The Moodscope Blog

3

July

Happeness. Monday July 3, 2017

One of the routes to happiness is to enjoy 'happeness' - to find reasons to be cheerful in the moment. No huge long-term commitment is necessary, just a sense of 'looking for the good' at this point, right now. 'Happeness', then, is my word for 'Happiness-as-it-happens'.

Why is this important? It seems generations have been searching for 'Happiness' – an oasis of bliss in the desert that Life can sometimes be. When asked, "Are you 'Happy'?" most of us have to honestly declare, "No!" because we are not – not if Happiness is an enduring state of mind, the place where we permanently dwell.

'Happiness' is a verb that's been turned into a noun. My hairline has receded. That didn't happen overnight – it was a long process. 'Recession' is a similar noun – the result of the process of receding. 'Happiness' would seem to be the process of being 'Happy' over a period of time. 'Happiness' doesn't happen overnight either. Like recession, perhaps we can reach happeness one hair at a time! The equivalent of each hair would be one, single experience of 'Happeness'. Even when Life isn't pleasant, I still find those moments of Happeness: the Oak seedling in the middle of the lawn that I dug up to nurture, the Clematis seed head dripping with rain drops like jewels, the breath-taking beauty of the Cirrus clouds, the warm, chocolatey resonance of Mickey – the Cat's purr, the scent of fresh Coffee, the joy of sharpening my pencil...

Here's how the new word happened... I was on my way to see my lads on Father's Day. It was rather busy on the roads, and I was making slow progress. The weather was gorgeous weather. Mentally, I was in a good place, ready for some fresh revelation.

A real 'Aha!' moment happened (!) concerning transforming 'happiness' by changing just one letter - from 'happiness' to 'happeness'. I realised how one of the pathways to happiness is to realise how we can cherish the moment.

It was Father's Day. I'd got some moments ahead of me to cherish. I was reflecting on how a lot of people are oppressed by regrets from the past, or perhaps fears of unfulfilled hopes for the future, whereas, 'now' is the moment in which we live and move and have our being! This is where it happens. Thus, I think that 'happeness' may be one of the pathways to happiness - to enjoy this moment now. Happen, happy, happenstance... a family of words.

I have many reasons to regret the past, and huge fears for the future but neither of these serve me very well. I need a new strategy, a new pattern of thinking.

There I was, sitting in very, very busy traffic, on a very, very hot day... happy! Other drivers, stuck in the same traffic, did not look happy! I was happy because I'd brought with me great stuff to listen to. I was stuck in traffic - utterly inspired! - utterly happy!

There it was and is then: Happeness - one of the pathways to happiness – a way to enjoy the journey. Whatever you are doing today, I wish you safe journeys, great happiness, and, above all, great happeness.

And if you think it would be helpful, here's the video of that moment!
http://bit.ly/2urfAsf

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

49 comments - Permalink


2

July

Teddy Bear Therapy. Sunday July 2, 2017

On a recent morning, as I arrived in St Pancras International station for another working day, I made a spot purchase. I bought a teddy bear. I didn't buy him for my 12 year old daughter who is mad about all things soft, cute and cuddly. I bought it (him actually) for myself. Why? Because I felt really low and I needed cheering up. I also love Teddy Bears.

My next stop was the chemist. The cashier picked up the teddy bear in delight and exclaimed, with a beaming smile, how cute he was. I mentioned that I had to name him to which she promptly replied 'Geoffrey' or how about 'Sam?' So I named him Geoffrey Sam.

What a day of mixed reactions Geoffrey Sam received. Sly looks from commuters on London Transport. Fun exchanges with internal work colleagues. Curiosity from external work colleagues (yes I did take him to an external meeting and sit him on the table), and disapproval from my line manager! Needless to say I went home that evening feeling both immensely more cheerful and quite fascinated by the range of reactions. Geoffrey Sam had done his job!

Do you ever dare to step out of the 'norm'? Have you done quirky things to try and brighten your day? I would love to hear your stories. Many of my colleagues tell me that I'm 'crazy' when I step out of the 'norm.' Guess what, that's fine by me!

Jane SG
A Moodscope member.

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

62 comments - Permalink


1

July

'Milestone' birthdays, fete or forget? Saturday July 1, 2017

This year our 2nd son is 60, our 5th 'child' is 50. Last year our 1st son was 60, his son was 30, my brother-in-law 90, and we celebrated all of them. We never lack an excuse for a party.

