The Moodscope Blog



Depression and Misery Wednesday October 30, 2019

Well, that's a cheerful title, isn't it!

Sorry, not today.

Those of us who suffer with depression are used to people thinking that we are (just) unhappy.

"Cheer up, girl/mate! It may never happen!"

"Put a smile on your face and you'll feel much better!"

"Take a brisk walk in the fresh air. I do that when I'm down: works a treat for me!"

I normally meet these comments and those like them with a polite smile on the outside and something utterly unprintable on the inside.

Harder to deal with than the above, is the caring and sympathy.

"Oh dear, what's wrong?"

"Come on, you can tell me!"

"I know what you're going through and you have all my support."

All I want sometimes is to be left alone. And, conversely, I want to have the option of crying onto an absorbent shoulder if I want to.

To put this into context, a while ago I lost a good friend – or rather (I hope) I temporarily mislaid a good friendship. As always, it was a case of miscommunication: but the more was said, the more hurt was caused, so I backed away.

Another friend, Bob (his real name), noticed something was wrong and texted. He didn't ask for specifics; he didn't pretend to know what I was going through; he didn't demand I tell him; he just offered me his (absorbent) shoulder and/or that of his wife, if I needed it.
This time, it hasn't been depression, it's been unhappiness. I've lost something precious, and I'm miserable.

I did ring Bob. He put me on speakerphone, so I spoke to him and his wife, and for an hour I sobbed onto their four very understanding and supportive shoulders. It didn't lessen the unhappiness, but it did reassure me I'd done the right thing – and indeed could have done nothing else.

If I look back to the times when it's been depression, when nothing has been wrong, but I've just been ill - I didn't need a shoulder onto which to pour it all out: I needed a friend to sit with me quietly; to be by my side and say nothing.

Nothing is so often the most difficult thing to say, but so often the right thing to say.

Saying nothing is not the same as not being there. It is providing a warm support that demands nothing yet offers everything.

The tricky bit – especially in this age of social media, is how we demonstrate being there, while being silent.

I think part of it is offering often - verbally or with written words. Bob did that, so I already knew he and his wife were a listening presence. My dear friend Raz does it with his daily emojis.

Part of it is saying something at the time: letting the sufferer know you've noticed something is wrong.

And the rest is just being there: in silent support.

With the occasional hug: physical or emoji.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Crammed up Tuesday October 29, 2019

Recently I noticed that my house, handbags, rucksacks etc. all suffer from the same problem: everything is crammed in to the point of bursting.

What encourages this desire to collect or acquire too many things? Is it because the rest of my life seems empty and seems to echo in the vacuum? What makes me cram everything in to the rafters without any seeming relationship to each other, except perhaps books. They at least make sense and do have some relation to each other and are filed accordingly. I don't know if I'm afraid to organise all my clutter on the grounds I might throw out something important while I'm not paying attention, or just don't want to confront it with organising in mind.

Paradoxically I love all the empty clear spaces where it's all clean and clear but usually can't see how to get there. I think if I thought of my house as someone else's who needed my help I'd be able to help them clear it all up so will adopt that strategy from now on and hope it works.

I'd love to know how everyone else deals with clutter and their cures for it, and how they think it happens in the first place,

Thanks and regards to all.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Firewalker Monday October 28, 2019

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here:]

Have your fears ever lied to you?

Mine do, every day. Whenever I think about taking an action where there is any likelihood whatsoever of an unwelcome outcome, fear bleats in my inner-ear. It floods my mind with nagging doubts. Time to cast them out!

How do I know it has lied to me more times than I can count? I know because what it says could happen hasn't happened. Day after day, my fears are false prophets of doom.

Don't misunderstand me, fear can be a good thing. It's meant to protect us. My fears, however, are most definitely over-protective, prone to exaggeration, and not well-acquainted with truth.

It was therefore with enthusiasm rather than fear that I approached an opportunity to firewalk this week. Yes, to deliberately and purposefully walk across burning hot coals!

It's not a con – I got a little burn – something the fire-walking team call a 'kiss'. You can insert your own expletive there because for me, a kiss is a kiss, a burn is a burn! The burn, however, served to remind me that this was real danger, and I'd faced it, and I'd come through it.

