Learning to duck…

One of my buddies in the post office was not at his best the other morning and as we chatted he made a belting comment. Being a man who deals with folk daily, and is also married, he caught my stunned facial expression and knew something had happened.

A look of fear flashed across his face.

His comment had hit a boulder size emotional trigger in me and several things were happening in a split second. You’ll all know that as we gather experience in life there are things we like to work on. My reaction when I have been triggered is one of mine. As a creative, my past responses have explosive, verbal and held the deadly accuracy of an Exocet missile.

In a split second, I clamped my lips shut and breathed through my nostrils. which may have flared and scared him further. Several moments passed and I put my hand over his, smiled and wished him a lovely day, then left.

As I walked home I realised that his comment had touched on past hurt and had no relevance to the here and now. I let it all flow out through my feet and down into the earth below.

It was a few days after that and I was on the front line with a soul who needs to fire arrows and ones which are intentionally tipped with poison. This time (knowing what was coming) I let them bounce off, so I wasn’t even triggered. I closed the conversation down each time and changed the subject.

I am learning how to duck.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way ~ Viktor E. Frankl

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I bobbed out yesterday to spend a bit of time at my soon to be new berth. Lynn’s lovely home is a treat to be in and as soon as I logged off from work I shot over there like a bullet out of a gun. As I rounded the corner there was a horse and pony grazing on the green opposite. It’s Easter holidays here and the children were watching in delight.

Lynn and I had a great time planning my move and where things will go next weekend. Her home is full of thoughtful touches and her care continued as she suggested a desk in the sitting room window. I can work, write and look outside at the green, the sky and life. That keeps work out of my bedroom and I think this will add to my inner peace.

I sailed out of there into Morrison’s to do some grocery shopping and when I came to pay I discovered that I had forgotten my purse. So I went back home, returned to Morrison’s, paid for my shopping and then walked back up the hill again. That’s when feelings started to rise up. As Sarah and I sat nattering and eating our dinner together last night I wept. I am upset about change again, angry at our landlord for not seeing the situation that he has created and I woke up this morning still thoroughly out of sorts. In this line of work you are front line and can’t hide. So I tried to ‘park’ how I felt and work anyway. This plan failed and my lovely colleagues stepped in and hands were held out with support.

I can handle the practicalities of the move, yet the emotions are a different thing and have got a wee bit tangled up. I am scared of hurt, of things going awry, of having to deal with goodness knows what, so I am not allowing myself to feel hopeful about this change.

As one colleague said this morning ‘Jane, lean on me, I am here, for goodness sake lean’. So I leant. Not my normal stance, but hey it’s time for change. Change happens all the time and if I can lean into this one and melt into each moment, then my attitude stays balanced. It is what it is and I am surrounded by loving support. Letting go of any expectations, including fear filled ones, is lovingly graceful. I also get to see Mum and Dad this weekend and to drive a hired van. Such fun. Ohh, and I have booked a manicure, after all self nurture needs to be practical too doesn’t it?

Spirit, character and the blessing of unconditional love….

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Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. No? Oh well nevermind then, life carries on regardless.

On Monday I walked down the long and winding driveway between showers to meet my Mum and Dad in the country lane, so I could show them the way to my new little home. It is such a treat for us all to be able to get together and spend time like this. There has been so many years where we have lived thousands of miles apart, reliant in the early days on telex machines with ticker tape to keep in touch, right through to now when mobiles and emails link us.

Lately we have the joy of face to face visits.

They love my new home and we had a special time together. Mum tucked all sorts into my cupboards and a lovingly homemade Shepherd’s Pie was popped into my oven for us all to have lunch.

There have been many times when plans went upside down and they have had to invent new dance steps to unexpected songs being played out in their lives. That spirit and character from each of them has forged a bond that positively hums with energy and has given them the wisdom of ‘knowing’ the unspoken. New dances have been invented with love, grace, dignity and sheer hard work.