I was recently thinking of 'Life begins at 40' (a 1932 book on 'Self-Help'), more realistically Daily Telegraph research shows 'The fourth decade heralds the beginning of the end' (very cheering). Then you have the 'Seven Ages of Man', apparently from Jacques, in Shakespeare 'As you like it' who was 'Jaded, cynical and melancholy'.

So, in my 9th decade, have all milestones been notable? Well, you decide. 10 years old we had bonfires to celebrate end of WW2, and I started grammar school (scary) and got used to flashers on the bicycle route! At 21, I already had a child, and was interviewing our first employee. The phone went, I handed him the child. Plaintive cry 'Your boy's being sick over me'. We're still friends.

The decade 35 to 45 is 'lost'; five children, three house moves, and manic depressive – hospitals, scared of going mad, endless changes of drug, two operations – how we all stuck together through that lot beats me.

But, at 40, I had my first article published and paid for! A real milestone, given what it lead to. At 50, I went to University (the decision was made when very drunk, never regretted). At 60, real life change – living in France, and a writer, researcher and historian. 70 – Lovely clothes (see blog on 'Target') and dancing in the fountains in Paris.

Then, this decade - biggest challenge of all. Leaving our lovely historic house and converting an old shop to provide an 'ambience' which would please me aesthetically and deal with the practical needs of a very sick husband.

Among our pictures is the 100th birthday of my mother-in-law with a telegram from the Queen. I don't think I'll aspire to that – I think her purse won't stretch to all the centenarians. Should she still be alive, she'll be 109, not impossible and poor Prince Charles 87!

So are your 'milestones' joyous, tinged with sadness, or a complete blur?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

28 comments - Permalink


30

June

To me, to you, to me. Friday June 30, 2017

My son suffers anxiety. I'm trying to help him smash that wall. I suffer anxiety. I have built a life around it. I have, rightly or wrongly, built a life to accommodate it. When my three caterpillars have grown fully (and they are almost there) and spread their butterfly wings and fly, I will confront some of it but until then, I am ok with having built my life around it.

In my life, nobody knows. I act. First thing today when my boy was hurting so much, after we parted, I sent him a text message. He loves to stay in touch. After I sent it, I realised I needed to heed my own advice. Here's what I sent:

"It is an intense time right now. You've not got much time to process everything and that is what you need to stay healthy inside your head. Processing time will come, and we must take it in little bites when we can. You've done it before and you'll do it again. What is for you doesn't go by you. If it's meant, it happens anyway, just at a different time. I'm here for you."

He came home better and made choices in his day which could put me to shame! It's time I take my own advice. This is a good example of being kind to yourself, a phrase I have long not understood. I can be kind to myself by hearing my own words and applying them to myself.

Inspired by our lovely Leah, I will leave you with a question. What might you say to my son that might also apply to yourself? Absorbing your own message is being kind to yourself. I'm learning.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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

19 comments - Permalink


29

June

Not guilty. Thursday June 29, 2017

Like many Moodscopers, I am no stranger to guilt. I am hard on myself, sometimes with good reason.

I have gathered a pick and mix of spiritual ideas over the years, and pray every night. I don't know or care if anyone listens. Whatever else, I always ask for the strength to do the right thing.

Recently I betrayed the trust of one of my oldest and dearest friends. I did so quite deliberately, weighing up the consequences, and I have not had one moment of guilt.

P and I have been friends for 25 years. We are in many ways quite opposites. There are things about her that get on my nerves, actions that appal me, political views that grate. She has also been a good and loyal friend, and I know she would never do what I have done to her.

I don't drive. My brain is not wired that way, I can't tell left from right, anxiety makes me freeze and lorries terrify me. I would be a danger to others. I do understand how important the ability to drive is to many though.

My friend adores cars and driving. In her younger days she had a canary yellow E-type, customised by her with painting of Elvis on the roof.

P became even more contrary and bloody-minded than usual a few years ago. She was leaving the supermarket when a concerned couple tried to take her keys off her, offered to call a cab or drive her home. She refused, outraged, drove home in a haze and ended up in A&E. She discharged herself and refused to see her GP as instructed. The upshot was a brain scan a year ago, showing vascular dementia in the moderate to severe range.

She refused medications and therapies. She can't make a cup of tea, dress without help, watch T.V, barely read or write. Yet still she drives. Her GP told her to inform DVLA and insurers, but she refused. For months I avoided meeting, she was so vile. All her good qualities have been eroded by this disease. Feeling ashamed, I took some presents and photos from the past. There was the car, still used daily. She barely recalls my name, nor those of her dogs, and can't speak full sentences.