Am I advocating that you go on a firewalk to overcome your fears or anything else that's blocking your progress? Mostly, "Yes!" I knew I was in safe-hands with Sam Dyer and the fire team. It may be, however, that you just need to recognise your fears and much of your inner-dialogue for the bunch of liars they frequently are. Stand up to the bullies and drive them out.

You have enormous potential. You also face enormous challenges. Let's be realistic – if you are not in control of those challenges that threaten to crush you, then don't waste mental and emotional energy trying to change the unchangeable. However, if your barriers and blockades are in your mind (as many of them are for all of us), stir yourself up and get ready to face your fears, walk on their fiery flames of hellish doubt, and crush them 'neath your feet!

I may not be Luke Skywalker, but I am, after one stormy night, Lex Firewalker!

Let's face the fear, use the force, and unleash the Jedi within!

What fears would you like to crush this week?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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On Being Human Sunday October 27, 2019

A grave sticky life
Severely self-critical
Has been a record of
My past life.

But if I carry on this way
I will be shrivelled up inside;
There will be no joy or light;
But just drudgery and despair.

We all err
That's part of being human
I need to remember
To let go
Of my past.

Learning to forgive
Myself and others
Is the only way forward
For me.

Courage is sometimes needed
To start each new day.
To wake each day
With the curiosity to venture forth,
With commitment
To make the best
Of each day,
Empowering me to be compassionate
To others with whom
I come into contact.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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It's not what you can't do but what you can do! Saturday October 26, 2019

Unfortunately I have serious brain malfunction and have been living under the sword of Damocles for the last 30 months in between scans that tell the neuro surgeons whether they have to operate.

One of my more noticeable symptoms is my total lack of balance. Even standing causes me stability challenges. Sadly I can also no longer ride a bike which was a great hobby of mine - its only 3 years since that I completed Lejog - Lands End to John O Groats. When I last attempted a ride I literally got on the bike only to promptly fall off! As the expression goes, I got back on the bike only to fall off again and bang my head and then realise that I had forgotten to put my helmet on!

I am an an active person. I practise Meditation for relaxation as it is supposed to help calm me down and for the same reason I have also persevered with a weekly yoga class for the last 20 years following my last surgery. I can cope with most of the floor exercises but when it comes to the standing exercises I have to hang on to the wall or risk wobbling and hope that I don't bump into anyone! It has become so embarrassing that I have considered giving it up but fortunately my yoga teacher has a lot more patience and understanding than I do and told me this morning to remember that it's not what you can't do but what you can do!

Those wise words are a good maxim for life and prompted me to share them with the Moodscope community. Even at difficult times having a cup half full attitude makes the world a much brighter place.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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How well do you know yourself? Friday October 25, 2019

I read a thought provoking phrase some years ago which has stayed with me – it is along the lines of; "believe nothing, no matter where you have read it, or who has said it, unless it sits comfortably with your own intuition or belief". I paraphrase, but you understand the sentiment I'm sure.

I've experienced this first hand. Someone tells you something and you think to yourself, "how strange, this can't possibly be true", "no way, that can't be right, something is amiss, that's not my experience at all, something does feel right here".

If this is what you experience when someone says something you struggle to make sense of, then don't – try to make sense of it. Listen to yourself. Just because someone else has said something, doesn't mean that the same is true for you. It may be their truth, their experience, but it does not mean that it is necessarily yours.

Nobody else knows you as well as you know yourself, but - do you always listen to yourself? Do you always trust yourself? Do you look to others for confirmation if or when you doubt yourself? Do you seek the advice of others when struggling to make your mind up about something? Do you call a friend when you are wrestling with an issue and need help to know what to do?

We might think that partners, parents, therapists, counsellors, all know us better than we know ourselves, but if anyone is taking your money claiming just this, then stop paying them immediately.

Therapy/counselling is about accompanying you on your journey of self-discovery. Supporting you while you; - explore who you are, discover what you want, uncover your truth, find your true essence. Not the superficial self that gets caught up in the external world influenced by material desire or lifestyle choices or expectation.

Parents, partners, family, friends cannot do this for you because however impartial they think they are being, or however well they think they know you, or what is good for you, the advice they give will always be from their own perspective or what they perceive to be "right" for you. How can anyone else possibly know what is right for you, if you yourself do not know? You are the expert on you. Conversely, let others be the expert on themselves.

