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Jane, Janus, January. Tuesday January 5, 2016

With all the 'jolly japes' of Christmas now o'er, the junction of one year with the next hoves into focus.

December has its Festival, be we Religious or Not. January portends only poorer weather; the prospect of a similar month of cold and damp (wet, if in Cumbria).

What to do?

My first 'chat' with a clinical psychiatrist, just before she prescribed 40-50 weeks of psychodynamic therapy, included her flagging up an unrequited affection I'd held in a girl throughout university and some years after. Jane.

Was this the seat of my depressions? It was hardly a unique experience, of hankering and yearning (but not crushing or defeating) though it was. I did spend unhealthy periods looking back, dwelling on past brushes with joy, through much of my twenties. Instead of reaching forward, to new, but frighteningly unknown, possibilities. Janus.

And so back here. January. Named after that eponymous two-faced god. We, too, are two-faced, if rather "lesser gods". We have our bright side and our dark side; our summer and our winter coats. Reversible coats (damn; the ideal pressie, if only I'd thought of them in time!)

But are we willing to share what the lining looks like when the weather changes - to MAKE the weather change - instead of always showing the same exterior to those around us, friend or stranger?

Maybe you carry a torch through the dark winter months, for your 'Jane'. Lay it down. If you can. You now have two hands free. Free to grasp new opportunities. Chances that you don't even have to manufacture. Just be free to notice opening up around you.

Look up. Look more than one way. Look backward, yes, occasionally, and with deepest affection. But mainly look forward. To a place unwritten.

Blank pages are scary to a writer. And yet the stuff of what they do. Of life, and not robotic repetition. Become an author. Write your own little story.

Jane is still a friend. Janus, I now see, offers a balanced view. January is a sturdy bridge, simply from the latest chapter to the next.

A Happy New Month to one and all!

A Moodscope member.

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

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Terence Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 5:35am

Thank you Tim, positive thoughts to light up a dark morning. Here's to looking up x

Lex Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 5:38am

Love this Tim. Motivating, Inspiring, Clear. Thank you!
"Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you..." L'xx

Sally Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:51am

Words from a pop song by...? Nice!

the room above the garage Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:45am

Crowded House :-)

patricia Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 6:28am

Thank you Tim, can see there's more than me up early this dark morning. I didn't want to get up so early but decided it was better than letting my mind go overtime!! I've recently been seeing a lovely lady, who didn't once go over old ground, which most do, I'd been through a long "downer" she asked me what I wanted, I didn't want any thing couldn't see any future, she said when you go shopping do you write a list, "yes" do you write down what you want "yes" well you must know what you do want, you don't write a list of what you don't want, well put like that "yes" so she started me thinking about what I want, and a book I'm reading again "Secret the Power" by Rhonda Bryne is putting good thoughts out there, planning what you want, imagine getting what you want, what it feels like etc. Well as my children would say some spooky things have happened, so I'm trying to be more positive, less negative, that makes a change, for me.
Bye for now,

danielle Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:04am

Hi Patricia this sounds similar to the law of attraction, which is a very powerful thing. I hope it continues to work for you xxx

the room above the garage Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:46am

Great Patricia...a tiny shift in thinking can make a world of difference.

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:33pm

Quite right, Patricia: move toward what you do want, and not just away from what you don't. Though it may take half a lifetime to tease out what that is.

Nikki Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:00am

Thank you Tim, I'm very guilty of looking back ..... Angrily sometimes too. After so much support yesterday from moodscopers I'm going to try and look forward today and see what happens.

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:36pm

Looking back in anger has never featured on my emotional radar. Anger has been absent generally. And that may be part of my problem, if we attach significance to how often mental health professionals may ask "Where does the anger go?" Inside, I suspect.

LillyPet Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:49am

Morning Tim,
Exploring the seat of our depressions being aware then being helped to realise that there is another way of thinking must be made a priority for me. Yes January is the ideal bridge to pastures new.
Writing your new story, or as patricia says the list of what you want rather than what you dont is exactly what I need to do when I'm thinking of the negatives in my life. I love the idea that by doing that I am changing how I wear that reversible coat ( what a great gift you have given to us! Thanks! :)) By doing that I will be MAKING the weather change.
I will be writing about what I DO want today and every time I feel that I'm looking back over the old negatives.
Thank you for an empowering and inspiring blog Tim! LP :)

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:38pm

I'm glad you like the reversible coat. Maybe I have given it as a useful gift after all!

LillyPet Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 11:15pm

For sure! :)

Sally Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:00am

Tim, I love the phrase " January is a sturdy bridge", it's very visual. I have always liked January as a month, because it offers a new start and fresh hope. I can cosy up indoors with my arts and crafts, and clear away the cobwebs of Christmas. I have more time to write and to contemplate and to plan nice things after the mad rush of December . Never mind if the weather is dull, wet, windy, nothing is pressing now I am lucky enough to be retired, and I don't even mind a wet walk! Time to catch up with everyone who was too busy with family during the Christmas period, and to write your suggested list too, Tim, thanks so much!