When I asked how she would feel if she caused death or injury to others, she said she was not bothered. If stopped from driving, threatens to take the car and crash into a tree. Her husband just shrugs, says he's past caring.

This is why I wrote to the DVLA, reporting her. The day the form arrived from them she was screaming on the phone, I just acted dumb. I still care for the friend I knew, but this is no time for sentiment. P has already died, this is not about her. She says she will cut her wrists rather than stop driving, and I feel no guilt, I just don't want to hear she has injured another. To me, doing nothing would have added to the list of things I feel ashamed of.

What's your verdict Moodscopers-should my conscience be troubling me?

Valerie
A Moodscope member.

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

28 comments - Permalink


28

June

Putting Pen to Paper. Wednesday June 28, 2017

It won't surprise most of you to hear that your Monday writer Lex and I are friends off the page, so to speak. We do in fact speak to each other; but mostly – we write. We are both writers, after all.

Yesterday morning Lex posted a video on his timeline about a new tablet which allows you to read (like any tablet) but also to write, using a stylus like a pen or pencil, and to sketch. Apparently, this remarkable tablet will replace all your notebooks and sketchpads with one slimline screen.

As Lex pointed out, you could pay nigh on $500 for one of these nifty little gadgets, or you could just spend a fiver on a beautiful new notebook and a jazzy pencil to go with it.

I don't know about you, but I love the act of writing. I don't mean what I'm doing now, tapping keys on my keyboard and seeing the neat letters appearing in Calibri font, 11 point, on the screen before me; I mean that act of putting pen to paper, of drawing those intricate curves and lines, making up characters that transform into words, which then create meaning.

There is a magic and a sensuality in it. There is the velvety smoothness of the pencil, or fountain pen, as it loops and swirls across the page. There is a ritual and soothing rhythm in writing; watching as mysterious patterns appear on that page, as they convey mystical meaning beyond mere markings, as they transform into pictures inside your mind…

Have you ever sat at midnight, by the light of a candle, writing a love letter to a friend, in purple ink using a quill pen? Have you ever poured out your deepest feelings in that ink, onto the paper?

Even if that letter is never sent (and believe me, many of those letters are better never sent), the act of writing them has been both therapeutic and beneficial.

The therapeutic benefits of pencil and paper do not necessarily employ words. We have all of us come across the colouring books for adults. As children, we lost ourselves for hours just "colouring in". As grown-ups, we can still find solace in the disciplined freedom of colouring in.

I prefer the equally disciplined, but more freeform expression of Zentangle; a formalised version of doodling. Although beautiful pieces of art can be created using these repetitive patterns, the joy is in the meditation of creation. As your hand and pen move across the paper in a ritual dance, your mind is freed, even while remotely tethered to the strokes of the pen.

So, I would urge you: leave the emails and the texts aside for a while. Write that thank you note by hand. Send a handwritten love letter to that special person (and love letters need not be always about romantic love), create some art with your doodles. Pen a little magic into your life.

The purple ink is optional.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

43 comments - Permalink


27

June

We All Matter. Tuesday June 27, 2017

I have always been more self conscious than I would like. I had one very judgemental parent. The other always wanting to please others. Both wanting to impress.

It feels a little boring for me to keep "blaming" my parents, but boring is good. Better than painful. Boring leads to finding something better!

Coming back to the point though, I've had the feeling that what others thought of how we were brought up, was MORE important than we were. That My happiness didn't matter.

I get the same feeling at work. Nothing is ever good enough. Never doing enough. More and more new things being piled onto an already full workload. In fact it really seems as if you're happy something must be wrong! You're obviously not working hard enough. "You are not good enough value for money and we can demand more out of you."

Well guess what? My emotional wellbeing does matter.
My happiness is important.
It's ok to enjoy my life, whether I am being paid or not!
This is MY life.
All of my time is my own. Whether I am being paid or not.
I can decide how to spend it.
I can trust myself to do what I need AND want to do.
AND I can take the time I need to do it!

It's no wonder that people go through long periods of time finding it hard to feel any enjoyment or happiness, but that doesn't mean that it is a done deal.

I would like to worry less about what people think of me.

Step one (making this up now guys!)
Turn it into a positive... I want to relax about things a bit more, I deserve to.

Step two
Notice an old pattern or worry as it starts and gently let it pass. What self care would make you feel a little better? Do that.

Step three
Notice an opportunity to try a little of what you want. For me, I can relax about and even enjoy what I'm doing. I matter. If others are on the same page, wonderful. If they're not, they matter less.

Is there something that you would like?

