Tag Archives: good people

An Airbrush for Life….

If you could, would you?

“Of course,” some may reply.

Mmmmm, I’m not so sure.

I was applying my make-up this morning, seriously considering that if I have to use many more primers, plumpers or smoother-outers I’m going to have to start the night before, when the thought of a concealer for life came into my head, then, even better, an airbrush.

My mind quickly started rifling through my memories, selecting those for the eraser of all things bad, the sad stuff and the cock-ups.

But none of our actions happen in isolation. If, along with the bad stuff, some of the high points of your life went too, would you still go ahead?

I know I wouldn’t.

My tough times have taught me about personal strength, the power of forgiveness ( of myself and others), the kindness of strangers and that the love of family and friends is the most important thing in my life.

And as for my high points, I wouldn’t swap one of them for all the air-brushing in Hollywood!!

 

 

 

 

The Best Things In Life….

are free. I agree, but how about the best things in life to give?

Throughout my adult life I have gone from being quite flush with money to not having the proverbial pot to urinate in, and everything in between.

At one of my more financially lean times a very good friend had a big birthday. The potential of a grand gesture was fairly remote, so, I spent the one thing I could on her, time.

I spent time, freely and liberally, considering what her friendship means to me and put it down on paper. It allowed me to express feelings I could never do verbally because………well, I’m not sure of the because actually.

I would cry of course (bucket loads) and so would she,( more buckets), but most probably because, as I grew up, I learned to not say, “I love you. You mean the world to me.” The reasons for this are too many and too screwed up to think about, and they don’t matter now either.

The important thing is that, long after most gifts would have passed their sell-by dates, my friend still has these words, to read again when she needs to feel the message they hold. And she does.

I still love shopping for presents, searching for that something special, hoping to please someone special, but for a gift that keeps on giving, try some love, appreciation and understanding.

I Hate Grapes.

After months of putting-off, and one re-booking, I was really looking forward to my appointment with the kinesiologist (Alex) that came so highly recommended. As usual, I was going to be far too early so I stopped at a local convenience store to buy a magazine.

I didn’t have a fixed idea about what this lady was going to be able to do for me, except that I wanted to try something new, something that may help unlock certain problem areas in my life and allow me to move forward.

Well, move I did, but not forward.

I finished paying for my thick, glossy copy of Vogue and headed out of the shop…..and then it got me!  As I lay on the floor, reeling from both shock and pain, with kind people gathering round, offering many helping hands, a man stood up with something in his hand.

“There you are love. You slipped on this,” as he proffered the remains of a grape.

I hate grapes. I always have. Good for your health? I don’t bloody think so.

With voices asking for the manager to call an ambulance, I sat there wondering at the irony of it all. Here I am, attempting to shed feelings of angst, stress, fear and anger, to allow my life to progress in a positive direction and I wind up sprawled on a floor, my knee and hip throbbing, hoping I can manage to drive my car home. If there was a meter capable of measuring my stress level at that moment I think it would have exploded.

Could I possibly have sub-consciously tried to prevent myself getting to the appointment? Self-sabotage? Me?

I couldn’t accept that so, with the help of two very kind men, I hobbled out to my car and drove to see Alex.

It was everything I had hoped for. She was wonderful; kind and caring and I happily arranged for my next appointment.

But the thing is, I want this change, more than anything and not even a grape is going to stand in my way.

Giving It Up.

I have read so many self-help books, listened to so many experts and attended so many seminars, all aimed at helping us give up the struggle, the stress and the negative thoughts and behaviour that marks our lives.

And I get it! Honestly, I do. Let’s face it, the vast majority of it is plain, good old common sense.

But, what it is NOT, is easy; hence the enormous quantity and re-hashing of similar information.

But, no-body said it would, or should, be.

What it is, is worth it.

Each time I hand over a particular stressor to my life’s path, I gain a relief and sense of peace I would not swap for any amount of money or possession.

I am where I am supposed to be, for whatever reason, and I will find happiness here and now.

I have lived with more stuff, more money, more ego, more fear, more stress.

Giving up the fear of losing something you never “owned” in the first place is liberating, and underlines that well-known saying,

“Less is more.”

Everyday “Heroes”

I know, I’m thinking of David Bowie too.

But funnily enough this is not about him. It’s about the everyday people who made me start writing this blog in the first place and some who, in the last twenty-four hours, came back into my life and reminded me of the people that made me want to write..

I want to tell you about SBM. (She’ll know who she is)

I met her in hospital. My daughter was very sick and I was spending a lot of time just sitting at her bedside, feeling as much use as a chocolate teapot and thinking, ” Why my girl, why her”.

The nurse asked me to leave as visiting was long over. Reluctantly I stood up just as a voice called over, “Don’t worry about her. I’ll watch over her for you. She’ll be okay.”

I looked across to a bed and a woman who was far from well, very far.She had more tubes and monitors around her than you could shake a stick at. She could see the doubt in my face.

” I can call a nurse if she needs one, don’t worry, and I will watch her for you.”

I believed she would and I left with more comfort than I had dared hope for.

Over the following week I got to know SBM and some of her wonderful family; all very ordinary folk, but all coping with a high level of ongoing, grinding stress that left me breathless. And how they coped?

With laughter, generosity of spirit and an open, embracing love for others. This woman is no shrinking violet and has a sense of humour that could raise a laugh in an empty room. Many times I would have been begging her to stop, my sides aching and the tears running down my face, I was laughing so much.

