The Moodscope Blog



Everything is copy Saturday November 9, 2019

I saw a documentary about the wonderful and talented Nora Ephron, an American journalist, writer, and film maker. She is best known for her romantic comedy films like When Harry Met Sally..., and Sleepless in Seattle.

The Title of the documentary 'Everything is copy' was something Nora's mum who was a writer used to say. Nora did take everything from her life and used it in her writing. Heartburn the movie is based on the breakup of her marriage.

When Nora found out she had leukemia she did not choose to share it with the public and indeed she found not everything is copy. In fact many of her friends only found out how ill she was when they read the death notices.

So maybe even for someone who shared all parts of her private life , even for her, Everything is not copy.

Now in a world, when people reveal what they ate for lunch and their inner most thoughts and feeling on social media every day and sometimes every hour, is everything suitable to be published online or written in a book or talked about a radio or even put in a blog?

I like moodscope blogs because people will share their personal stories with honesty and appear vulnerable.

I must admit I don't often write about my children or my partner as I feel while I can share things about myself, I would respect their privacy unless I have asked them if it is ok. I think in my own life there would be boundaries I would not share here.

I wonder what you think. Do you believe that Everything is copy? Is everything available in one's life or others to be written about and shared with the world?

Do you have boundaries about what you share online or offline?

Do people have the right to use other people's stories or write about family and friends even if they are disguised, whether on FB, Instagram, for TV, movies, books, articles blogs etc, without asking them first?

A Moodscope member

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

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In the dumps Friday November 8, 2019

Hi all, thought I'd have another attempt at this blog thing since my last 'what it's like being depressed'. I must say I was pretty overwhelmed at the response and it gave me some sense of it don't feel abnormal', however my general mood pretty much is in the dumps and it seems to shift not matter how hard I try as I still feel lost.

Now, this might sound like a 'poor me' cry for help and it probably deep down is as I can't make sense of things and can't pinpoint exactly what is causing these awful 'I'm not worthy' feelings. Not even continuous exercise is helping lift it! Struggling with sarcasm/sarcastic people... how do you deal with it in general? Trying to tackle one thing at a time and to understand whether being depressed is causing me to take things personally...

I wonder...maybe you can share your experiences with me?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Privilege, luck, hard work or genetics? Thursday November 7, 2019

I may be pedantic, but twice recently the word 'privilege' has been used on Moodscope in the wrong context. A couple of weeks ago Mary described a family holiday in Wales. The gist was that a disparate group (of tastes, although one family) of wife, husband, two teenage girls, all got something which they saw as a great experience. One reply indicated that only the rich and privileged could afford such a holiday.

I wrote a blog longer ago dwelling on aspects of childhood (my children) in the 1950's and 60's. The gist was that we had acquired a large house (a cheap wreck which we had built on to) and a large garden. Our five kids had room to have friends around, make as much noise as they liked (no neighbours) and have animals. This, too, was described as 'privilege'.

I looked the word up, basically an 'exclusive advantage or right' i.e conferred, not earned.

I have been (favourite occupation) 'dissecting' the people who have come to my nearly stillborn 'Talking shop'. One lady after nearly three hours of conversation made me feel small, in my presumption that everybody had the same chances as me. She has had poor sight from birth. She has never been able to drive a car. I have driven everything I could get my hands on (the faster the sports car the better) since I was 13. I cannot imagine not driving a car.

We have had three days incessant rain. If you had a hospital appointment life would have been hell. Excellent major hospital and polyclinic in nearest big town, 15 minutes by car. But public transport here does not take you where you want to go, taxis reasonable but exorbitant if you have little money. Friends offer, but you don't like to ask when you do not know how long they will have to wait. Charitable organisations non-existent.

I was explaining how I designed my fashionable clothes on dolls, then, great big feet, she could not see intricate design and detail. But she must have acquired, reading large print, her work and listening, a wide grasp of current affairs, as she can converse knowledgeably, But she is very introverted and shy, is one surprised?

Another has had two fairly major strokes, and has returned to near normal. She is lucky, because she and her husband ran the opticians here, taken over by their son. He has four children, so she and her husband saw a lot of them. Their daughter has six children, and lives in Paris, so they have been much called on for grand-parent duties (just behind the Champs-Elysees).

A man I worked closely with on exhibitions has advanced Parkinsons. His tough little wife peeped in my kitchen – much admired. When she left school she worked a sewing machine there, alterations and repairs, with an old wood stove to keep them warm. She had no resentment that I was able to turn it into such an enviable room. So, how do you cope when life gives you a raw deal? I feel chastened by these people.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

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It's All Too Much! Wednesday November 6, 2019

I've been having nightmares: let me tell you about them! Oh, I know the definition of a boring is someone who insists on telling you their dreams, but bear with me, please.

