Afternoon dancing in the park………

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Every day I work looking at the old grounds where the New Brighton Tower & Ballroom once stood. The tower was demolished in 1919 and a fire gutted the ballroom in 1969, which was then removed. Today it has a playground on the top for the little ones and rolling lawns and trees. It is a view I love.

I spotted a poster recently saying there was afternoon dancing in the park on Wednesday and I split my shift today so I could go along and join in. It will come as no surprise to you all that I had fun. The kind couple who run it set their sound equipment up on the bandstand and use the speakers that the bands use at weekends. There we all were making introductions in the sunshine and then teaching each other on the grass, dancing among the daisies. There was a wonderful couple over from Queensland, Australia, here visiting family, and as we danced and chatted they shared that they had met in 1963 in the New Brighton Ballroom. At one point there was a waltz this afternoon and the couples took to the grass to do their thing. I will never forget how they looked at each other, this couple who are still dancing together after all these years, as he held his hand out to her and said ‘Do you fancy a waltz?’

We all danced and tried different steps out, while people drifted in and sat down, with some coming to join us. We had very young toddlers dancing with us, right up to a lady celebrating her 96th birthday today, sitting in her wheelchair in the sunshine, with a sparkly Birthday banner tied to her sun hat. Everyone smiling. I was blessed to be shown what to do by a ‘Tiller Girl’ from back in the sixties. My confidence is not great and even when the lovely Australian lady lent me her husband, I felt like a lumbering tree trunk with two left feet. Although, our laughter floated far and wide as we spun down the bank doing a funky rock and roll number….. Anyway, back to the very kind lady who still does charity events with the Tiller Girls. She has a kindness and a gentle way about her and as she held my hands and explained what she was doing, I found myself relaxing and remembering what to do with my feet. So much so that I was able to lift my head up and trust. She caught that moment and said ‘There you go’ and smiled at me.

After a few hours we all parted and set off for home, with promises to do it again. I walked back along the promenade and there were two of the ‘Mums’ from the park with their little ones. Henry and I had a wonderful chat about his toy elephant and his Mum and I held his hands and played ‘One, two, three, wheeeeee’, as he sailed between us in his favourite hat. It’s multi coloured and woolly with a furry bobble and he will not take it off. He is two and bless his free spirit and his Mum for letting him be. Jamie Lee is also two and watched and waited her turn patiently. She wanted to walk and took my hand, as she just kept looking up at me and smiling. The broadest smile. I chatted to her about the boats and her sparkly little shoes. Her Mum commented that she’s not usually quiet. I had a feeling she was building up to something special and sure enough it came. ‘Ohhhh’ she said ‘Ice cream….’ as she spotted the van and we all burst out laughing. Parting company at the pirate ship, I just know they will have a wonderful time, as have I. ❤

Life’s twinkly, sparkly gifts….

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As I sit working on the support service this morning it is a mild Autumnal day in North Wales. My front door is wide open, and although the breeze is quite strong, it is lovely to just peacefully sit and reply to the messages asking for help coming in over the ether.

The front of my little place is all glass and right now I have a reflection in it from the kitchen window behind me. My kitchen window looks out onto the courtyard and trees and the image sparkling on my front glass is the sunlight coming through the leaves and twinkling right in front of me. In the afternoons these twinkles play out across my kitchen slate floor and it’s magic to watch.

Me being me, I see this beautiful display of nature as an analogy for life.

Time and time again on the service, I talk to our clients about seeing the gifts in every connection, especially when they are beating themselves up because something has ended badly. Life can be very messy indeed, but there are gifts within. It’s about gently helping people to gain confidence in their life steps. I do not see things as right or wrong, or as mistakes (good and evil are two different things entirely), but as life’s flow without labels, measurement or judgment. That’s loving and being loving to ourselves is right up there as an important thing to so. If we can be loving to ourselves, then we can flow love to others. Taking forward life’s gifts gives a self awareness that makes future decisions simpler. For it is all about awareness and common sense, rather than making decisions that are fear based. There is a huge difference. If you make a decision/action because you do not want a certain outcome, then that is fear based. If you make a decision/action, because something is not sitting right within you, then that is made from awareness, not fear. It allows life to flow along, because you are not trying to control it. You are just setting your boundaries on what does, or does not, sit right for you.