Lillypet
A Moodscope member.

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

39 comments - Permalink


26

June

Pearl Fisher or Pearl Crusher? Monday June 26, 2017

In the last century, I learned a beautiful concept from Time Manager International (TMI): to choose to be a Pearl Fisher! The inspirational Claus Møller, founder of TMI, teaches two choices in life: to be a Pearl Fisher or to be a Pearl Crusher.

Will You Choose to Fish for Pearls, or to Crush Pearls?

The beauty of natural pearls hides their unpleasant beginnings. A pearl is formed in response to adversity and irritation.

Pearls are formed more often in response to a parasite rather than the proverbial grain of sand. This fits the message even better than a grain of sand. The pearl secretes a fluid called 'nacre' around the foreign body, as a defence mechanism. Layer of layer builds up until a beautiful pearl is discernible.

When we manufacture pearls, a beautiful description is used: a 'Cultured' Pearl. I feel we're being rather posh today, aren't we? It takes three years for a cultured pearl to reach a sufficient size for it to be harvested.

I'm sure the moral of the story is clear: an irritant, even a parasite in our lives, can act as a catalyst to create something of beauty, if we have a creative response.

Is there an 'irritant' in your life? Perhaps this irritant is a person, a person who is so demanding that they might even, on a bad day, be described as a 'parasite'!

Let's learn from the Wisdom of the Oyster's creative response. Let's cover the irritant in our own 'nacre' and give it time. It takes at least three years to see the value emerge.

Ask yourself, "How can I turn this relationship into a thing of beauty?"

...the Pearl Crusher

A Pearl Fisher, then, is someone who creates a pearl out of every irritant and parasitological relationship! A Pearl Fisher creates value out of trouble.

But what of the Pearl Crusher? The Pearl Crusher does the opposite. The Pearl Crusher finds adversity and irritation in every pearl.

No matter how wonderful the day or experience, the person who has chosen to be a Pearl Crusher, will find a problem with it.

I suspect we have all indulged in pearl-crushing behaviour from time to time. Some people, however, are professional pearl-crushers. Some have a black-belt in the marital art of pearl-crushing! You know the type... whatever you try to do for them, they find fault. No matter how brilliant your idea, they'll find ways to suggest how it will fail.

In other blogs, I've suggested these people should be removed from our lives. But what if we cannot 'remove' them (legally, at least!)? With those parasites and irritants who are here to stay, let's get nacred! I'm pretty sure I've just made that word up, but it tickled me!

There are many actions we can take in response to these thoughts. The first is to catch ourselves quickly when we indulge in pearl-crushing thoughts and behaviours. Stop it!

Another is to learn to become a Pearl Fisher - to find value in every irritation.

There is a better way.

Get Nacred!

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

67 comments - Permalink


25

June

Nothing new under the sun. Sunday June 25, 2017

"Originality is the art of concealing your source."

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin or Franklin P. Jones or Thomas Edison.

The fact the quotation has three possible authors begs the question what is originality and does it matter?

When I write I want to be original and I am sure many people are the same. When I write a blog I want be very original and unique. In reality it is nearly impossible to be original as most ideas have already been used in some way.

Shakespeare used Roman sources Plutarch and Ovid so writers were using earlier sources for a long time. Most people would say Shakespeare was original.

If a book has a similar theme but each writer uses an idea in a different way, does that show some originality? Why is there this need to be original? Why don't we just try to be captivating and engaging in our words?

"Only those with no memory insist on their originality" Coco Chanel

Many people in the creative arts would agree with Coco because they realise people prefer the comfort familiar themes to unknown territory of new ideas.

This is why many movies have a happy ending, and have sequels and there are many version of the same film, eg. The three Musketeers has had approximately 24 versions made of it. Books are the same, people love to read about the same characters, the same familiar story.

So where does the desire to be original come from. Is because we want to stand out to be better than others?

Edith Wharton said "True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision."

So is it about not coming up with new ideas but with a new way of using them or seeing them?

Remember not many can recall who made up a joke but everyone laughs if it is told well.

I am still confused about originality and the way it is interpreted in many ways today.

Are we all original because we experience our lives individually?

Does it really matter if we get ideas from others and use them in our own way.

Is being original very important to you or doesn't it matter?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

44 comments - Permalink


24

June

I am NOT worthless. Saturday June 24, 2017

I find the book "Feeling Good" by David D Burns, MD, extremely helpful. I was dipping in today and came across the following, written by one of his clients.