In the first dream I am running a Colour Analysis Workshop. My clients are lovely but, as I reach for the tools I need, my entire family invade my studio space; bringing with them furniture from the rest of the house, piles of old clothes and even the contents from my childhood dressing up box! I can't find anything under the mountains of stuff and grow increasingly panicked.

In the second dream I am taking an exam which comes in three parts. The first is a written paper. It is hard and I know I got only half the marks. The second is an obstacle course and I get stuck at the first challenge - a vast pit of slimy, sticky mud. The third part is a presentation. I am confident here because I know I am good at speaking. As I step up onto the podium to start, I realise I cannot find my notes. Instead of my clear notes in the folder, there are pages of unrelated materials; all torn and messy. I cannot give my presentation and ignominiously fail the exam.

I don't think we need a degree in psychology or dream analysis to see what is going on here. I feel as if my life is descending into chaos. The joint demands of my business and family – that includes my extended family, for whom I have administrative and financial responsibilities – are overwhelming. I feel inadequately prepared for all the challenges in my life and thus a failure.

On 11th September I wrote about dealing with overwhelm. I wrote about getting everything out of your head and onto paper. I have taken my own advice, but it still seems all too much.

But, what to let go?

"Why don't you give up your business and just be a stay at home mum?" asked my younger daughter yesterday? But I love my business, and we need the money.

"Can't someone else do the family and trust finances?" ask the close friends to whom I have confided. Well, no – not really; nobody else has the skill and a professional costs too much.

And – the family – well – family, you know?

So, for the sake of my mental health, I need to find a way through.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but the first thing I am doing is making time to do some relaxing things. I am spending time making Christmas cards and tomorrow I'm having lunch with my sister.

I'm scheduling, and not beating myself up when the scheduling slips.

I'm committing myself to swimming 500m each morning: it's my mediation time as well as exercise.

And I'm writing it all down here and sharing it with you. It helps me, and I hope it might help some of you, if you too are in overwhelm.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Trying too hard Tuesday November 5, 2019

I am struggling with a major issue at the moment, I was about to call a close friend whose advice I really value, but I did not. I went for a walk despite the driving rain. Rather than tilt my head downwards to protect myself from the wind and rain, I zipped my rain jacket up to my neck and turned my face towards the sky as I would on a sunny day. Embrace the rain I thought to myself, accept it rather than turning away from it. What is so bad about lovely fresh rain on my skin anyway – actually much better than the drying sun which simply ages it.

With my head tilted to the grey cloudy sky and my stride lengthening, I walked confidently as I embraced the weather conditions as they were, not as I wanted them to be.

After a while, I sat on a bench facing the sea, the rain stopped and the sun was trying its best to break through the heavy cloud cover. I watched the monstrous waves crash and disperse on the shore pulling the pebbles back into the sea before forming and crashing again. Crash and disperse, crash and disperse, each moment completely unique, pebbles thrown around, scattered, bumped, bashed, rearranged.

I watched the waves as I tried to figure out what to do next. The answer wasn't obvious. I was looking too hard. I was looking for the waves to answer my question, but they simply rolled in and out oblivious to my conundrum and needs.

I don't have a solution right now to my present predicament, but the more I search for one, the more elusive it becomes and the more tangled my thinking gets. I go round and round in my spaghetti mind getting more and more frustrated and further away from that which I seek.

The answers come when the questions cease and so I stopped looking for a solution. I stopped trying to make something happen. I stopped trying to figure out the best thing to do. I stopped berating myself for having got to where I am. I stopped being annoyed with myself for not knowing what to do next.

I stopped.

There is no point in my looking outwards for a solution, in looking to others to solve my problems and provide answers. No one knows better than me what is right for me and if I don't know, how on earth can anyone else know?

The best gift I can give to myself is to be able to know what to do when things are tumultuous and that might simply be nothing at all but ride it out. To be the pebble, tossed around and accept where I land. Is it not all this bashing around afterall that smooths and polishes the pebble taking away its hard jagged edges?

The waves were teaching me something afterall, I just didn't know it at the time.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Emotional Assets Monday November 4, 2019

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

One of my favourite quotes is from Maya Angelou. She says,

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Doesn't it feel great when someone genuinely asserts, "I love you!"? My favourite, though, is not love, it is belief. When someone says, "I believe in you!" I feel like doing even more 'stuff' for them to believe in!

