in the UK and write in English, so that is not surprising and neither is the USA being in my top three viewing countries. What does surprise me though is that my blog is very popular in India and I really appreciate that, because I have never visited that beautiful country.

I read today about growing a blog through showing we care about our viewers and so I take that on board (thank you to the wonderful blogger Christian Mihai). His blogs are full of wonderful tips and blow my mind.

What strikes me about blogging statistics is that every one means something. I am very proud of having grown my blog to 166 followers and hope to grow it some more. I love writing and the power of wprds and even when a country features on my statistics just one time, like Croatia, I wonder who read the blog and what they thought about it.

Do any other bloggers feel the same? There is something lovely about the stats we get and the insight it gives into our readership. I love how blogging links us through the power of language with many whom we will never meet in reality.

I am always happy to see likes and especially comments, because that shows how others engage with what we write. And I also find it interesting to read views on a particular post. I may be stating the obvious, but the stats I get make me feel connected and I am grateful that the blog is read and appreciated.

So a huge shout out to the Word Press Team for making this all happen and to all my followers and readers and other bloggers. These are some people I want to mention: Christian Mihai who is my blogging hero, Lady D’s who has an excellent blog and who started as a guset blogger on my site, Writing Presence for her beauty of spirit that inspires me and Jeremy Jain Babu who writes words of silk that stroke my soul.

And hello to some countries who have dropped by; I am not sure if you are reading this blog but hello to Croatia, Israel, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, Italy, Australia and Ecuador. I have visited Australia, Israel and Italy, but am yet to visit the others I mention.

Do share about your blogging experience. And if you are a follower but do not blog, what do you make of all this? Would you like to write a blog? Maybe 2022 is the time to have a go.

Welcome to the new

Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all every blessing for you and your families as the New Year heralds us. None of us knows what is ahead, but we know what is behind us and I think for us all there are many challenges, as we navigate our way through the next season.

In terms of welcoming the new, here are some thoughts on new versus old that spring to mind. The transitions into a new season requires some things of us and so here is my take on it.

Stepping forward into the new requires discipline so as not to keep looking back. There is nothing wrong with memories, but if one focusses on the past, what is right ahead will be overshadowed and may even be missed. It is so easy to have a ‘the grass was always greener on the other side of yesterday attitude’ and miss the verdant green pastures up ahead in tomorrow’s adventure. I have begun to realise as the years go past, that clinging to yesterday like a lifebuoy simply is not helpful. It is counter-productive. I am trying to look forward far more now and lay the past to rest, along with its hurts and regrets,

The new may sometimes seem daunting because it is unknown. What is comfortable and routine is like a comfort blanket. But discarding this and embarking on an entirely different path, as I myself did in 2021, is in fact liberating. It is disconcerting to have a completely fresh start, but it brings a whole new wonderful array of new vistas and in my view is the best choice I have ever made in my life.

Are you reading this and at a crossroads? Have you started on a new adventure? Are you feeling stagnant and struggling about which way to turn? Please share your thoughts and journey and New Year story with us. I so love hearing from my followers. It is so lovely to see the countries whgo read this blog-thank you to those of you in India, the USA, South Africa, Fiji and Ecuador who read, to name but a few. I really enjoy seeing the stats and connecting with our beautiful blogging world.

And thank you followers for following this blog. It has grown to 166 from 0 and I am very touched by this. I really enjoy my relationship with other bloggers out there and wish you every success with your blogs.

Love and blessings to you all, Hope X

Letting our inner child run free

I have been spending time recently with a wonderful small human who is nearing three years of age. There are so many lessons children can teach us and so I thought I would share some with you.

Firstly, children enjoy simple pleasures. They are excited about splashing in puddles, having a snack, reading a story, watching a film. The world is full of wonder, surprise and excitement to a small child.

They are also very real and genuine. Children say what they think and express themselves in language that is essentially without guile. I made a very poor version of something with kinetic sand and in my eyes it was awful, whereas my young friend spoke about doing a different one. There was no criticism, it was simply about trying again.

I have really enjoyed playing with kinetic sand recently and have found this a relaxing and fun activity. In a world dominated by dark and dreary statistics around the possibility of how many of us will become seriously ill or die, it is a delight to make carrots out of sand, or hearts, or a sunshine.