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:42pm

I'm glad you like the "sturdy bridge" image. Not a rope walk, or a cake-walk for that matter. But at least a boardwalk, over the mud and mire of the season, and over the top of some of February (statistically the most depressing month).

danielle Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:06am

Morning Tim, what a wonderful blog. Whilst everyone is down about the holidays being over, moaning about the weather, complaining that it is still 3 weeks til payday, I shall now be cheery and starting new beginnings across the sturdy bridge of January! Thank you for inspiring and motivating us xxx

Hopeful One Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:16am

Hi Tim- top drawer blog and so well put. Absolutely no point in looking back. The past has told one all it knows. Spending time there to me fits Einstein description of insanity."Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Its like driving while looking in the rear mirror. January ,I agree with you, is the 'sturdy bridge' which tells me to look through the windscreen.

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:44pm

Lots of driving imagery there ... You must have worked out how I spend my time!

the room above the garage Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:49am

Hello Tim, I just loved reading this. "Lay it down"...clicked something on in my head. Thank you, great blog!

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:45pm

I'm glad. The biggest joy in occasional writing here is having readers show you which simple phrases and images work most.

Alice Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 10:12am

Morning Tim, for me the key phrase was about laying down...your torch... freeing up both hands to grasp new opportunities. Loved it! Great advice. It's a big issue, hanging onto our past......why on earth do we do it? So silly!! But I want to say be careful not to move from looking backward to looking forward and missing what is happening NOW! This is where the opportunities are, anything else is just wishful thinking. Take a great walk across that bridge into January and to where you are now.

I used to love that feeling at the beginning of a new school year, that somehow the slate would be wiped clean, I would be transformed and the teachers would give me a new chance to be the pupil I wanted to be, but somehow always managed to c*** up! A new year is a bit like that, hence all those new year resolutions. We really do have to do something different and not just 'hope' or 'wish for it' if we want things to be different. Old Einstein knew a thing or two!

Happy new year everyone, from Alice xx

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:53pm

Evening, Alice. Yes, letting go to pick up something new, clearing clutter to see trees in the wood, breaking eggs to make omelettes. They're all variations on a theme. And a new year is a handy, communally recognised marker at which to commit to change, though by no means a critical one. If it's worth changing, change it now! And keep re-changing, until it stays changed. Wiping the slate is an important element, good to see being felt by adherents to some religious faiths.

susan Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 10:28am

So many rich thoughts to choose from your eloquent blog, Tim.
'Robotic repetition' is the one that really woke me up this morning. Between the looking back and the inability to look forward due to extreme uncertainty and worry at the moment, I have been stuck in a repetitive rut of mundane muddle. The realization triggered a few moments of 'blank pages' where the 'place unwritten' was positive and exciting. Relief! Thank you so much. Loved your blog. xx

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:59pm

Eloquent yourself! With all that alliteration afoot you can't be feeling too incapacitated at the mo. It's true that the Eternal Now is key, rather than wistfulness or regret, wishful thinking or hollow hope. The place unwritten is indeed exciting. We just have to keep the nib moving ...

Hitchhiker Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 1:19pm

Thanks Tim and all you wonderful Moodscope folks. I have been feasting on the kind words of wisdom in this and all the recent blogs (and comments!) that I missed the past few weeks. Single digit moodscope scores and lack of time and routine have kept me away. But I made it through the holiday wave, i've finally found my footing in the turbulent undertow. The water is cold, (it is January after all! ) but I am thankful to come up for air. Cold maybe, but safe and actually refreshed. I loved the emotional bank account idea and all the blogs around new years. Tim, your beautifully crafted ideas of looking - it made me feel like I was gazing on a sea of hope! And look, there is a bridge! I look forward to climbing up on it. And somehow, oddly enough, I feel today like I am looking into the eyes of fellow swimmers! To connect with others is often so hard when I am depressed and yet meeting the gaze of another and feeling safe and hopeful is the best medicine. I am thankful for this site where you all put your words, but somehow also manage to see and be seen. I add my Happy New Year wishes to all those above!

danielle Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 1:45pm

well done hitchhiker, keep going, we are all here for you xx

Hitchhiker Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 3:14pm

Thanks Danielle! Inspiration and motivation received, thanks!!! And to Anonymous below : i am a FB refuser as well! It is not the healthiest way to connect IMHO. Do whats best for you and happy new month! J is for joy, right??