Besides, will others really give you the advice they think is "right" for you if it means you making a decision to leave them behind? Possibly, if they can put you before their own desires and there is no conflict, but if the advice to you is detrimental or disadvantages them, I wonder? They may think they are acting in your interest, but much of our behaviour is not always transparent even to ourself.

Another wonderful nugget of wisdom I heard years ago; "Never give advice unless asked to do so on three consecutive occasions". Personally, I really like this and try to stick to it. A sure way to rile me are the words "You know what you should do?", "If I were you..."

Well you are not!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Resilience Thursday October 24, 2019

'Those of you who are regular readers of Moodscope know that many of my blogs involve an adventure or escapade on a dog walk with my terrible terrier, Ruby.

Today was different. She was not the cause of my angst. On walking back across the meadow, a lovely field in my local park, I saw a young woman, who had already passed me pushing her baby in a pram with her lively little dog, appear to be having an altercation with a young man. It was getting heated and even though the other side of the meadow I walked across. He had taken exception to her small, inoffensive dog jumping up his leg. More sinisterly, it was actually an excuse to have a go at a woman wearing a hijab. I walked off with her, ignoring his taunts and offered to escort her out of the park. She was in tears and scared so I saw her to her car and then walked back across the park only to see him again. Despite his eyeballing me I walked on and left the park to return home for a strong coffee.

Now this wasn't really about me. I wasn't the target and I stuck my size 7 feet in. Although I am writing about it I wasn't massively shaken. I was angry and annoyed.

Another incident happened this week with a neighbour. It wasn't good and I have inadvertently caused offence.

These two things could really topple me but I have to find strategies to deal with the hiccups and challenges along the way. This evening's dog walk was a pensive one but, as regulars know, is one of my coping strategies.

I will need to be more resilient than ever in the next few weeks. I am, for the first time in 20 years, coming off my medication. This is being medically supervised and is not me trying to brave it alone. However, unfortunately some irregular blood tests mean that I have to do this to see if it has any impact.

So this will be a real test of my resilience. Have all those strategies I have advocated here on Moodscope going to be sufficient over the next few weeks?

I am not advocating coming off medication. I would much rather have that comfort blanket. But my physical health is requiring me to change my approach.

So how resilient can I be and do you have any advice on what I can do to deal with the possible darker moments ahead?

Thank you, Moodscope friends.

As ever

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Deeply Uncool Wednesday October 23, 2019

Are they still known as "Anoraks": those earnest men (and, I suppose, some women) who pursue a hobby nobody else can understand? We made fun of them as I was growing up, but maybe it's politically incorrect to do so now. Not only politically incorrect, but – I have learned over the years – unkind.

It's often something to do with trains, for some reason.

My family and I are taking a few days holiday in North Wales. We have wandered the awesome vastness of Caernarfon Castle, walked along some magnificent beaches, slogged up Mount Snowdon (and have the aches to prove we did it the hard way) and today travelled on the Ffestiniog steam railway.

It turned my husband into a small boy again. He almost ran to the front of the train to look at the engine and bounced in his seat as the whistle blew and we chuffed out of Porth Madog station.

I confess trains, even steam trains, leave me cold, but even I could not resist of the music of the panting engine and rhythm of the tracks; nor the stunning scenery.

What impressed my seventeen-year-old daughter was the good humour and obvious enjoyment of all the staff – even the ticket lady - and the way everyone we passed waved at us. Everyone at the level crossings, everyone working at the side of the road, everyone in their gardens as we passed. It was as if the whole of the Welsh population along the track wanted to make us feel special.

"It's absolutely not cool to wave," she said. "But isn't it lovely that they do!"

I've just asked my fifteen-year-old what it means to "be cool".

"It's the way you dress; the way you act; the way you fit in," she said. "It's other people's opinion of you."

I thought for a moment.

"So, would it be true to say that you can have more fun if you don't care about that?" I asked.

"Yes, absolutely!" she said.

This was the girl who, last year, was obsessed about appearing "cool" until the "Cool Gang" turned on her and made her life a misery.

Today she was smiling as we rode that train. She says it's the best day of the holiday so far.

I think it takes a long time for us to learn not to care what other people think of us and to find our own centre. Whatever we do, whoever we are, there will always be those who despise us and (hopefully) those who admire us.