Feeling worthless is a symptom of depression but just because you FEEL worthless does NOT mean that you are correct! If, dear Moodscoper, you are feeling worthless today, I hope that reading this helps you to realise that actually, you are eminently worthwhile!

"As long as I have something to contribute to the well-being of myself and others, I am not worthless.

As long as what I do can have a positive effect, I am not worthless.

As long as my being alive makes a difference to even one person, I am not worthless (and this one person can be me if necessary).

If giving love, understanding, companionship, encouragement, sociability, counsel, solace means anything, I am not worthless.

If I can respect my opinions, my intelligence, I am not worthless. If others also respect me, that is a bonus."

Can you add to this or make your own list? Put your list somewhere so that you read it every day.

Thinking of you, especially if you are suffering today and sending calm, healing, positive thoughts.

Marmaladegirl
A Moodscope member.

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

64 comments - Permalink


23

June

Time to fess up. Friday June 23, 2017

I was horrified the other day when I inadvertently let slip to my 11 year old son I was having counselling.

Dashing out of the school gates one afternoon. "Come on," I said. "I'm going to be late for my counselling session."

"What's counselling?" he said.

For the past few months I have been sneaking off on a Wednesday to 'go to the supermarket' or 'nip to the doctors' I'd never told him where I was really going.

I didn't want him to think I was weak, failing as an adult or a bad mother for not coping. So cue conversation about counselling.

"Mum sometimes worries about things too much and it makes me a bit poorly. It started when your Grandma died long before you were born. "I speak to someone and he helps me sort it out in my head and that makes me feel better."

A simplified explanation that satisfied him and he quickly returned to discussing more important issues in his life - Star Wars and Lego.

In hindsight I should have had this conversation long ago. I should have made mental health issues something freely discussed within our family unit without judgement.

The fact is discussing mental health issues with children is much easier than with adults. It does need simplifying but they do not get embarrassed and do not judge – they just accept.

I plan to keep this conversation going as he approaches his pre-teens. I hope by sharing some of my experiences he won't feel uncomfortable or embarrassed if he has a mental health issue and he will have the confidence to seek help.

There is lots in the media about the importance of discussing mental health issues. Surely it's crucial these conversations also take place with the children in our lives so if they hit difficult times, as children or as adults, it becomes as easy to talk about as... Star Wars or Lego.

Rosie
A Moodscope member.

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

17 comments - Permalink


22

June

Choose your words. Thursday June 22, 2017

Our choice of words to others says so much more about us than we realise. An entitlement air opinions can be confused as an opportunity to open and flutter the peacock's tail-feathers and have ones own ego stroked, or put someone down in an attempt to dress-up 'honesty' with being just plain rude and spiteful.

Respect is not a given in life, it can be lost but it can also be gained. Given if received. How we make others feel with our words speaks volumes as to where we are with ourselves. Some words are transparent enough that they are the windows to ones own struggle.

Thoughts don't always have to be vocalised. Opinions can be overrated and unwarranted. Less is sometimes more and usually it is the unspoken that lingers the loudest.

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." Dorothy Nevill.

Why spit arrows when taking a step back allows silence to speak for itself?

The Trusty-Yogi
A Moodscope member.

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

17 comments - Permalink


21

June

Mr Fixit. Wednesday June 21, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2tq88O2]

Just round the corner from the house by the sea where we spend our summers, lived – until his death last year – Bob.

Bob was a real character: everyone knew Bob. He had lived in the area all his life and in that house for most of it. When the big floods came a few autumns ago he refused to evacuate as ordered. "I didn't move for Hitler," he grunted. "I ain't moving for some jumped up snotty nosed council official. That tide won't come over the wall, I tell you!" He was proved correct in this forecast and he stayed dry that night.

Bob could do anything and fix everything and he always had the right tools. Your drains were blocked? Bob had the drain-rods and he'd help you with that smelly job. That funny shaped and rusty bolt that needed to come out? Bob would have, not only the right size spanner, but the grinder to cut it off when the bolt proved too rusty to shift. The electricians who delivered your new oven refused to connect it because the electricity supply was somehow inadequate? Bob would remind you he was a qualified electrician and connect it all up for you. Bob is very much missed indeed.

They say a bad workman always blames his tools. Well, Bob always had the right tools for the job, and was always willing to lend them out. He always had the right spare part – or a spare part he could fiddle with until it was a clone for the right part.

He suffered with depression after his wife died. I asked him how he had dealt with it. He thought for a moment and then lifted his glass to me. "Long walks by the sea," he said. "Long talks with my sons and my sister. Long evenings with a bottle of wine."

