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Words, Will and Ways. Monday November 2, 2015

[To hear an audio version of this blog follow this link:]

Professor Sue Black, the forensic anthropologist, was the guest on "The Life Scientific" (Radio 4) this week. Aside from her excellent taste in music, what she shared was fascinating. She had grown up in a remote Scottish village where her Grandmother had sown seeds of possibility deep in her psyche. Granny had consistently called Sue her, "Varsity Girl" - instilling the idea of going to University.

At school, she'd spent some time gaining experience as a laboratory assistant and had enthusiastically declared to her biology teacher that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Her teacher was a refined man and so shocked her into a change of vision by uncharacteristically swearing at her - saying that she shouldn't be so (expletive) stupid - she was going to go to University! He recognised her talent, and shoved her firmly in the right direction!

Two influential members of the cast of Sue's life drama had said the right 'magic' words at the right time, nudging the course of her development in the right direction for her. Positive words have power.

Of course, in her heart, Sue agreed with this direction. In fact, she had a very unhappy time at one school and used her will-power to knuckle down to study so that she could qualify for a more appropriate academy. Later, she withheld some of the truth about her University funding so that her parents wouldn't bear the financial burden of seeing her through college. She worked her way through herself. Clearly, Sue is a 'driven' personality.

But what touched me most was how she dealt with grief. Her Grandmother smoked over 40 per day and eventually paid the price. As she was dying, she told Sue not to worry because she wasn't "going away". She said that any time Sue needed her, she'd be at her shoulder to watch over her and guide her. Sue shared on the programme that she was not religious but that this thought had comforted her throughout life and had influenced her behaviours.

Grief is a difficult subject, but one that should not be avoided. I finished listening to the programme wondering how I might be the messenger of good words into the lives of others - sowing the seeds of possibility. How might I nudge them forward towards bolder choices in life when I could see potential that they hadn't fully recognised? And I considered how I might be a comfort to my loved ones as Grandmother's wisdom had sustained Sue years after her passing. It was a moving experience that has empowered resolve in my life to be a more positive influence.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Paul Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 6:56am

A very inspiring and thought provoking blog there lex
Listening to it on audio is very good. As a grandparent it is very meaningful. Your voice and tone is exceptionally good. Keep them coming.

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:07am

Thanks, Paul. I always appreciate such encouragement. Have a great day. L'x

The Gardener Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:46am

My grandmother is not sitting on my shoulder - but she could have been the greatest influence in my life - feisty, had a terrible life, yet she taught me to knit - now I do designer knitwear - gave me a love of horse racing, a zest for life, and I'm sure her antics in Brixton market were a strong influence on some of my novel characters. And I think she agreed that my mother, her daughter, was the wettest of wet blankets. If I never did another thing in my life. all around me and in photos bears witness to what I have done. I heard that programme, Lex, most inspiring. In total limbo at the moment until I know whether my husband will ever be fit to live at home again, even with all the help available - so plans, inevitably, have to bubble away in he brain - I hope more controlled than Debs whose thoughts, according to her recent blog, resemble runaway horses. Half an hour to decision time - and I'm not a good waiter. Can't tear round the house tidying up as a very damaged foot makes me use stairs sparingly. Enjoy the day, going to be a particularly fine one, according to the pundits.

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:54am

Hello Dear Gardener, our thoughts are with you today... and we're all holding out for an update... Sounds like your Grandmother is my kinda girl! We like feisty people - they add so much spice to life. Sending love from dangerously foggy Dorset. L'x

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:50pm

Hi TG...hope you get to hear about Mr TG soon x x x

LillyPet Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:55am

You already are such a positive influence Lex! I like how your previous blog was on sowing positive seeds in one's own mind before sleep and this in the minds of others to inspire and support. I will reflect on how powerful small but effective our influence can be.
Thanks Lex. LP