Steam trains will never be my thing, but this holiday we've done Snowdon for my outdoorsy elder daughter, the beaches for my younger daughter, National Trust tree houses and the steam train for my husband and tomorrow the bronze-age copper mines for me.

If we can find our own thing we enjoy, let's concentrate on enjoying it and never mind what other people might think.

Well, so long as it's not kicking puppies, that is!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Interpretation and Expectation Tuesday October 22, 2019

Any particular Moodscope blog, and it's comments and replies, can be helpful, innocuous, informative, annoying, misleading, frustratingly wrong, mischievous, puzzling, argumentative, harmful or totally inappropriate. Depends on your particular point of view. If you're looking for help they can sometimes be uncomfortable to read, a bit of a minefield, triggering old stressful events or amplifying sensitive feelings.

However, at their best, they inform, stimulate and allow you to improve your understanding and increase your box of tools for dealing with life's problems. They may offer a sympathetic response or raise a smile or give you that amazing feeling that somebody else really 'understands'. You may learn something new, consolidate existing thoughts: here there is a macrocosm of life experiences to read and engage with. I have found there is great support to be garnered from the many generous and honest bloggers here.

The Blogs often need chewing over to get the best out of them. Believe me, it's worth it.

Because we are not sitting together cosily I cannot see you or hear you. There are no audible or visual clues to help me interpret the nuances of your sentences. I cannot reach out and touch your hand so no clues there for how stressed or angry or tense you may be.

I cannot know if you don't send an answer whether this is because you are ill today, or irritated by my blog, or think it rubbish. I try to remember that the most likely reasons for no replies are that you are a very busy person and simply can't reply to everyone every blog. And, likewise, it is prudent for me to remember that not all the replies that are made will agree with my interpretation of the blog subject.

How I write the blog will skew the answers.

I am (still) insecure enough (or bigheaded) to be anxious there may be no replies . . . But this is not born out by my experiences :)))

Looking forward to broadening my horizons... come on in Moodscopers, let's have an active forum.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Go Where You Are Looking Monday October 21, 2019

[To view a video version of this blog, please click here:
To hear an audio version of this blog, please click here:]

"Look where you're going!" may have been something you've heard time and time again throughout life, but my friend Tim used to go where he was looking! When he first passed his driving test, travelling out with him was an adventure not fit for the faint-hearted. He had an uncanny tendency to point the car in the direction he was looking.

In the daytime, this meant veering towards ditches at the side of the road... but at night, it meant heading straight towards the oncoming headlights! Of course, he corrected his trajectory each time well before tragedy hit, but it was a thrilling ride for his passengers!

Scent may be the most powerful sense for memory but when it comes to neurological real estate, the brain is committed to vision! How you feel, what you believe ('seeing is believing'?), the decisions you make, the actions you take – and thus the results you get – are all heavily influenced by what you see. And when I say, " what you see," I mean with your physical vision and with the vision of your imagination – the mind's eye.

It looks like our direction in life comes down (often) to the fact that we go where we are looking. Sadness is often described as, "looking down." When our circumstances change for the better, we say, "Things are looking up!" Let's lift our eyes to brighter times ahead.

So how can we stack the odds of a better future in our favour?

Three ways...

1) The Writing's on the Wall

Supermarkets place their products in a deliberate position to capture our attention, how much better to buy into a brighter vision of our future by choosing to place our dreams and visions at eye-level? Have a vision wall and put on it pictures of places you'd like go, people you'd like to strengthen your relationships with, and even things you'd like to own.

2) Dream Saver – Screen Saver

I use my computer's random screen saver to remind me of what I dream of. It's a brilliant way to give my heart an uplifting nudge in the right direction. I have quotations and images to inspire me.

3) Write the vision down

When you get really serious about this, the gurus (Dan Sullivan and Brian Tracy) recommend you physically re-write what you desire each and every day! This re-loads your positive intentions into your working memory ready to spot opportunities in the day ahead.

All these three keep what we would prefer to experience in life, "in sight, in mind," rather than, "out of sight, out of mind."