‘It’s like a retreat here’ said Dad finally after lunch. ‘Yes, it is’ I replied ‘that is exactly what it is. I can make a new life here Dad.’ We all smiled at each other. Then we headed off to sample the delights of the little medieval town that I am blessed to live near.

Mum and Dad ‘get’ why having the barn so near to my home matters to me.

‘Our’ farmer is a gentle soul and I often watch him leading the cows around here. He silently walks a few paces before them and they all drop into single file and follow him wherever he leads. I like him. As a backdrop to this week there has been much activity in the barn and it culminated with the equipment that was used being transported away today. You could feel the peace re-settle again. There were strangers in the mix during the working days and one is particular could be heard above the other men. There was anger in his voice and I picked it up instantly, as did the herd. I could ‘feel’ and hear him being rough and sharp with the animals in the barn and all week there has been a spiralling circle of distressed noises, smells and fear emanating from the hubbub.

As the sun was setting tonight, I walked out for a breath of fresh air. Down at the far gate I took pictures of the sunset and stood listening, in the cold evening air, to the kestrels on the hillside and the crows calling back from the trees. I heard a hoof on wood and looked up to see the herd going past my ‘usual’ gate and one was waiting there for me. I walked across to stand before a lovely gentle, about two years old, heifer. We stood together under the trees in the evening gloom and nattered for a while. I was asking her what on earth had happened to them all this week and she was snorting her replies. Her companions gathered around her for a little while, adding their comments. As they all started to move away she gave my hand a ‘raspy’ kiss with her tongue and with a dip of her head she headed off. A young steer, just behind her, stepped forward to rest his head on my outstretched hand, then he too walked off with his buddies. They have all stuck together and whatever they faced this week, they have retained their love, grace and dignity.

I love you Mum and Dad. ❤

In a changing landscape you choose your perspective on the view….

My lovely friends have a special home and it has helped me immeasurably to be able to walk up their garden, open the gate and step out into the fields. As fast as the suggestion is made that their dogs may need to stretch their legs, I am already halfway out of the door, and this is the view that greets us when we open the gate.

One realisation I have absorbed in the past few days is the need to let go of any feelings of hurt, anger or shock at what has happened, and that way I have my inner peace, regardless of the view that is before me.

In one day the fields changed as rainy weather closed in and we were greeted with this view at evening time.

Madder than a box of snakes and the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi…

Right now I am madder than a box of snakes with a fire underneath them. A course of events was set in motion a few years ago and it started by someone telling a blatant lie. This snowballed, as these things do, and it increased in girth with poor decisions, lack of responsibility and inadequate care.

Unaware of what had gone on before I ended up with the snowball. This week I had a very tough call to make and the level of distress this caused meant my eyes were swollen shut from weeping. There is only one other time in my life that I have wept that hard.

The point of this post is not to set off a train of worry about me, as I am like the raindrop in the picture…I am whole.

My heart remains healthy as I choose not to let the anger lodge there and to leave my heart open to life. If our hearts become hardened, bitter, or worse still closed off, then life will present us with the events that confirm our view.

I have calmly explained the situation to those concerned and have left them to draw their own conclusions.

My lesson is to ask more questions in future and then take time to consider and ponder on all the information gathered. Any gaps will no doubt ring alarm bells as sometimes it’s the things that aren’t said that say the most!!

In the meantime…..

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits – Hannah More

By holding onto anger and resentment we get stuck and the past hurt gets lodged like a thorn in our heart. It festers, whether we chose to acknowledge it at the time or not, and holds us back.

If the same pattern, situation or behaviour keeps repeating in our lives then I think it is a safe bet that you can link it back to a past hurt or resentment.

Allow forgiveness in; forgive yourself first and foremost, acknowledge the pain, allow it to go, release the anger and hurt (which is only hurting you) and this in turn removes the thorn and lets fresh air in.