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 8:27am

Thanks, Lillypet. I think 'intent' is a great place to start. When we have positive intent - as I know you do (it radiates from your posts) - that positive intent will always find a way to naturally express itself. You have a positive influence on me, so I can guarantee that you are influencing all those you come into contact with... even without you knowing. L'x

Debs Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 8:00am

Fabulous blog Lex! Am turning into your biggest fan ;-) Ten Yeats after he died my grandfather is my greatest guide, I talk to him often and tap into his magic words. The people who inspire us in life are true gifts (and I include you in that). Xx

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 8:29am

Thank you so much, Debs. Your words make me want to be a better man! (If you don't mind me quoting a line from "As Good As It Gets.") I think it's wonderful that inspiration is enduring... and I like the Yeats reference! I will find meaning in it! L'x

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:49pm

Just Lurve that film, Lex!

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 3:06pm

It's a lovely film, isn't it? So many stand out moments... Now, if only I can be a better man! L'x

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:04pm

Ah know you are a good 'un...a keeper!

Debs Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 8:01am

That's years not Yeats by the way - pesky poets creeping in ;-)

susan Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 10:25am

I echo LillyPet's comment, Lex -- you already are a very positive influence, certainly in the lives of Moodscopers and on your radio show...and i cannot imagine that it stops there. As you say above, intent is the place to start. It is a powerful force. As for grief, well, that's a huge topic. It is awful to have to learn to live without a loved one's physical presence, but i believe they never leave us, ever. Their love is in our heart, their spirit in our mind and they are forever a part of us in a very active and up-to-date sense. But you'd think that after zillions of years on the planet, human beings would have this one sorted better than we do:-) Thanks again. xx

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:54pm

Hi Susan, I was actually nervous about bringing up the subject of grief and yet there seems to be a lot of us who have an ongoing sense of support from those we've lost. It's rather comforting. Thanks for being encouraging! L'x

tracey Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 11:15am

i always find these posts inspiring, x

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:54pm

Thanks Tracey... Mission accomplished! L'x

the room above the garage Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 11:41am

Hello Lex, not only do I love the message in your blog but it's given me yet another reason to think of my granny! I quote mine daily and often have a word with her picture on my fridge door... 'stepped into the next room' is how I like to think of those who can no longer use their bodies. Thank you my friend for bringing me connection and pleasure X.

susan Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:13pm

...those who can 'no longer use their bodies'. Perfect, ratg. Thank you. xx

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:55pm

You've warmed my heart (yet again), dear ratg. L'x

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:48pm

'You'll be alright.' Not a long sentence, but one that has stuck with me for twenty three and a half years...(never forget the half!) . The words my lovely father said to me as he and my mum were leaving after staying with us for a week after our daughter was born. They lived so far away and I think I probably looked so worried as they were leaving, that my father knew I needed the reassurance from him. And yes, we've been alright. None of us gets a 'how to' manual delivered with a baby!
The same goes for grief: none of us can know what the feelings will be like when someone we love has died, until it the inevitable happens. There are many bits of wisdom quoted at new parents ad nauseum...the same goes for bereavement. We have to learn to use the knowledge we are given as and when we need It....not try to do it all and be all things to everyone!
Thanks Lex, like RATG, (after dusting and polishing and saying hi to photos of family no longer with me,) you have just given me another excuse to think of them. Have a goodly day dear boy, a goodly day!
Bear x

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 12:57pm

Aye Aye, Bear! A goodly day is being had and is wished to you too! L'x

Anonymous Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 1:58pm

I echo the others here Lex, who have said you are already a positive influence and the messenger of good words into our lives.
As for grandparents, I didn't know mine well so I guess my parents had to do all the parenting (unlike many grandparents these days who help out their children with child care).
Both my parents are no longer alive but I do remember many of the things they said to help me deal with life, right up until their deaths a few years ago now. I remember the comforting, positive things they said about me and even now, in situations, I still say to myself , now what would my mother have said. Neither one inspired me to achieve great things career wise, but always had the words ready to help me emotionally if ever I needed them. (Jul)