Where there is no vision we can go astray – we can wander and drift aimlessly. Instead, let's work with our brain to build a better future. Perhaps then, we can live the life we have imagined and go where we are looking.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Thanks coach Sunday October 20, 2019

I'm sitting in a sunny place, in my car. I'm in an almost empty car park sharing only with two other cars. It's quiet. I feel so lucky. I picked a parking spot with a magnificent view across a park and down a valley. The air has turned early Autumnal and leaves are just beginning to take a bow and crisp up but there is a promise of warmth outside even if only for a short time. It's a beautiful time of year. A time when nature shows us how to give the gathered audience its magnificent finale. That surrendering a little and going quiet is not only needed and helpful but very, very natural. I am writing this down so that in the depths of my lost months (usually January/February time for me) I might re visit this and try to remember that there are other times.

My car window is open and the only voice I can hear is of a man. He is talking and coaching young men in the art of goalkeeping. My son is among them. And I feel lucky. This man is there every week come hail, rain, shine, wind, sleet, frost, even a little snow provided we can still see the ball. He doesn't need to do this. I doubt it's for financial reasons since we pay him enough only to buy matches for gas lamps. Perhaps it's for the love of the game. Perhaps he needs this too. It's not my business to know but I wish him to know that he saves me a little each time I'm here.

Watching him lead with enthusiasm, dignity and manners, hearing him lead with encouragement and inspiration and seeing the face of my son as he finishes the session with self-respect and a smile, all serves as hard evidence that the world is good. The world turns as it should, day follows night, good things and bad things arrive and leave as they will and that if we just keep returning to the path and keep eyes front, we can do it. We are doing it. Credit where it's due.

Score time. Let's see what we have today.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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That girl Saturday October 19, 2019

Biddy was only just four. The painting of small landscapes episode with her Mother which she'd longed for each day for a week had ended. On tip toes leaning on the edge of the sink she peered out over the paddock at Blackjack, her father's stallion for mustering.

Every time, her father returned from a hard day's rounding up cattle, the horse would be tethered in that same spot... there, breathing heavily, gleaming with sweat. She'd longed each day for this as well... to sit on him... just sit on him. She pleaded and cajoled her mother until she had had her way.

Sitting on him, she could, despite her tiny age sense that he'd been worked hard that
morning. It was lovely to be up so high. Holding the reins her mother told her to
grip the mane tightly. As she did, Blackjack reared frighteningly... trying with
each successive twisting and rearing of his muscular body and bucking hooves to throw her off.

Her father heard her cries for help. She hit the ground forcefully.

Just in time, before the horses hooves came down on her small body, her
father dragged her to safety.

She ran to her room. As Biddy lay on her bed and sobbing with pain she could hear her father's angry bellowing, the railing and screaming against her mother. These heated exchanges between them lasted so long that Biddy fell asleep quietly sobbing. The next day, all she remembers is returning with her father to the rusting, cast iron homestead with her left arm in a plaster cast.

Her mother ignored her and for all her years to come.

That girl was me.

A Moodscope member.

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Talking and more... Friday October 18, 2019

Sigmund Freud called the process of counselling and therapy: "The talking cure." And I for one, agree.

An emergency responder told me in reference to physical wounds: "we start healing the moment we are injured." I like to think that applies emotionally and spiritually as well. I believe it.

Two years ago I was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend and he was not charged by police. When I complained they reinvestigated and the results were the same. No charges.

While it was upsetting, my personal power came back to me as soon as I told the perpetrator I was not going to keep his dirty secrets. Predators thrive on silence and he got none from me.

Even prior to this experience, the police never have or ever will make or break my life or define my personal value in any way. So their behaviour stays with them. I still maintain it is better to report than not to. It put distance inbetween myself and what happened; the event goes from internal to external. It pushes it away.

Having Borderline Personality Disorder causes me to withdraw from people or at times draw toward the wrong ones. I suspect it played a part in the man being allowed into my life to begin with against my better instincts. I know now I can absolutely trust my guts. And I have ever since.

Talking is sometimes all I have; the only resistance to mental illness, the sole recourse for bad incidents that led me here in the first place; to BPD and PTSD.

I don't know that I can say I have completely forgiven him(or the injustice of the law) but I am not where I was two years ago.

When it comes to forgiveness two quotes come to mind. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You eat the elephant one tea spoon at a time. I believe forgiveness is the ultimate distance between me and bad actors and their behaviours and the ultimate FREEDOM.

Someone once told me that mental illness has its roots in the inability to give or forgive. So it won't be done as a favor to a foe but rather as a gift to myself. Another cure, if you would.

