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You don't have to be a streaker, a flasher will do. Saturday April 30, 2016

Did you remember to have a head holiday?
I didn't.
I haven't.
And I am paying the price.

I've been trundling along with weighty thoughts holding my body down. I have actually wished to become (more) ill for that would bring me Rock Bottom and from there, there is but one path. But the path I am on is neither one thing nor another. I am too busy to be achieving things that matter to me, which would bring me up a little. And I am too low to see the wood for the trees. So I must be kind to myself and make little shifts to coax my head somewhere else, thus giving it a head holiday.

It's a phrase I struggle with "be kind to yourself". How? How can we be kind to ourselves? I'll show you mine (woohoo!) and perhaps you will show me yours (chortle!):

I can have that bath.
I can stop putting the TV on late at night and falling asleep upright.
I can get a sheet of paper and I can write out everything that is bothering me, in scribbles or a list, it matters not as nobody will see it.
I can look at the words and phrases and imagine my child had written it. And I can decide upon my reply and remember that I should receive that response.
I can stop playing music at every opportunity and allow my head some space to vomit out its thoughts.
I can start meditating again. It worked for me and I should not have stopped.
I can wear clothes that make me feel loved and held on to.
I can remember that engaging with my Moodscope friends allows me to rise up.

Being kind to ourselves comes in all manner of ways. My most favourite is sneaking to the cinema for a morning showing. There is just enough naughtiness in there to spur me on the day before and after. I haven't done that for over a year. It's time for a head holiday.

OK, I'm practically naked (brrr), now show me yours, embrace your inner flasher!

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

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

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Andra Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 7:07am

Dear ratg,
Thank you for your naked blog. You do just show it all and I'm inspired by you to write. I've always had a picture of you in a little studio above a detached garage with a small window you can peer out of if you choose but mostly sitting at your writing table, hiding out physically while pouring out the words that have touched so many. How close am I?

I never take head holidays. I'm very attached to my head. I've wished I could keep up a meditation practice but sitting isn't my strong suit. However, every once in a while I walk and talk to God. Yell and wail really. I only do these kinds of walks and talks to God when I'm feeling totally lost. It helps me to accuse God of leaving me to fend for myself in this mess of emotion and pleading for help. I'm lucky to live in a small town where there's lots of open space and farm land to trek where I can be basically alone. Sometimes I end my walk with a full throated song.

Being across the pond I'm usually the last to comment on the blog so I don't get the interaction I long for. I was inspired to write first by that exchange of fondness in Julia's blog yesterday and all those sweet comments elicited by her blog. So glad tonight I've stayed up so late that I get to make the first comment. Now I go to sleep and soon you all will be awake and doing your moodscope practice. I look forward to waking up to your comments.

Goodnight, good morning.

LillyPet Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:30am

Hi Andrea, I found old style meditation ( trying to clear my thoughts and gently letting any that come drift by) very difficult too. I find mindfulness much more managable (looking and listening whats around me, it's often far more beautiful and calming than thinking!). LP xx

LillyPet Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:33am

Whoops! Sorry, Andra! Xx

Anonymous Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 9:54am

I wonder what you call old style meditation and mindfullness meditation. Because what you describe as old style seems also mindfulness mediattion. I have found a life saver - ther meditation courses and dharma talks. I couldn;t cope with mindfullness in CBT context found it made things worse.

Anonymous Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 9:57am

I had a dreadful talk with god last week where I got in the way. But I think it might be helpful in that I need to look at myself!

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:02pm

Hello Andra, your description is very similar to the place I started in some years ago. Attached to my house, it was a little room above a garage and I did watch the world from up there, hiding. Sometimes juggling babies who were not sleeping! I see how the time difference stands in your way of a moving conversation...sometimes conversations continue on old threads even though the new day post is active. We will get used to your posts coming in at 'your' time...its funny how that grows. HO often posts in the morning, The Gardener towards the end of her day. I ditto the comment from Zareen about Headspace. Developing meditation is exactly that...a is something you need to train into. Headspace (Take Ten) makes that extremely easy. I found it a bit like having someone stir through my head or training a puppy. Don't write it off...if you can hold conversations in your head with God, you are capable. Pleased to see you here, love ratg x.

