Sunday, 24 June 2012

The potential for sunshine.

Whenever I'm flying up to Shetland or down to London I can be lulled into a false sense of joy as the blinding sunshine sparkles through the windows.  It's only when the pilot announces to the crew to prepare the cabin for landing that my sun filled joy can start to recede.  Slowly but surely as we descend through various layers of cloud, I start to see the reality of the weather at ground level.  Dark and foreboding, dull and drizzly, down and down we go.  The doors open, and with my head hanging down to protect myself from the driving rain, everyone scurries into the terminal to get on with their journey to wherever.
How quickly I can forget that beyond the darkness surrounding me the sun is still shining brightly!  I'm disinterested in that fact now, because my focus is on what I see and feel in that moment, horrible, cold, damp weather!  The same is true of our relationships.  How quickly we can forget that behind the anger, behind the sadness there is still that warm person who when the clouds pass will reveal their sunnier side.  Be patient and remember how quickly the weather can change, and don't forget the potential for sunshine is always there.
"People are like stained - glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Monday, 18 June 2012

What makes us dislike so passionately?

I went for a walk to a beautiful nature reserve near my house this morning, a fly was buzzing round my head and getting way too near my face for my liking.  I brushed it away, while thinking what revolting insects they are, it dawned on me that I wouldn't have had that thought if I didn't associate flies with really negative images implanted in my mind.  From squirming maggots to starving children with flies settling on their weeping eyes and open sores, all those images have played a role in polluting my mind so deeply that no matter what role flies have in our eco-system, I hate them!
On a similar vain, despite knowing I'm being totally illogical, I have had the experience of feeling wary, nervous and wanting to end a meeting when in the company of someone with  the same hair style, or general appearance as someone who has hurt me or let me down in the past!
So, it's one thing to be uncomfortable with an insect that does indeed spread infection, and quite another to allow the headmind to be scarred by a life experience that results in being catapulted back to that memory when meeting someone who looks like the perpetrator, or wears the same after shave!  If you have had a similar experience, then the moment you notice your headmind taking you off to a different place and a different time - STOP!  Do a reality check on the situation you're in right now, and remind yourself that THIS is a new and unique experience.
"The past is never there when you try to go back.  It exists, but only in memory.  To pretend otherwise is to invite a mess." - Chris Cobbs
"Memory is deceptive because it is coloured by today's events." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, 17 June 2012

When your little people grow up!

Oh my soon to be son in law posted photos of the wedding dress he's making for my daughter Emily on Pinterest - it's stunning!  I texted Ewen to say that it brought tears to my eyes to see it, and then as I was writing it I was aware that I had moved on from tear filled eyes to actively crying!  Happy tears I might add! I am so happy for them both, and this new chapter of their lives just fills me with joy.
Tears too as I remember the little girl learning about the world.  Learning that friends could suddenly become enemies - primary school could be so confusing for a five year old who loved everyone!  Her sadness at losing her beloved Grandma just before she started school, when she so wanted to show her how smart she looked in her new school uniform. A funny, caring, loving wee girl who is just the same - only in adult form!  A friend said to me recently that she too looks at the photos of her girls and wonders where they've gone, I know exactly what she means.  I still want to (and I admit, I sometimes do) bite Emily's nose when I see her, my little girl who back then, giggled like mad when I'd give her kisses and pretend to bite her nose off now mildly tolerates my madness!
I feel so grateful for the happiness she has found with Ewen, and I want to wrap them both up and protect them from any scary, sad or hard times, but they're adults and their life together is for them to live to the full,  secure in the knowledge that all the people who love them will do whatever they need to get them through any tough or rough times. I love you two very much xxx
"When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts." - Robert Brault
"A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart." - Anon

Saturday, 16 June 2012

When being understood is temporary.

Sometimes even when we feel calm, serene and imperturbable by a potentially provocative conversation it can become apparent that the other person simply cannot handle that calmness. This may be due to their discomfort and inability to handle the subject matter, or it may be that they just want a more animated response from you - but if you don't feel it, please don't fake it!  Don't rise up to meet them, remain where you are by focusing on your feet on the ground, or pay attention to how your bottom feels on the chair.  Their over-reaction belongs to them, let it stay with them!
Everyone has their own agenda, and their own pre-conceived ideas and expectations about how someone they think they "know" will respond to a certain topic, but actually that belief held so tightly by them is not necessarily true. We need to be able to be completely real about our evolving emotions, and accept the ebb and flow of them for ourselves and from others.  Just because someone has expressed an opinion on something once doesn't mean that opinion should, or indeed will, stay fixed in stone.  How flexible are you when someone you thought you knew inside out expresses a change of opinion?  Does it make you angry, or can you celebrate their ability to embrace the belief that as we grow we change?
"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights." - Pauline R. Kezer
"He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." - Harold Wilson
"The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists." - Japanese proverb

Friday, 15 June 2012

How others see us.