I don't expect all mental illness is curable but definetley treatable. Who would have thought that forgiving, as in; "to remember without the emotions," was a way to treat yourself.

Little Johnny had the concept of perception correctly when he was made not only to go to his corner but to sit rather than stand like he would have wished. Once his mother was out of earshot he declared:"I may be sitting on the outside but I am still standing on the inside."

I sometimes feel and have said as much:"talking is all I have!" But then there is my choice of perception and what I am going to do with my experiences. That which doesn't kill you can only liberate you more. It depends what you do with it.

When forgiveness comes, with time and choice and processing, I won't reconnect with an unsafe person. I will just be that much more free than simply talking about it would have provided.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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A low grade fever Thursday October 17, 2019

I feel like I've written about this before. Maybe I have just thought about it numerous times. Am I depressed? I had my astrological chart read once by a wise woman who said that I needed to be mindful of letting things go, that I had a tendency to hang on to a situation long past its expiry date, that by the time I realized "Oh, I should probably drop this" I should have done so long ago.

I also had my tarot cards read, once in Norwich England in 1990 and again in Austin Texas last year. Both pulled the same cards - the Ace of Cups. Both told me the same thing, years apart - that I needed to fill my own cup, that I needed to practice self love. But how does one do that really? I do try. I meditate, try to exercise, try to give myself breaks, but right now that feels like just surface stuff. Down below the same insidious anxiety and shame exists. It's like that scene in Stranger Things (for those of you who have watched it) when Mike Wheeler is screaming at the leviathan demon that he is not afraid, but of course he is, and it takes him over.

Anyhow. Back to the title. My scores have been dropping steadily over the past few days. Hmm, I am tired but nothing I can't handle. Yes my finances are low, but the always are. Yes I signed divorce papers on Sunday, but we've been separated for four years now. Yes I'm 50 with a part time job and a part time business and my daughter is growing up and my parents are ill. Perhaps there is a lot on my plate right now to cause this dip. A dip, not a recession, I say. Because each day I wake up saying it's a new day, but each day I am tired. I don't want to do anything. Perhaps by the time I realize I am depressed, it's already been going on for some time. I guess it's time to treat the low grade fever before it becomes a full blown illness. But how?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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We Don't Need No Education Wednesday October 16, 2019

I was returning some clothes in the store, and the clerk was having some difficulty processing my repayment. The loyalty points needed to be deducted from one card and the money returned to my credit card. Except the loyalty card is also a finance card and the system automatically refunded the money to that card. The clerk tried again, and the same thing happened. She called her colleague. The colleague didn't know and called the manager. The manager couldn't make it work and phoned the IT department. I helpfully (as I thought) commented that I really didn't mind keeping the extra points, but apparently that was Not Allowed. Meanwhile, the people in the queue behind me made restive movements and muttered.

Well, we all needed to get quite creative and it was a bit convoluted, but a way was finally found, and I have fewer points on my loyalty card, but more money in my bank account. The clerk gave me a relieved look. "At least I know what to do when it happens again," she said. "Every day's a school day."

Yes, every day's a school day. For my two teenage daughters, every day is quite literally a school day. My elder daughter has just this moment rushed in, thrilled: she has finally found the university and degree course she wants to do! She is excited by learning and I am happy for her, even if I think Scotland is a very long way from home!

We should all be life-long learners. I'm a great fan of personal development and business books; I learn a lot from them. A friend of mine, in her late eighties, is starting a series of online education courses; she has a lust for learning. Learning keeps our brains sharp and our minds elastic.

It's easy to stultify. If we think we have learned all there is about life, even about a certain area of life, we run the risk of losing out – or worse, being proven wrong!

A client came to see me today with one of those "problem" garments. She just couldn't find a way to make it work. For a while I couldn't see what was wrong. Something was, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I got out my pins and pinned it up and down, in and out. Finally, I saw it: "It's the pockets: they ruin the whole line! Those pockets there will always be wrong for you." I looked at her sorrowfully. "I'm afraid you've just paid for an expensive lesson." (I didn't tell her I'd just had the same lesson free!)

And that's another way to look at painful experiences or the mistakes we make. No matter how costly, in terms of money or emotional pain, we have paid for a lesson.

Pink Floyd got it wrong, we all need to learn; we should never stop learning.