I'm not sure about that last one, but I was remembering Bob today and thinking about all the tools we can use when our soul's dwelling is attacked by those terrible twins Anxiety and Depression.

Exercise should probably be the first tool we reach for. A brisk walk in the open air is good medicine for nearly everything (except possibly pneumonia). Some people find team sports lift their spirits (I can't think of anything more calculated to depress mine, but each to their own). Some like solitary running or swimming.

If we can't take exercise for any reason we must look at other tools. Meditation can calm things down and buoy things up. Mindfulness can quieten the screaming squirrels in your brain.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and TAT (Look up Tapas Fleming on You Tube) can help some.

A support network (family and friends) is vital - if maybe difficult to maintain.

Gardening, craftwork and pets can all help.

You will have your own tools and it would be great if you would share them with us in the comments.

We too can be Mr or Ms Fixit.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

26 comments - Permalink


20

June

Love Is In The Air. Tuesday June 20, 2017

It's been a harrowing few weeks for the people of London and Manchester. The recent terrorists attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire has rocked Britain to the core. There is so much pain, anguish, confusion and anger. My heart aches for all those affected. I've cried so many tears. I've hugged my family and friends just that little bit tighter and I've tried very hard not to moan about trivial things in life.

Throughout all these tragic and heartbreaking events though one thing has stood out. Love. I have worked in London for 8 years now and I cannot remember a time when I felt so much love and a sense of community spirit as I have during these past few weeks. Love is very much in the air, from friends to families and from neighbours to strangers. It reaches out across all religions, cultures and beliefs. It makes me feel so proud to work there and now, on every day that I commute to work, I walk a little bit taller. I'm proud of London and proud to be a tiny part of it.

So wherever you are today, and however you are feeling, I hope you can feel love in the air. Because I'm sending love your way today.

Jane SG
A Moodscope member.

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

39 comments - Permalink


19

June

Contagious Stories. Monday June 19, 2017

Like a good joke told by the next person, or the second person who picks up a Mexican Wave, a great story goes viral when someone else catches it and retells it.

Here's the exciting creative challenge then: to tell true stories that capture the imagination, but that are easy enough to remember for other people to retell.

I train trainers and teach teachers Accelerated Learning (well, that's part of what I do.) When enthusing teachers and trainers about teaching and training being a vocation, way more than just a job, I tell the story of my first chemistry lesson vs my first physics lesson. Those first lessons changed my preferences and my personal history.

The important thing to me is that the story is easy to relate to and easy to tell-on. So, once upon a time...

My chemistry teacher was well over 6 feet tall when we were tiny students going to the BIG school for the first time. We'd walk up the stairs, one-step-at-a-time, whereas he would stride past, one-flight-at-a-time! He was awesome, and his name will be remembered fondly forever: Mr Hill.

Mr Hill had only one eye. The other had been blinded in a chemical accident. He told us this in our first lesson. When we heard this, he had our attention!

The first lesson included a command to go to the back of the room and gather around the bench. On the bench was a galvanised bucked full of water...

When we could bear it no longer, he took some tongs and placed a piece of Sodium into the bucket.

Ker Boom!!!

Mr Hill's experiment peppered the ceiling as the Sodium reacted fiercely with the water and blew up.

"Cool!" we all thought, "We like Chemistry!"

Nobody was hurt, everybody was impressed! Chemistry was 'sold'!

By way of stark contrast, our first Physics lesson began with us all being asked to form a circle around the room and hold hands! Picture a group of young men in their first lesson. Holding hands was not 'cool' at the best of times. The nameless Physics master then powered up the Van de Graaff Generator and sent a charge through the whole group.

...He electrocuted us!

Shocking, I know! But the shock had a powerful effect. I wasn't the only student that day to decide: Chemistry = cool; Physics = uncool!

Now, do you think you could retell that story?

And what about the moral of the story?

My intended meaning is that teachers and trainers need to give their students and participants engaging experiences. The Physics Master meant well. He meant to be interactive and engaging. However, he only engaged pain and fear! We were unharmed but cautious and therefore 'Physics Adverse'! Our Chemistry Master was a warning in himself. Warning out of the way, it was time to play... and play we did.

The result? I took 'A' Level Chemistry... and we all lived happily ever after.

Go, tell good stories... stories that others can catch and tell-on.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

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18

June

I lost my mind. Sunday June 18, 2017

But not in the way you might have initially thought. I've been losing my mind very happily over the last 6 months or so...