I recently discovered that someone I'd always thought of as a light hearted soul, did in fact take himself very seriously indeed. He did not cope well when he discovered how others viewed him.  It really knocked him sideways.  Robert Burns wrote in his poem, "To a louse",  "O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us."  Maybe though it's not always good to get that insight, especially when it's a mile away from the way we feel about ourselves.  Is there always a bit inside that we don't find so easy to share with the world? A secret, unspoken love of country music, an ability to keep a smile on our face even on the days when our heart is heavy with grief.  I do relentlessly rabbit on to clients about the importance of authenticity, and I still stand by the importance of it as a vital factor to maintaining health.  When we are authentic and we practise letting the inside feelings be expressed on the outside, there will be less incongruities between how we are perceived by others and the reality of who we are and how we're actually doing at that particular moment. Enjoy learning to share with others all the aspects that make you who you are!
"To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves." - Aldous Huxley.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

You are who you are, and you've done what you've done!

We can all exaggerate and elaborate a story in order to make others laugh - comedians do it all the time!  They observe, take note of the mundane then put a humorous slant on it and a joke is born.  Peter Kay is a master of that particular art.
Then there's the less enjoyable type of story teller.  One who makes things up in order to "impress" another person.  Real friendship is based on the relationship between two people, not based on their work life achievements.
The company Experian revealed from a survey they ran that 1 in 3 people lie on their CV.  That's a lot of people!!
What is wrong with just living, working hard, achieving what we can, admitting when we make mistakes and moving on?  Are we really living in a time where if you're not something "big" you're not worth knowing?  I certainly don't think so.
If you catch yourself lying to impress STOP!  Remind yourself that every single one of us has things we would do differently if we had a second chance, whatever it is, it's done now. Once that lie has left your lips retrieving it and removing it from the other persons mind is far harder than just resisting saying it in the first place.
"There is no such thing as an inconsequential lie." - Gary King
" With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back." - Russian proverb

Friday, 8 June 2012

When thinking doesn't really work.

The over-thinking planner in my head took over today and reminded me that slowing down and thinking mindfully is always the better option!
My scheduled flight from Shetland to Aberdeen last night couldn't land at Aberdeen due to fog.  So we were diverted to Dundee which meant my car was still at Aberdeen airport.  So this morning, when Andrew had left for an early round of golf I decided to organise myself and surprise him by nipping up to Aberdeen (an hour and a half drive away..not exactly round the corner) to collect the car, planning on getting back around the same time as him, though relying on the trains running on time meant I might get back after him.
So, I checked I had my car keys and the long stay parking ticket I'd need for getting my car out of there...smug in the knowledge I'd done all I needed to do, I hopped in the taxi and headed to Dundee train station.
I had locked the front door of the house, and hidden the keys in a wheelbarrow round the side of the house..I knew Andrew had his keys with him, but not sure if he had the key to the lock I'd house keys were in my car in Aberdeen of course!  So as we're not in the habit of leaving a key hidden I thought I should let him know where I'd left it.  Sitting on the train somewhere between Montrose and Stonehaven I rang the landline number, (Andrew does have a mobile phone but he keeps it switched off and in his car...only to be used in an emergency, and if the person in the emergency needs to contact him, well he'll get back to you when he puts the phone on!!) it went straight to the answer machine, which I'd expected and I heard myself say, "Hi it's me! I decided to go up to Aberdeen while you're out so you don't have to drive me up there later.  You locked the top lock and I couldn't find that key so I've locked the bottom one and hidden the key in the wheelbarrow, just thought I should let you know in case you can't get in!"  As soon as I hung up I started to laugh..and laugh...and laugh!  The man sitting next to me smiled at me and I said, "I've just left him a message on the phone IN the house.. telling him where I've hidden the key outside in case he can't get IN!  Oh dear!!"
"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again." - Winnie the Pooh