I read a cracking expression the other day…I love it. ‘If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck….it’s a duck!’ If something, or someone, is not sitting right within you, pay attention, it’s your twinkly lights from behind trying to tell you something.

Reflecting and capturing the gifts from what has passed is not looking backwards, it’s taking the twinkly, sparkly light of life’s gifts forward. It also helps you to live without fear, just simple awareness and that is a very loving thing to do.

Last week I was mainly driving tractors, diggers and trailers……love it!

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On the farm last week, the father and son builder team of John and Duncan, creating a huge 90ft barn in a far field, were a gift. Over coffee and cake breaks we perched on stacked timber and forged a friendship with much banter and laughter.

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One evening I looked across at the tractors dotted about and asked who owned them. Duncan said he did as he watched my face light up. For years, and I mean years, I have yearned to be back on a tractor. This is linked to heart memories from my days as a teenager in Africa, way before the days of health and safety, where we really pushed boundaries and had real adventures. Anyway I digress, I whispered to him (it was that important to me), could he take me out on a tractor….pretty please? We arranged it and end of play one early evening I stood welly booted and expectant in the field. Duncan went one better and handed me the keys with the words, ‘I think you can handle this yourself Jane’. He gave me instructions, perched in the cab with me and off we went. The sprung seat bounced and I drove around that field with a massive grin on my face. He had given me the gift of a dream.

A few days later John was unable to come to work on the barn, so I offered to help Duncan and he gave me instructions on how to drive the digger, with it’s many levers! The plan was to put Duncan in the digger bucket with a 16ft wooden beam and I would manoervre him through the steel shell and lift him up to various points to place, drill and then bolt each beam into place.

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The faith and trust he placed in me was immense as I have never driven one of these things and my fear level was high as I applied every atom of concentration to my task. Backwards and forwards we went and we managed to finish a whole section.

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My heart was in my mouth, but gradually I got the hang of it and the banter flowed through facial expressions. We had been using a system of hand signals above the racket of the engine and after a while I knew when to lower this trusting soul to bring him out for the next beam. I had a little fun with him in there. I would catch the flash of a smile as the last fixings went into a beam and I would grin at him from the cab and raise him an inch (steel beams above his head). His expression was priceless and I continued to grin and bring him slowly down again. He didn’t need to hand signal, his facial expression was eloquence enough in itself. He gave me another precious gift that day as my confidence came flooding back. I struggle when I think how long ago I lost it as I have been running on auto-pilot, with regular mental reminders of ‘I can do this’, for months now. His faith in me was uplifting and I must have slowed him down that day, but he gave no hint of it, just gentle encouragement and laughter.

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I left with love and much gratitude to head on up to Cheshire. John was back in the bucket, with Duncan driving the digger, and he looked down and said ‘Will you miss the place Jane?’, I replied ‘I’ll miss you two John, and the animals, I am so grateful for your friendship this week. It has been a special gift’. This roughty, toughty compact man in his special cap looked down and his eyes twinkled. Duncan and I hugged without words.

I am back at Mum and Dad’s and their moving plans are gathering pace. I awoke on my first morning to my Dad, with a familiar look on his face, saying ‘You’ve got a tow bar on your car haven’t you Nane?’, (that’s my old family name). That morning we shifted a huge heap of ordered debris (it’s my Dad after all), that used to be the old roof of Dad’s back workshop. ‘Thirty years ago I hand laminated that with a two inch brush’, said Dad. ”Really?’ I said as I struggled to split the external panels. Now for those of you in the know my Dad does nothing by halves and this is a trailer with a capital ‘T’ and I have never driven while pulling one before. After several trips we finished the job without incident, having befriended a kind young man at the tip who made the whole thing seamless at their end, and was very appreciative of the homemade cake from my Mum.

I think I have found my calling….all I need now is a hard hat.

Your heart knows…self belief in all you do and try……

If you believe in yourself then anything becomes possible.

If you believe that you can do something it becomes less daunting and new possibilities take root. Self belief opens doors, sparks imagination, allows for experimentation, widens the horizon and lays those gossamer films of self confidence down in your soul.

Two good friends have taken a leap this weekend and are taking their business over to Ireland. They have a core belief in what they are doing and I have every faith that they will flourish and their business will go from strength to strength.

Self belief lets you take that leap of faith into the unknown.