Like many of us, I have a constant chatter pecking away in my head. Mostly I am so familiar with it that its presence does not even register. I use meditation to not only help me deal with the chatter but also to simply become aware of it. The chatter has been damaging me for too long, just another aspect of this hideous ill, and I am calling time on it.

However, even after committing to regular meditation (with regular pauses and no apologies, its life) I still found myself at times fretting, having whole conversations in my head, replaying problems of my own as well as age-related and very normal problems my children were having. Not helpful. Upsetting and damaging.

Then I fell into territory I hadn't realised was such a gift. I fell into paradise! I fell into Desert Island Discs (A BBC TV programme in the UK: http://bbc.in/1v36Gxy). There are parts of my working day when I need to be with people, be quiet, still and concentrate. And there are other parts when I can turn up sound and be more free as I work. In those times, I started listening to Desert Island Discs.

Not only have I heard some songs that I adore. Not only have I heard new songs to adore. Not only have I been enchanted by the host and her skilful, tip-of-a-pin precision interviews. I have also heard from people from all manner of walks of life and parts of the world, heard bits of their joy, their work, their sorrows, their history, their future, their honesty, their guilt, their life, their hopes and regrets. And for 30 minutes (which is a godsend to those of us who struggle with concentration due to this ill) I can do practical tasks which can run alongside audio well and I can listen, learn and lose my mind to the life of someone else. It has been a godsend.

Chatter silenced. Happy ears on. Peace becomes me. For a little holiday, I urge you to try it. Podcasts are available for historical episodes or you can tune in weekly. And I will be extremely interested to receive your 8 chosen tracks, your book and your luxury.

Love from
The room above the garage.

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

22 comments - Permalink


17

June

Do I sound like that? Saturday June 17, 2017

It seemed like a simple task. I was asked to record some stories for a woman who is losing her sight. I like reading, I like talking, what could be easier. I thought I would find a cassette recorder (now those who are technologically advanced will see my first problem.) How did I know that the digital recorders were so tiny that my chubby fingers could not operate the delicate dials?

So, I finally got the recorder working and then tried to play it back. All I heard was this screeching voice nagging at my partner - who could that be? Not me? I had no idea of how awful I sounded - in my defence I was trying to explain to him what to do.

I have never liked hearing my recorded voice as I sound like a cross between a patronising kindergarten teacher and a bossy prison guard.

There is that saying about seeing us as others see us but I heard myself as others hear me and it was not pretty!!

I know I can nag a bit well maybe a lot at times but I never knew how horrible I sounded.

It really was a wake up call. I would like to say that I have never nagged my partner again but that would be less than truth.

I try to catch myself and remember how awful I sound. I still hate the sound of my voice but before I start complaining/nagging I try to remember how really awful I sound.

Do you ever see/hear how others see or hear you? Are you ever surprised?

Has it changed your behaviour?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

41 comments - Permalink


16

June

Post 'pain body'. Friday June 16, 2017

Some time ago I wrote a blog about the 'pain body' (around 2015).

'Pain body" is a term coined by Eckhart Tolle – it is what comes alive when we are triggered by some event, or atmosphere, or place, or person – particularly any disappointment. We are then literally in pain of some sort – whether fear, anger, sadness – some overwhelming emotion. I had been reading a book by M Rafat (Inside the Pain Body) - he said to transmute this pain body "Observe it – be centred – have one foot in one's centredness and one foot in the pain."

Two years later – I realise I have come a long way from those days of being completely taken over by the pain body. After two years of study and practice to become a coach of Katherine Woodward Thomas' Calling in the One and Conscious Uncoupling processes – I have learned a new way to deal with all the triggers of daily life:

I ask myself what am I feeling and list the feelings that I hear myself say (eg sad, scared, worried etc) and I mirror these back to myself "I can see you are feeling... sad etc". I ask myself where in my body I feel this. How old is this part of myself. What does that part have to say to me – "I am... (perhaps alone, abandoned, not good enough)", "Others are... (perhaps untrustworthy, hostile, unreachable)" and "Life is... (perhaps not there, dangerous, a lonely place".

I can then imagine myself as a mature wise adult speaking to this younger self – perhaps she was 7 or 4 or even a baby. I say "Of course that is not true – eg. You are not alone, you are deeply connected to others and all of life – it is just that your parents were so busy at that time." And I tell my younger self the truth about others "They appreciate your presence" and "Life has always been on your side bringing to you what you need when you need it."

Even half way through this process – the big triggered emotion – that scary "pain body" will have disappeared and I am back relatively in balance in the more peaceful middle fulcrum of the see saw of my feelings. Now I also know to do this when I am over-excited about something – so long as I remember!