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 3:11pm

Hi Jul, I think the career stuff is over-rated, but emotional health is vital. My Nan went blind fairly early on in adult life. Whilst I wouldn't wish this on anyone, she developed amazing ways of communicating that went beyond vision and were deeply emotional. Even now, I catch myself doing little gestures that come from Nan - which I find deeply comforting. I'm sorry that you didn't know yours well - I only really got to know my father's mum - and yet I know significant people come from all sorts of relationships. Two teachers worked their magic words up on me and I am certain that you work magic words upon those around you. Great to hear from you. L'x

Lou Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 2:50pm

"I finished listening to the programme wondering how I might be the messenger of good words into the lives of others"

Mission accomplished! I thought this a thoughtful and thought provoking blog.

Btw I still say 'good morning' to my Grandad every time I drive past his flat and he passed away eight years ago.

I try to take the view that we must enjoy the time we have with folks (and furry companions too) not be sad that it is gone. Easier said than done, mind...

Have a good day all,


Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 3:12pm

Thanks Lou... and I whole-heartedly agree. I talk to trees and cows too, but don't tell anyone, OK? Seriously, you've reminded me that I haven't chatted to Nan for a while - and I appreciate that. L'x

The Gardener Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 3:42pm

How can anything be so cruel - the state of my husband - has to be restrained in his chair - nearly strangling himself trying to get out - risks tipping it over and having a major accident - won't take medication, all the nurses are 'winding him up' I could not comfort him and have come home in despair. Unless there is a miracle he will never live with me again. And there are about a hundred in like state in just that hospital, all those people, like me, trying to find a crumb of comfort, a ray of light. I can't go and gaze at the candles in church, even light one, because I can't walk (and it's church which did for my foot anyway). I am going to resolutely settle down to research again, all got stopped about 2 years ago - it looks like I am going to be living alone with visits to hospital. At least I can concentrate on things again - but it's small comfort. For the first time today, I've lost hope. Great need to metaphorically hold hands and group hug.

Lex Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 4:10pm

Oh Gardener, HUGE hug. I'm feeling so sad with you. I know what it is to lose hope - and, whilst it may be no comfort now, hope found me again, even when I'd stopped looking. Your research will be a good purpose. Much love. L'x

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:09pm

Oh TG, am so sorry you've had such a blow at the hospital and poor Mr's a terrible state he is getting himself into daily. I think you know that we are ask thinking of you and sending the biggest hugs...and picturing wrapping you in my arms. As Lex says, doing some of your research will give you purpose this evening and take your mind off things - even if it's for just a liddle while. Bear hugs, dear lady...x

Dave Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 4:05pm

Gardener both you and your husband in thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time

The Gardener Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 7:21pm

Thank you all so much - I had cracked the French medical system up so much and it has failed me utterly - we've had the all Saints holiday - and it's like after Christmas in the UK, nothing works at all. Sent desperate e-mails for help from social workers - got files full of what we are entitled to - but comes a holiday or week-end and there's nothing. If nothing happens tomorrow morning I shall drive up to the door of the geriartic unit, with my sticks, and kidnap my husband together with wheel-chair. As in our current physical state we will probably both fall over and embarrass the hospital tant pis - what have I got to lose? I shall tell our doctor, usually a most kindly man, what I intend - as it would be thoroughly illegal and shake their burocracy to the foundations tant pis as well (rather rude for non French-speakers).

the room above the garage Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 @ 9:46pm

Hello TG, I'm sorry life is so horribly tumultuous right now. Your emotions will be wrung out in so many ways. Please keep you at the top of your list. Healing the foot, number one. Rest and sleep darling. 'tomorrow is tomorrow, today is almost done, stop inside this little abyss, no more tonight can be done'. I wish for a peaceful sleep for you and Mr TG. Xxx

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