Friday, 28 September 2012

You are so much more than your label!

Recently I was given the label of having TMJ disorder by a very smiley but not very funny consultant. It's not the worst nor the best news I've ever had.  I could "Google it" and totally freak myself out, or I could recognise what I need to do to prevent flare ups.  So I travel with my special pillow, nothing really special about it other than it's squishy and I like it as it's soft and comforting on my sore face.  I can wear a hat when I'm out in the cold wind as the chill makes the nerve pain pretty intense.  There's plenty things I should avoid like chewing gum and clenching my teeth, and then there's the suggestion that I eat liquidised foods when I have a bad flare up.  All pretty manageable.
My car has a few scratches on it, just as I have a few scars on my body and face.
If my body came with a full service history it might not appear to be very valuable - but it certainly is to the owner - me!  The medical labels we/'re given, and the scars we carry both physically and mentally are not the full story, nor do they identify everything about you.
Be careful not to allow your head to think you ARE the medical condition. Getting a diagnosis can engulf all your thoughts and affect everything you do.  Of course it is a part of you, but it doesn't come close to revealing all the fabulous intricacies that make you so beautifully unique.
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Good silence versus bad silence

I feel there are two types of silence. Good silence, the type I experience when I'm walking in the woods listening only to rustling leaves, or when I'm sitting still on a sandy seashore, the silence being broken by the sound of the water unfolding onto the beach - bliss.
Then there's bad silence.  To me this is when there is no sound, only thoughts churning and turning over and over, relentless, exhausting chatter which is seemingly uncontrollably loud and inescapable.  Silence when you wish for the phone to ring so you could hear the voice of someone who is no longer here, silence that is painfully loud and carries such an awful emptiness.
Today I rang some friends to hear the voices of some of the folk I love and care about who are here right now.  Their stories, laughter and lightness beautifully filled my ear and my heart.
Silence is good, and a very necessary escape from the loudness of our full on lives, which rarely has volume control!  Do take time to appreciate the moments you can sit in peace, but if the headmind starts dragging you down a melancholic road don't stay there too long, speak to those people who matter to you and remind yourself how fortunate you are to have them in your life.
"See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence, see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


In the past when I heard words being spoken with hatred and spite, venom seeping through every letter it would actually make me feel quite sick - uneasy - as if the simple act of listening left me vulnerable, somehow unable to protect myself from absorbing something toxic, something which didn't belong to me yet inescapable and extremely bad for my health.
I didn't have to know the person being vilified, it could have been a football manager, politician or a whole group of people.  I now understand that the message of hatred being spoken exposes the depth of separation between the inside of the speaker and his relationship with the outside world.
If you know someone who is prone to doing this, then I encourage you to ask them to STOP as soon as they start down that road!  Ask them if, just for a moment they could say something or just think something positive about that person.  If this seems an insurmountable task, explain that simply recognising the human vulnerabilities we share with all mankind as being a good start.  I believe that people who have a tendency to hate and feel angry about most things are only getting a reflection of their beliefs and expectations.  If they expect bad service in the restaurant, that's what they'll get!  If they get annoyed when they're overtaken by a women drivers, then you can guarantee they'll get overtaken by women drivers on a regular basis! If they expect to be late for their meeting, that's exactly what will happen!  Encourage them to give themselves the opportunity to view things differently - even if it's just for an hour initially. Even having no expectation can help lift them from the relentless task of expecting to get annoyed. Help them laugh at their negativity, help them see the ridiculousness of their constant battle with invisible, faceless enemies.  I was brought up hearing, "We're all Jock Thomson's bairns!" which worried me as a child as I'd never met him!  But there's truth there - whenever we think we're separate from others, we will have problems.
"The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Go with the flow - and enjoy changing direction!

Watching the sea rush effortlessly over the massive indestructible  rocks protruding like benign sea monsters from the grey frothy sea, reminds me of the immense power of this most gentle of substances.  
So adaptable, changing as the heat rises and falls, never fixed in one place, forever moving.  
As little people we are often asked by adults, "What do you want to be when you grow up?!"  It's a question that can have our little heads spinning for the "right" answer!  How about not becoming fixated on one job, one profession, one about behaving like water for a while?
Head off in one direction, and if the wind (or mood) takes you - change!  Do what FEELS right, don't become fixated on one path simply because at five years old your Grandma beamed with pride as you over heard her telling her friends, "He's going to be an accountant you know.  He's terribly good with numbers!" 
"Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first.  Ask questions, then feel the answer.  Learn to trust your heart." - Carl W. Buechner

Sunday, 9 September 2012

How cold you warm you are!

Back in the 70's I remember playing party games at home where everyone got involved.  I loved seeing adults laughing alongside the children be it at a birthday celebration or festive season get together. One of the games involved one person going out of the living room while the others hid a thimble somewhere in the room.   It could be balanced on top of a picture frame, in the bottom of a vase, in the cassette player of the music centre, (a 1970's living room essential) or hidden in someones hair...Elnett hairspray and perms were all the rage back then!

Once it was well hidden the person would be called back in, they weren't given any clues other than being sung at!  As they entered the room the group would sing, "How cold you are, how cold you are.." if they were far away from the hidden thimble, and "How warm you are, how warm you are.."  as they got nearer.  Of course really close became roasting and burning hot, and the further way they were freezing and ice cold.  The seeker had to pay close attention to the variations from freezing to cold, to cool to warm, from hot to burning so they could really rummage round and look for the thimble wherever the singing peaked with, "How roasting, burning hot you are!!" 

It was a laugh (but maybe you had to be there!) as some folk no matter how loudly you sung and hinted how close they were to the thimble would still step back and look elsewhere.  Frustrating to witness as we'd be back singing, "How cool you are..." until they really paid attention to the words we were saying.  It was as if they walked into the room with a fixed idea of where we'd hidden the thimble, and no matter what we sung,  they were going to look there anyway.

I get the feeling that if I played that game today I'd be able to establish who is good at listening to the truth, and who has such a strong headmind that they believe they don't need to listen to get it right.  

As in hunt the thimble, as in the way we walk blindfolded through life ignoring our personal sign posts to the life that is right for us!

We don't have a group of happy part goers following us around singing "how cold you are" when we're about to make a mistake, or "how warm we are" when we're on the right path...BUT we do have our very own bodymind intelligence which is the all-knowing part of us.  If we just practised listening carefully and really noticed what feels right before we make a decision, we'd get far more hot, roasting, cosy as toast moments and far less, cold, freezing times.

"An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore." - Edward de Bono
"You learn something every day if you pay attention." - Ray LeBlond

Monday, 3 September 2012

Two minutes for you.

When my head is whizzing with too many thoughts meditation seems to be the only thing that stops it spiralling out of control.  I have begun to notice that simply having the intention to meditate can initiate the quietening process.  When I begin to meditate I can actually feel both the physical and mental tensions softening, and melting away.  Lovely as that feeling is it often only lasts for a very short time, this can range from a few seconds to several minutes. As the slowing down and softening starts I visualise all my cells smiling with relief as peace and calm flush away my angst and fear. Even just two minutes of tranquillity is better than my whole day being consumed at great speed by relentless thoughts. Try it for yourself!
"Within yourself is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself" - Hermann Hesse, novelist & poet.