Life is an education; let's not waste the lessons.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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The Silence Tuesday October 15, 2019

Silence is golden... until it becomes an uncomfortable silence. Words unspoken for fear of incurring wrath, awkward moments between loved ones that stretch into hours, no more pitter patter of tiny paws and the little unique sounds that they emitted, the emptiness of the empty nest and the friends that used to come round thinking you were the uber-cool parents of their generation.

The golden silence however is a welcome antidote.

My life is rarely silent. Radio 4 goes on as I make my way to caring work ten miles away. I love the Archers but hate politics. My head is never silent as I make my way to a service... have I forgotten anything/did I remember xyz, will it go well, do I know the way (as my sat nav has decided to work only once then as it turns itself off and never works again – I think it's half given up and I know how that feels. The will is there but the mechanics have rendered themselves obsolete as it keeps reminding me it is over 36 months old etc)... or to a family meeting (what will they be like, will I be able to get the information I need, will it go well, am I going the right way...) On a walk to the woods, I can hear doves coo-ing, the wind blowing softly in the trees, the brash caw-caw of the rooks nesting in the trees, the peeps of the baby seagulls as they hassle their parents who make double the noise in the early morning (but I wear ear plugs so all is practically silent). That's the only time I have complete and utter silence when I'm asleep.

When I'm at my most comfortable with life and myself, I love the almost-silence... to be able to read a good book or concentrate on a nice DVD or do an electronic jigsaw puzzle with all of the fun, applause when you finish it and no mess to clear up or missing bits frustrating the hell out of me!

But I wish I could silence my mind. That is the next step. I've got a lot in it at the moment. Wishes, hopes and dreams. Frustrations. Friendships that aren't quite what I thought they were. Bereavement. Dusty bloody furniture everywhere. I'm tempted to leave it just so I can write something in it... like clean me you lazy xxxx. But I know I'm not lazy. I'm an empath. Which means I soak up a lot of other people's moods and emotions as well as my own. I care professionally and I care personally. But it doesn't always do you favours as you have to keep a bit of yourself back for your own sanity. All carers whether it's for a loved one or professionally know this although I imagine it's doubly hard if it's your loved one as the guilt factor is upped so much.

How do you feel about silence? Do you wish you had more or less of it? What is it like for you? Any good tips on mind silencing most welcome (I am planning to try meditation at some point)...

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Open All Hours Monday October 14, 2019

Whom can you trust? It's a challenging question that will pop up time and time again during our lives. I began the week shocked and disappointed by the poisonous behaviour of someone I had called a 'friend'. However, I ended the week with this one setback being overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of good people I've met and mixed with.

This got me thinking.

When people are unkind, I can almost hear my shutters coming down and the barriers coming up! "Retreat!" is the understandable command of my fragile psyche! We all want to protect ourselves from hurt. This is all the more so when we feel low and vulnerable.

Building walls to protect ourselves is understandable but all we really do is shut ourselves off from good people who are genuinely glad to help. There are a lot of good people out there! Caution is commendable – even wise – but closing the doors to our heart is never going to be a winning strategy. Instead, I think we need to stay 'Open All Hours.'

At Moodscope, it is important that we trust others. We need strength flowing in from outside when we don't feel like we have the inner resources to cope. I'm not asking you today to find forgiveness in your heart for those who have wronged you. Forgiveness is important, but it's a big thing to ask for. Instead, I'm asking you today to open up to others... and to make the first move.

Those of us who would love to have more friends must show ourselves to be friendly – to be open for business. So many people laugh when I say I'm an introvert that I'm thinking about not saying it anymore. The truth is that I am an introvert – extremely introverted – but I'm not shy. I like engaging with people and hearing their stories, discovering what they value, and looking for ways to make them richer from our encounter.

This week then, even though wounded, I kept sharing genuine smiles, and seeking to connect with people beyond a superficial level. It worked. The right kind of people found me and I enjoyed having my faith in human nature elevated by their goodness, their kindness, and their generosity.

I've been told that when one door closes, another one opens. After this week, I would say it is perfectly OK for you to close that door, but far more important that you open other doors to the kindness of strangers and the love of true friends.

May you remain friendly, stay open all hours, and may the right people come into your life.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Have table, will sit Sunday October 13, 2019

Our kitchen table sits beside a big window. The window looks down our street towards the wide opening showing the bigger road running across the bottom. It's quiet and peaceful but I am close enough to see dog walkers, nursery wanderers, the old and the young, buses and cars, all life passing by and it's a great view to keep me feeling connected to life especially at the times I feel I am far from that.