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:03pm

Plenty of strong seasonal imagery to feast upon there. Let's all go dahn The Serpentine, eh? Keep breathing between those strokes.

Anonymous Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 2:06pm

One of the reasons I am not on FB is the time I would waste trying to find old friends and enemies etc.and the anguish I might experience if I find people, a very few and all work related from way back, who have hurt me in the past, seemingly living wonderful lives. So whereas I may think of these people from time to time, I haven't a clue as to what they are doing. (I know many of you love FB) So I tend not to look back with much fact based knowledge about what might be happening now to them, only memories which I can live with.I like the present and love to think what 2016 will bring. I like January and the letter J. xx

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:13pm

Aye, fb can be a false friend. But also quite rewarding, sharing trivia and not-so-trivial with individuals one has never met and is never likely to. It can emphasise our common humanity and highlight our mutual needs and self-helpfulness. And we all have "party faces" and "telephone voices". Facebook just makes it seem easier to pass off!

The Gardener Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 6:21pm

Please, what is psycho dynamic therapy? (I could google it, of course, but more interesting to write). I find, on my own, that I will 'work up' a grudge - having long conversations with myself about the pros and cons, what I would or would not have said. Also struggling, reasonably successfully, with guilt about my mother and my husband, I should, ought, to have treated my late Ma better, and be more patient with my husband. But people are at pains to emphasis that there is 'no pleasing the unpleasable'. Beating ones head against metre thick 12th century walls only gives you one big headache. I have just made a move upwards in this rather dreary January. Going to instal a chair lift! Just so that we can move into new house practically with Mr G. But, unlooked for benefits - all last year, in his weakened state, I lugged trays and other objects up long staircases. Now, just think of me. Heavy tray? Summon the butler - the device will have to have a name - all my GPS have had names. First, an Oxford type voice was Katie. Now, an America voice - called Lucy Belle (when I'm not swearing at her) 'turn around when possible'. 'At the rotary' a facer, am I a washing line? The French call them 'anneau' (ring) or 'rond-point' (roundabout). Now that is all serious deviation.

The Gardener Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 7:56pm

Just realised I get rather mad at night, and blether. Mr G asks me where we are sleeping. I explain for the nth time why we are living in relative squalor, discomfort and disorganisation instead of in our 2 metre square bed in a cream and gold room with 18th century wood pannelling. It does not go in. Then I have to explain why we are moving. You lot ought to charge (if you ever read this guff anyway) because writing answers (though this has nothing to do with today's subject) is therapy in itself. France Musique does mediaeval music on Tuesday nights - therapy for nothing. Another total deviation. Grand-son number one went to South Africa as a great treat for the cricket - and caught what seems the most exciting day in cricketing history. He'll tell that to HIS grand-children!

Frankie Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:19pm

Evening dear Gardener; I find it therapeutic too writing here - and yes, I always read your comments (though sometimes a day or two later). You write so well and have so many rich memories ... and your determination and stoicism are an example to us all. Frankie

Tim Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:32pm

What you write about is, in my experience, fairly common. Internal voices are par. Psychodynamic therapy is 1:1 time with a professional who coaxes you into saying and exploring whatever arises. Even if there are sessions when nothing does. What sense they get of you and your emotional, not rational, state, is what counts; not what you describe. It's mote how you describe ... and when, in what order, and what you perhaps omit. D'après le style dont vous écrivez, je recommande que vous y donniez un essai!

Welsh girl Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:18pm

For those of us who have birthdays in early January (mine is on the 3rd), it can be a particularly difficult time of year, as it can seem as if the rest of the year has nothing left to celebrate or look forward to. This year, however, with a "0" birthday, I have decided to spend the first week/ ten days of January, doing things I like and being kind to myself, with visits to the cinema, time spent with caring family members and friends and similar activities. My attitude is that a birthday should be celebrated, especially a "significant" one, regardless of when it happens to fall, and if the weather is poor, I will curl up on the settee with a good book. I am hoping that starting the year on a positive note will set the tone for the year, and help me through the inevitable troughs to come.

Frankie Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 8:22pm

I love the chance to make a fresh start in January; thank-you for this Tim. Oh, yes, the looking back and wishful thinking ... it can be hard to persevere in looking forward but I fully intend to! Frankie

Mary Tue, Jan 5th 2016 @ 10:43pm

Tim - I have late to this today (Today seized the bit between its teeth and bolted with me just trying to cling on somehow) but I would just like to say what fabulous writing! Respect, brother! Oh, we are a talented and creative lot here. And yes - that phrase "lay it down". Just so powerful. I experienced a "laying down" of a worry on Sunday. Oh, and the bliss and joy since has been such a gift.

Down the well Wed, Jan 6th 2016 @ 12:29am

Thank you Tim, a lovely, thought-provoking and uplifting blog.

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