Hopeful One Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 7:13am

Hi RATG- welcome back, you seem to be on track! I too have struggled with that phrase "be kind to yourself". I have come to think of it as ' don't do unto you what you would not do unto others" . But sometimes that Inner Critic will not listen then I try "forgive or forget - choose one or preferably both" . Between those two I somehow manage to restore peace in that federation of states we call our mind . A sense of humour often jollies things along.

Here is our dose today with apologies to all blonde Moodscopers .

A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and stops to entertain at a bar in a small town. He's going through his usual run of stupid blonde jokes, when a blonde woman in the fourth row stands on her chair and says, "I've heard just about enough of your blonde jokes.What makes you think you can stereotype women that way? What does a person's physical attributes have to do with their worth as a human being? It's guys like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in my community, of reaching my full potential as a person because you and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against not only blondes but women at large all in the name of humor." Flustered, the ventriloquist begins to apologize, when the blond says, "You stay out of this! I'm talking to that little guy on your knee!"

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:07pm

HO, hello lovely boy. I've missed you...been reading the blogs daily but haven't had any heart to enter the blogspot. But that is done! I read your comment about lying in your loved ones arms on some Greek island. Away with you! If you are going to roll out that kind of blissful chat you can close the door on the way out!!!!!!! I am kidding...nothing makes me smile wider than the thought of someone eventually reaching a place of pure contentment. I wish you a wonderful time and I wish you would blog have so much to offer us. Love to you, ratg x.

Mary Sun, May 1st 2016 @ 2:19pm

I am a blonde. I figure that only blondes (and blonds) have the right to tell blond(e) jokes... And - I do know some corkers, I have to say (was it you who orginially told us the one about the blind man who goes into the bar and tells a blond joke?). That one above will be added to the collection; so - thanks!

jen Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 7:13am

Morning RATG,

I hope that you found writing your fabulous blog was the prompt you needed to get you off on your own emotionally healing head holiday.

I am going to be spurred on by your blog to break away from my endless lists of 'must do's'. My head holiday activities include:
- listening to the birds when walking my dogs
- giggling along with my 9 month old grandson who is one of the few people who always finds me fun, and funny.
- I too love a long bath, with lots of bubbles
- remaining in bed for an extra half hour with a cup of tea and a good book
- meeting up with happy, fun to be with friends, not the other kind!
Wishing a Happy Head Holiday to all fellow moodscapers.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:12pm

jen, what a great picture I have of you with your grandson...children are the teachers I find! I hope I have grandchildren. Thank you for your list, I hope you manage a few of these today and I am going to HAVE A BATH TODAY. There. Said it. Now it will be true. Love ratg x.

Jenny Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 7:35am

So very true RATG, wise words, and I hope that you are giving yourself that head holiday. That is the thing with me, giving to myself, treating myself, being kind to myself. My default is to give in a negative way, too much food, too much wine, too much reading, too much computer late at night and what should be a head holiday treat becomes a negative.(oops,,spot that should!)

Quick flash: finding and gazing at a view, looking for new growth in my garden, listening to the birds, looking at the sea, knitting a new pattern, chatting with an old and dearest friend, a really good coffee made by someone else for me, using lotions and potions that were being kept for 'best' because they were expensive gifts, when the best time is now.... Getting chilly, I will put my cloak of invisibility back on!

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:15pm

Jenny, I think that you have hit upon a very important thing...choosing something that we think is a break but is in fact a temptation into another stressor. And it is breaking precisely that, where recovery lies. Well found. Love your list, love ratg x.

Eva Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:14am

Ummm, I seem unable to notice the signals telling me that enough is enough. I work on having a routine to bring balance, which I think is good in general. However when the balance is upset by too many external influences I tend to soldier on along the path and fail to see that more is required in terms of rest or being kind to me. I feel I already am so what more can I do? Currently I'm having to take a time out due to exhaustion... It's a strange place to be, I am doing my best to not do too much. I am looking forward to getting back to my life, but for now, longer sleeps and naps, swimming, meditation, walks, reading, cinema, meeting friends, counselling and acupuncture are it. A novel detour for now, I hope it won't be a long one.