Melanie
A Moodscope member.

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

17 comments - Permalink


15

June

The Internet. Thursday June 15, 2017

The Internet, what a wonderful creation! The list is endless, I run my whole life from it...

Shopping, banking, news and weather updates, research, communication, music, videos, games. Moodscope of course!! I am sure you could add a few more to the list.

Whatever did we do without it?

Thing is, I find it is a real distraction. I must spend most of my days on it! Okay, when I was working, it was a godsend at times. If I didn't understand something, good old Google!! If I didn't want to ring someone, email! Sending documents through instead of relying on the post. Instant!

Skype! I can talk to my brother and actually see him, when he is in a different country, for free – wow!!

Social Media, another great invention. Or is it? I have recently come off Facebook as it was really not doing my mental health any good at all.

I miss it a little. I liked to be nosey. But did I really want to see that my ex had got married? That all my old friends were having such a great time of it? The 'selfies' from self obsessed (or insecure) people. The annoying comments... The times I had a rant on there and wish I hadn't!! Hours spent reading things for the sake of reading them. Should I not have better things to do with my time!

Oh yes, the wonderful internet.

Yes such a creation. In fact, absolutely amazing! I wouldn't be without it now...

But 20 years ago, I sat comfortably with a book or a magazine. I actually went to the shops and to the Post Office and to the Bank. I had a dictionary to look up words I didn't understand! I watched the news or listened to the radio if I wanted an update on current affairs. I have about 200 CDs (I won't mention the vinyl) but they never get used now.

Oh and if the phone rang, I was full of excitement as to who it might be. That was if I was at home of course. If I was out, then I was enjoying my time out and about without distraction! A hand written letter landing on the door mat was just bliss!

Does anyone else miss those days?

Apologies to the younger audience on here, older people can be very annoying!! Although hats off to the older generation having to master this wonderful internet, that has certainly taken over our lives... in some cases, whether you wanted it to, or not...

Molly
A Moodscope member.

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

30 comments - Permalink


14

June

Deep Space and Calcutta. Wednesday June 14, 2017

[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2tiR2Rp]

"You'll be fine, Mummy," said my eldest. "You can do it. I believe in you."

"Take the "Kalms" and you'll float above it all," said my friend. (Kalms is a herbal remedy for stress and anxiety).

"You can stay behind if you want to," said my husband, in that voice which meant I would lose serious wife points if I chose that option.

And, "Mummy, why does Daddy want us all to go, anyway?" said my youngest. She has the anxiety thing too.

It was half term and we were all going to Madame Tussauds, in London. I was apprehensive; for although the depression is now managed very nicely by the pills, her nasty little sister Anxiety, is still very much around.

So, I did take the Kalms. I did practise mindfulness, I did do the tapping (EFT), and I did manage. I even enjoyed some of it. My youngest struggled, but the joy of seeing Zoella and Alfie on the iconic bed, quite made up for it.

It was a useful exercise however. For the first time, I could analyse just what sets off my anxiety in crowded spaces; that clammy handed, choked throat and panicked flutter in the heart; the feeling that one must get out, get away, find a quiet place in which to just - breathe.

The train is fine. Everyone is calmly sitting down. It gets bad if the train is overcrowded, of course, but I think everyone gets a bit claustrophobic when a perfect stranger is almost sitting on your lap, or checking your armpit for BO. The train station is fine; everyone is walking with a purpose. Queuing is fine; everyone is in an ordered line, moving towards a destination in an organised fashion. Where it all goes horribly wrong is where those crowds start to mill like a flock of woolly-minded sheep, especially in an enclosed space; especially with a plethora of sensations – lights, music, smells… Even though the ceiling is high and the crowds were not too bad for half term, it felt like the Black Hole of Calcutta. Without the Kalms, the mindfulness, the EFT – I think I would have taken a sharp right at Jonny Depp, walked straight past the Queen without even a curtsey, charged past all the men who were President, dodged the Incredible Hulk and got out – out into the relatively fresh air of central London; heart pounding and longing for a brown paper bag – into which I could either breathe or be sick!

People who do not have anxiety, cannot understand. They are quite happy to join the flock and baa contentedly (and that's not meant to be an insult – I envy them). They cannot understand the feeling of being sucked into a black hole of madness, where you feel as if you will implode.

But, anchoring with mindfulness, tapping on meridian points and yes, the Kalms; they all help. You too, can get through it. I believe in you!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

24 comments - Permalink


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