This is releasing our inner child through play. Farya Barlas states:

What is understood from the inner child is that it is a part of an adult character that behaves like a child and is in contrast to how a logical adult would behave or react or even feel for that matter. It can be viewed as an autonomous part of the personality that drives the person and has its own independent functions that may not necessarily be consistent with the adult part of the personality.

I feel it is very important to learn how to play as an adult. It keeps life in perspective. That old adage about “all work and no play” reminds us that we need to find a balance. Simply jumping in a puddle, or doing something silly can do us the world of good.

So some ideas that spring to mind; playing with a child; maybe a nephew or niece if you do not have your own children, building sandcastles on the beach, or sand sculpture, board games, charades, or dancing to a favourite song.

Some of the most fun people I know are the most playful. And some of the best times in my life have been when I have had fun and laughter with others, This creates joy and beautiful memories.

Turning towards this New Year’s Eve, which for many of us will involve small intimate gatherings, let us enjoy just having some fun. And on that note, I wish you all my dear followers and those who are reading this, a memory filled and fun 2022 X

References:

Barlas, F. (2014) The Myth of the Inner Child. Available at: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/the-myth-of-the-inner-child. Accessed 31/12/2021.

Building a positive pathway

I have been talking and thinking about positive parenting over this Christmas season. Today I would like to discuss the wonderful podcasts of Janet Lansbury.

Today I listened to a podcast on the power of affirmation. Finding things to affirm in a child’s life may not always be easy and Janet speaks of focussing on the detail, rather than just affirming in general. An example of this would be praise for puuting the cutlery away, or tidying toys nicely. As much detail as possible is helpful.

And isn’t this what we all want. We all want friends who affirm us and speak positively about us. There is nothing worse than a negative friend who is critical. This is called toxic behaviour.

When I think back on my life, the people who have had the most influence upon me have been affirmers, affirming my intrinsic value. One person who had a great influence always made me feel special, just for who I was, not for what I did.

Following a positive pathway involves many things, however building one, especially for children, is a somewhat different process. It involves a great deal of patience and emotional investment. I remember growing up how my uncles would write me postcards, bring me things back from their holidays and remember me. Over time this adds up/ Children notice what adults do and what they don’t do. They notice when we remember and when we forget.

Building a positive pathway involves creating meaningful dialogue. It entails connection. This comes through spending time with one another. In my view, there is nothing more awful than feeling someone is always too busy or preoccupied to be available. Being available isn’t always possible, but if it is a pattern over time, it gives a strong message of: GO AWAY.

There is so much to be learnt from ‘Respectful Parenting’. I think what we learn about children’s development can easily be transferred to the adult kingdom. Particularly around affirming one another, connecting and investing time in one another.

Let us all consider how to be more of a connected society. Not through social media, but simply talking to one another, in a safe way of course. Let us consider those who may have few connections; the bereaved, the single, those without children.

I’d love to hear your views on this subject, please share X

References

http://www.janetlansbury.com

Podcast App Respectful Parenting: Janet Lansbury Unruffled

A different kind of Christmas

As we all know, life is so very different these days. The new Omicron variant hangs in our news and there is an overshadowing concern about health, sickness and let’s face it, our own mortality. These are great levellers. But beyond this, there is a hope of a brighter tomorrow and that for me is what this Christmas represents.

I have spent a great deal of time reflecting this year and have come to the conclusion that life has become more simplified during the pandemic. It is not about events or outings or material possessions, shopping trips, new things or clothes, but rather about being with people we love, sharing time and enjoying their company.

It is about the micro not the macro. Small gestures, like the lovely Christmas cards I have received from neighbours this year. Being with friends, both virtually and in person. Lovely long telephone calls to people I may not be able to meet up with. And reading, lots of reading and spending time indoors, keeping safe and keeping others safe too.

Life is so very different and Cjristmas will be different. But it will be beautiful. Some things have been cancelled-some have gone ahead, albeit in a different way. So much has changed; some things that seemed very important now seem meaningless. And I greatly appreciate the new tapestry of life, particularly its simplicity.

So what is your view? I would be really interested to hear about your views on Christmas or the “new normal”. What changes have you made? Do you find life easier, or more difficult?

One thing I have really enjoyed is connecting with the wider blogging world. I love sharing our blogging journey together. X