My mission, nowadays, is to make people feel great in three specific areas:




I'm told the greatest of these is love, but I choose not to tell everyone I meet that I love them! What I do want to do is make sure I leave them feeling loved – or at least valued and respected.

If I can have an encounter with you where I leave you convinced that I believe in you, that's an awesome achievement. Several people have given this gift to me over the years, and it's the main one I love to pass on. People are amazing, and, even more amazingly, they so often don't see this! Helping the scales fall from their eyes so that they can recognise their potential is the best vocation on the planet!

Then there's hope. This is such a precious gift. Again, for me, it's about convincing someone that there is a better, brighter, bigger, and bolder future ahead of them. The way is unlikely to be easy, but the results will be worth it. It's what many people call 'faith' – a belief in the future – but it's really the accurate definition of 'hope'. Faith says, "I believe in you now." Hope says, "I believe you have a bright future."

Of course the older we get, the tougher the hope challenge can be. Let's be fans of realistic hope. I may 'wish' I had the health of a 20-year-old, but that's not realistic. True hope isn't wishful thinking. Rather, true hope is a compelling vision to do with the yet unseen (in the evidential world) and future.

Moodscope is a powerful means to a hopeful future. Those of us who have travelled together for a few years have seen one another survive and even learn to thrive. It's a rocky road with many diversions, valleys, and tough hills to climb... but we've survived so far!

Hope is a vulnerable area for those who are feeling despair – hope's opposite. We can go a long, long way toward helping one another if we can alleviate many of the fears of the future that are the enemies of hope. Our blogs can be a channel of comfort into one another's lives.

Why am I sharing all this? I'm sharing this because I think focusing on how you leave others feeling is a worthwhile and noble way to invest your time and energy.

If we can leave others believing more in themselves, hopeful about the future, and loved, respected, and appreciated – well then, that's a great purpose to pursue.

Let's try it today, and notice what happens. I'm going to make it my goal to leave at least one person more hopeful about their future, confident in their abilities in the present, and loved regardless of their performance.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Judgement Sunday November 3, 2019

J is for judging people which we all do. Fairly or unfairly. We know only what we see displayed by their behaviour, not the whole of them. Alas. If only we knew...!

U is for usual. It is usual to greet, thank, be civil and praise. If someone fails to do this, does it make them any less human or deserving?

D is for dread. Dread and fear of putting a foot wrong. Some people seem to be looking for you to do this. To pounce and condemn.

G is for generous spirits. They are thankfully everywhere. Kind words heal wounds and nourish the soul.

E is for everyone. Everyone needs love and understanding. Even when they don't behave well. We haven't walked a mile in their shoes.

M is for mercy. Show mercy to the man with the Big Issue, for instance. Alright, so he might be a rogue, but then, he might not be. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

E is for essence. And unique qualities. What is the essence of your being? How do you like to define yourself, in essence?

N is for nurture. Nurture your inner self. Be kind to it, that way, you'll treat others similarly well.

T is for tenacity. Holding on, koko, or keeping on keeping on. Which Moodscopers have in abundance, thank goodness!

(My loose (and by no means definitive!) interpretation of the word "judgement" as an acrostic. Humbly offered. I like acrostics because they get my mind thinking.)


A Moodscope member.

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

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Mindfulness in town and country Saturday November 2, 2019

I don't know if I've got this right, but mindfulness seems to be about not relying on my mind to work my way out of every anxiety. My mind sometimes works very fast indeed. When my anxiety is up, I can think of reasons for, and reasons against, almost anything I do. Should I do this first? Or that?

Mornings are generally (but not always) worse for my mind racing. I can calm it by taking a short walk before going to work. Observing horses. Hedgerows. Looking to see if I can see the swallows. Admiring the shapes of the trees. Hearing. What can I hear? A snuffle behind the hedge. A distant train. Birdsong. More rustling. Do the horses have a relationship? What can I smell? By this time, my mind has dis-engaged. My other senses are engaged. The problems aren't solved, but the respite is welcome.

In town, I do some alternative mindfulness. Bizarrely, I like buildings. I observe them. I look at the sequence of shapes. The proportions. I count windows or pillars for symmetry. I suddenly notice a decorated stone strip I never saw before. Was it essential? Why did I never notice it before? Are those lines really parallel? Again, I am losing myself in my surroundings. My mind is no longer worrying over problems like a dog worrying over a bone. It is observing, marvelling. The problems aren't solved, but the respite is welcome. Sometimes the respite is all I need. It certainly doesn't do any harm!

A Moodscope member.