Hope you get back on track ratg and feel comfort soon.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:18pm

Eva, you sound like me. I need to learn that the flame burns by putting my hand into the flame. Reading about it or being told about it isn't enough. Your time out is teaching you something...keep with it. Love ratg x.

LillyPet Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:20am

Hey ratg :)
I take head mini breaks whenever I catch myself having drifted into old repeated negative thought patterns.I nip it there and then and focus on what's around me there and then. Nature normally has alot to offer.
Kind to myself means giving myself a break from guilt, mistakes, or worrying about being judged. It's recognising the monkey chatter or harsh thinking and flipping it like a coin to the positive side.
Thank you for the heads up! I remember your description of being mindful in the shower and what a lovely place to start that is. It's those longer sustained head holidays I want to treat myself to more.
Hugs to all. Hi to Penny and Anonymous, love, LP xx

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:20pm

Hello! I keep seeing your lovely hellos to me and then becoming caught up and not replying, its good to see you. I still only ever see you with your original name :-) which I adore but I know you changed to be private. LP suits my love of vinyl. Love ratg x.

LillyPet Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 5:08pm

I'm glad to hear that ratg! Xx

Zareen Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:28am

Hi thanks for your blog. I reckon that a lot of us struggle with the idea of being kind & gentle with ourselves. Self-care is essential otherwise I can crack up & become totally ineffective which is what I learnt in the first three months of this year. I have registered on Headspace which is a mindfulness package. which gives you a guided mindfulness training in bite-size pieces. Recently I reset it & was taken to Foundation level which, with hindsight, is exactly what I needed as I had stopped doing it. The first ten days are free.

LillyPet Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:32am

Thanks Zareen! LPxx

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:21pm

Thank you Zareen, I too use Headspace and I think its great. I don't feel alone. Wonderful stuff. Love ratg x.

Still picking figs Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 9:49am

Dear Room Above the Garage

What a fitting term 'head-holiday'; I shall adopt that, thank you. I love your openess and honesty; you look good naked too.

I often rely on quick-fixes to get me through stressful situations: a strong coffee, chocolate, gluing myself to a screen of any kind to avoid what needs doing.

The best remedy is to remind myself that I can step aside and strip away all that troubles me, if only for a short instance. I choose to stand in the shower for an extra five minutes and let the water pummel my shoulders, use my aromatherapy oils: rose, bergamot, clary sage, lavender, and geranium. Make homemade granola, light a candle, change into pj's the moment I get home, say 'no' to something I really don't wish to do, or say 'yes' to the thing that I feel too tired for, but know is good for me. Last week, I finished a thin novel that took me weeks to read - but my head was grateful for it. I am now reading the play of a another book because it is easier to digest, and it means I stand a chance of getting to my book group. How I like to be tights to be hitched up in public or catching a glimpse of myself in a shop window and wondering who she is.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:24pm

Great name! Figs, gently baked with honey...yum. I'm laughing at hitching tights up in public!! I am exactly the same with books, I adore reading but find my concentration so poor. Its a work in proress. Thank you, love ratg x

Anonymous Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 9:55am

Andra - thank you - I recognise that list!

Anonymous Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 9:57am

I mean The room above the garage. wanted to reply to Andra about talks with god bit - I had a dreadful talk with god last week where I got in the way

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:26pm

Pleasure, I answer to almost anything :-) I'm sure Andra will reply when her nighttime is over...I suppose 5-8 hours behind us depending on which part of the pond she is at.

Holly Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:15am

Thank you for this post. I'm really struggling with being nice to myself at the moment. Hoping to talk to my counsellor about this though.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:28pm

Hello Holly, I'm glad you have something to discuss at your next session. When is it? If you are struggling to be nice to yourself...can you tell us the opposite? What are you doing that is unkind to yourself? My list of that could be long...but its important to look at it because that is the only way to start a change. Love ratg x.