The thing is, if you heard her story, if you understood her circumstances and the awful loss she has suffered and ill-health she endures, you could forgive her for wanting to lock herself away and wallow in self-pity. But not a bit of it!

She raises money for charities ( having her head shaved for one when sitting upright even hurt), comforts others in times of stress and for me, well, when I couldn’t be at my daughters bedside she was, and I knew it. I will never be able to repay that peace of mind.

And there are others like SBM out there, quietly giving out such positive energy to those around them and, in my eyes, earning the title of “Hero”.

And here she goes again, popping up in my “Inbox” last night, reminding me what life, love and happinesss should be about.

Thank you.

Heroes

The stories of heroism are starting to filter through now from the horror in Tunisia at the weekend and they are breathtaking and poignant. And so, so heartbreaking.

Their acts were spontaneous and selfless and none believed, when booking their holiday in the sun, the label “hero” would soon be attached to them.

Heroism takes many forms but this is the one I am sure no-one wishes to be tested on; the instant, life or death form, the one that over-rides your fear and your instinct for self-preservation.

For the survivors of this, and the countless other atrocities and disasters around the world, comes the next challenge; to survive being a survivor; a heroism in its own right.

I Love You Harriette Thompson !!

I love this woman, even though all my excuses for not getting off my backside were blown away as the news reports of her crossing the line on her latest marathon were flashed up on the TV screen.

Not only is she 91 ( or 92 depending on which report you listen to) but she has survived cancer and did not start running until she was 76 years old.

Technically, I could wait another 24 years before starting a whole other aspect of my life! Wow, what an amazing notion.

She is bright, generous and self-effacing; a true inspiration, but I suspect she might tell me not to wait until I am 76. I think she might tell me to do something, anything, now.

Whatever she might say, I love you Harriette.

Life’s Compensations

Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who waxed lyrical about “Youth being wasted on the young.” He sounds embittered whereas I feel sorry for young people; not just todays young’uns, but for the youth of every generation.

I know all stages of life have that double-edged sword aspect, but the angst and self-doubt of my teens, twenties and even thirties blinded me to the opportunities and energy that were within my grasp. Is that what nature does; she gives you the wisdom and self-awareness of middle age and saps your drive to maximise their benefits. We grow into ourselves just as our bodies start to creek and groan with the passing years.

Is it all just a see-saw of gains and losses?  Yes, on all levels.

New technology gives us speed and ease of access in communication and yet so many more of us report feeling isolated. Air travel is common place for most and yet the flight is usually a fraction of the time it takes to get to the airport, get through security, and cope with the delays etc. Our houses have every labour-saving device our grandmothers could have hoped for and every gadget to prepare a healthy and nutritious diet, but we have less time for friends and family and, for most of us, eat less home prepared food than ever before.

So, are we ever any further on than of predecessors? No.

Until time travel is invented future generations will go through the same growing pains me, my parents and their parents did. The scenery and specifics may morph but they will remain centered around those insecurities that haunted us all.

But what about the upside of youth; the energy, strength and enthusiasm. They don’t know the limits, so why are we imposing ours on them?

Would You Believe It?

The news is full of stories illustrating “mans inhumanity to man”, but rarely do we get to hear about those moments of inspiration that so perfectly show what the power of many can do.

Last week approximately one hundred passers-by rushed to the aid of a cyclist trapped under a double-decker bus in Walthamstow, London. Together, they lifted the bus enough to allow the injured man to be pulled clear. Their behaviour flies in the face of the theorists that say, when we become part of a crowd we are slow to react, electing to stand back and wait for “someone else” to take charge.

I doubt anyone there stopped to check out the person on either side of them, to assess whether they would ask them round to theirs for tea on Sunday; they just took a place beside them and, together, their joint strength and will moved, not mountains on this occasion, but a huge, heavy bus and for the benefit of one.

This happened three days ago and I have been wishing ever since we could work like this on a larger scale, politically and socially.

Well, to-day it is wonderful to find that we have.

The news of the breakthrough in the treatment of cancer is nothing short of spectacular. This result is not only the amazing work of the scientists involved, but of every charity collector in the street, every mini-marathon runner, every patient that has taken part in clinical trials and every man, woman and child that has donated time, money and energy to find and fund a cure.

Our own future health is a mixture of good diet, reasonable exercise, genetics and luck, but the vast majority of people I know have invested, in some shape or form, in this research, without waiting to see if they are going to benefit from it personally and without wishing to monitor those that may benefit from it.

We have the power to do wonderful things when we focus on the hope that unites us instead of the despair that divides.

Just Doing What Comes Naturally

How many times have you heard this? Does it usually spring up at the very moment someone is about to attempt to justify the unjustifiable?

Mmm, me too.

“It’s only natural,” is as bogus an excuse for bad behaviour as it is in the labelling of a lot of snacks and convenience foods. In a civilised society we are supposed to temper our “natural” inclinations, to take into account the feelings of others and the impact of our actions on our environment.

Pity then our children trying to make sense of a world where the media makes much of those that shout loudest, stomp on the weak and celebrate/revere the rude, crude and thoroughly undignified.

I feel bombarded by media showing the monetary success this kind of celebrity can bring and, even at my age, have problems processing the quantity and quality of the information, so how on earth can we expect young people to make sense of it, or to be able to filter the myth from the reality.

Unfortunately, and very sadly for all of us, when they try to emulate their modern-day role-models aren’t they then,

“Just doing what comes naturally?”