Today, the kitchen table was filled with my little girl's art project and I sat in a different place to the one I usually choose. I could see my neighbour's house. Bricks, mortar, a car, blinds yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah. Realising absolutely nothing of worth would come out of me when I had this altered view for brain food, I cleared the kitchen table and settled into the seat where I can see the best view out of the window. There. Brain re-ignited.

I'm not too high on my scores today but that's ok. Not a worrying dip, just a 'I-know-why-I-am-here' dip. Moving my position to one where I would soak in more of what is good for me is a tool. Each tool is useful. And if you can move your position in any way to help yourself soak in something good for you then it will help.

Score time. I'll do it too. Let's face the music and dance.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Treasure Saturday October 12, 2019

We are all familiar with the scene – deep inside the dark dank cave, water dripping down the rock face, a stumble and fall, the torch thrown, the light goes out. Feeling around in the dark, a match strikes, a chink of light shines on the outline of a wooden trunk, lid half open, jewels sparkle in the flickering light; rich red rubies, clear blue sapphires, bright green emeralds, shiny gold coins scattered amongst the cache. The find, the excitement, the treasure.


But, without any light inside the cave the jewels will not sparkle and the gold will not shine. What good will this treasure do you anyway if you cannot get it out of the cave? A rock fall and the entrance to the cave is blocked. No way out. Still you have your treasure, the elusive, long lost treasure that you have spent a vast part of your life looking for. You have found it now, so celebrate. Be happy, enjoy.

I suspect the treasure will not bring you happiness because you were looking in the wrong place for the wrong thing.

Stand at the entrance of the cave and rather than walking deeper inside in desperation of finding what you think you are looking for – turn around and see that the light is at the entrance of the cave, not hidden deep inside.

Without the light, nothing will grow. Without the light, the jewels could be any colour, you will not see their beauty, you will not see their sparkle, you will not see things clearly, you will only see shadows.

The crack is where the light gets in.

What is this light I am talking of? Am I talking in riddles, metaphors?

Not really, all I know as I stand at the entrance of the cave is that the treasure is outside in the light, not deep inside buried in a trunk. In other words, the treasure is not what I imagined it to be. It is not fairy-tale ideals, it is not a lottery win, it is not Prince/Princess Charming, nor a knight in shining armour. It is right here, right now and it is acceptance and real understanding of this, not just something you tell yourself but a deep "knowing" that you are what you seek.

We are the precious treasure that we seek, but often we cannot see it because we are looking in the other direction for something else, something other than what we have.

Perhaps the real treasure – the light - is in accepting yourself as you are right now. How much energy or time is spent, wasted, stolen from you by yourself, wishing you possessed qualities other than those which you have?

Step out into the light and accept yourself, in doing so, you may find it easier to accept others as they are too.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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What are you reading? Friday October 11, 2019

What are you reading? I asked my husband, leaning across to where he was cradling his iPad, engrossed.

About racism in football, was his reply.

I quipped "Soon, you'll be reading about fashion IN FOOTBALL!

He assured me he would not be!!

But thinking about it, I realised he and I came from such a different angle. Basically, sport vs art & writing. BUT that it amounted to the same thing in the end. He and I share core values, and agree on 'matters of paramount importance'...(I'm putting that phrase in quotation marks, because here, it sounds trumped up, over-elaborate and yes, a tad laboured!). Yet, who says that you ever weigh out IMPORTANCE in pound bags? Important to one, is trivial to another. So in a partnership of any kind, marital, business, or indeed any other sort of friendship or association, I firmly believe you have to share core values.

That's what's reassuring about my OH. I can rely on him, when I'm off track, to set me back on course, metaphorically speaking. Like a piece of train that's lying on its side, and needs resetting on the branch line. A touch of Thomas the Tank engine analogy there, if you like.

Those references are vital I think. Core values shared. Be they with family, friends or at work, in business, even (or perhaps especially) in politics, dare I mention...

I am lucky to have a sounding block or two. I am blessed with people to turn to, and ask "What are you reading?" sorts of questions. Even if, from time to time, you get a "Leave me alone, I'm engrossed - can't you see?!" sort of response!!

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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