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 12:56pm

Thanks RATG and everyone else for ideas. I also struggle with being kind to myself. I'm going to try your idea of imagining how I would reply to my daughter if they were her worries. Hopefully it will be easier than trying to work out what a compassionate friend would say to me - which I got out of a book. As for what I do to be kind to myself (destructive chocolate habit aside) I am actually a bit anxious at the moment and the things I have chosen to do are play the piano, go and see my daughter's gerbils and come onto moodscope which have all helped.
Hugs all round.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:15pm

Hello TF, is it widespread anxiety or one particular thing? I find physical stuff really helpful with anxiety...burning it off. I'm also a bit of a fan of kids books on the subject. I find them much more useful than the 'you're a grown-up now' versions. Love ratg xx.

Anonymous Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 3:00pm

Hi ratg. I absolutely love going to the cinema in the morning on my own. We have a new cinema where we live which has armchairs. A few times, I have been the only one in the cinema. Can you imagine. But once the film starts I am so involved with it that I forget I'm sitting there completely alone. I get a wonderful feeling when the first scene starts to unfold and I get a sense that it's going to be a great film. My head needs a holiday too. I know what you mean about sort of wishing you would get really down and ill because then I guess the only way is up. I have never been able to rely or wanted to, on anyone else to do the picking up and have always done this myself. Apart from "friends' like you and others on Moodscope who have helped me more than I can say. I hope you emerge soon rtag. Perhaps we will rise in unison from the ashes like Phoenix. Julxx

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:18pm

Cinema all for, bliss!!! Glad someone else knows the joy of being somewhere you feel you shouldn't but you will! I need to go soon! Love ratg xx.

The Gardener Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:12pm

Totally in doldrums - head rest? What from - ideas come to full stop. I don'g think I've every felt so 'flat' usual fault, over-condifence. Moment of 'glory' today, though. doing 'exotic' shop window, remembered balinese umbrellas in inaccessible loft of shed. Coming up to 81 thought I ought I ought to have a witness if I fell out of roof. Had to scramble up ladder, wriggle through rafters, crawl across temporary floor, get umbrellas and do the lot in reverse.

Leah Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:35pm

Gardener, Had to smile and admire you as you scramble up a ladder And wiggle through a loft at nearly 81. You go girl! You are my hero. You inspire me. I sjould get advice from you on exotic shop windows and displays. Hugs.

The Gardener Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 8:16pm

Will have 'head rest' literally and metoraphically. State of Mr G health we have single beds, his medicalised. I have a lovely one, all to myself - he thinks end of world has come. Will put warm pad under my disgustingly arthritic shoulder (how dare it) and read a P D James - equivalent of RATG morning cinema - reading - and non-improving reading - wicked. If I want to really sin, then it's Giles, andy Cap and the Gambols. Oh, and the Hayseeds, but I've only got one.

the room above the garage Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:21pm

TG...'coming up to 81'...are you referring to age? Really?!! I laughed hard when I read your reading matter, The Gambols! Haven't seen them in years but I loved them!!!

Leah Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:40pm

Great blog. Will reread it later and sll the comments as i find
That gives me time to ponder.
Iam often told i think too much then i think about thst as well!
Take care. Never thought i woul hear about nudity on moodscope!

Leah Sat, Apr 30th 2016 @ 10:43pm

Excuse typos written on new phone with my chubby fingers and my brain goes
Faster than my fingers!!

Anonymous Sun, May 1st 2016 @ 11:40am

Thank you for this Room above the garage. My 'being kind to myself' involved taking myself off to sit in the bluebell woods yesterday morning (the day you posted your blog). A truly beautiful and healing experience. The bluebells don't last long, and I wasn't prepared to miss out on the joy because the friends I ask to share in the experience are too busy in their own lives. I just relaxed, drove myself there alone and took on the pure joy of the moments alone. I do that a lot, but sometimes it's nice to share ones life experiences, but again today I accepted that it's ok to 'enjoy it all' alone, if that's how it is.... Happy, i returned home and continued my day... And it turned out that I then took my daughter back in the afternoon, for her moments with the bluebells ... And all was at peace and well for a while. :-)

Mary Sun, May 1st 2016 @ 2:25pm

Just proves there are different strokes for different folks. What is all this about baths? I have tried (many times) all this bath malarky - deep warm water, bubbles, a good book, candles, glass of wine..... and - nah! Gimme a quick shower and then I'll take the warmth, candles and book into bed where I can be comfortable. You can keep your baths, I'll take a comfy pillow and a good book.

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