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

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My Life in Your Hands Friday November 1, 2019

Could you make a better life of my life? I've often wondered how, in different hands, my life might be. Of course I can never know, and neither can you... but would you feel lucky... or short-changed? Would you think you had been hard done by or had a great time? Could you look at me in the mirror and say well done. I don't find that particularly easy to do – in fact it's near impossible.

I could give you a description of me and a bit about my life. Tall-ish, 5 foot 6 and a half (the half is important)... long-ish blonde hair, slim-ish (used to be a 10, now I am a very fat 10 i.e. a 12 – laughingly which I see as a complete failure on my part), young-ish 50 something, with a blossoming very fulfilling self-employment, another half who adores me but also takes the mick, a stepdaughter who seems to really like me, more than a handful of friends and special people that care for me, a crazy home in the Highlands which all our visitors find easy to relax in, and a new dog that is totally gorgeous.

On the surface, I seem like I am successful. But... I am also an orphan (I really miss my parents and particularly hate what would have been my mum's birthday which is also near Christmas, another time I find very difficult for what reason I do not know why), I am a depression survivor, a body dysmorphic since the age of 12 (and people who see me and know me find this very very difficult to understand which makes it all the more bloody isolating), I compare myself CONSTANTLY to others and feel I fall short in most respects.

I'm desperate to change aspects of myself but I also cannot be bothered, which frustrates the hell out of me – I am a Pisces... perhaps that explains it! But don't feel sorry for me. I know I'm an empath, but I'm also blunt, I am a mass of contradictions, I do think I am slightly on some kind of spectrum and I am a complicated person, but in some respects I'm also straightforward. I also giggle uncontrollably and cry occasionally, I find simple things beautiful but sometimes crave for a more glamorous life... yet I know deep down I'm an old hippy at heart.

I spent so long in my life trying to get everyone to like me and now I really don't give a f*ck. Even though I have low self-esteem, I think people that dislike me just don't get me and are missing something. However, I do think that I often would love to say to someone... here you go... make something of my life, make it better, make me happier, make me successful. Isn't it strange? Have you ever felt like this? I'm sure I'm not alone but I'd like to know your thoughts...

A Moodscope member.

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

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Listening Thursday October 31, 2019

It's been ages since I've written. I read the blogs every day, and I love hearing about people's experiences, perspectives, ways of coping (or not), and the general openness, honesty, respect and acceptance shared amongst us all. Each person's sharing is so precious and gives such life so freely to others. It really does help me reflect on so many things. Thank you all!

Life for me has been busy. I've previously written two other 'blogs' to date. I feel I have so much within I could share, but not so much time.

However, over the last few months, I have been learning to slow down a bit and 'listen' – not just to others – but to myself. I've carved some time out for 'me', and given myself some space on a Wednesday, to listen to my heart, to listen to my body, to listen to my mind. I've found that although there are still a million and one things to do, that those things can wait. The important bit is to learn to care for myself in a more healthy way, and to learn to let go of the other 'stuff'.

Sometimes I've managed this, sometimes I've not. I'm learning to not beat myself up when I don't (a huge feat in itself!). But what I have learnt is that when I am able to do this, I am listening to the inner 'me', and noticing and listening to my feelings, as well as getting in touch with my vulnerability. It's not always been easy, and sometimes been painful facing real, deeper feelings, but in doing so, I've become more connected to and aware of myself, and I've come to know me, who I am, and what I need. And I've even begun to use my voice and share those needs with safe others, and that helps me to not feel so alone and disconnected from the world.

As a person who always used to put others before myself, these (perhaps little changes for some), are, for me, huge adjustments which have helped me to feel more present, more self aware, and allowed me to be much kinder to and more tolerant with myself. This has, in turn, enhanced my work with others.

Before now, I've realised I (and some others) have somewhat neglected myself. It was 'easy' to listen to others and their pain and demands. Although uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and at times a challenge, this time out for reflection and stillness for myself has helped me become a safer person for myself. I've learned to know 'me', value myself, have some fun, and do nurturing things that my weary body, mind and spirit so desperately needed.

So, my gentle 'challenge' to you precious people is to really learn to 'listen' to you – what are your deeper feelings and needs? And how, in listening to these, can you learn to nurture and be kind to those places within, and help them to grow and strengthen in a good way, to help you become the best 'you' you can be?

A Moodscope member.

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

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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.

77 comments - Permalink



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.

72 comments - Permalink



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.

93 comments - Permalink



Go Where You Are Looking Monday October 21, 2019

[To view a video version of this blog, please click here:
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"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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