Two sleeping tablets later…

…and I managed 8 hours sleep, I want to jump out of bed with joy but feel the remnants  of my deliberate choice to increase to double my dose, holding me back.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the kindness of the human spirit. Another beautiful new scarf was left on my doorstep, and some lovely friends from the village delivered us a whole truck full of logs. This will make such a difference as Colin should not really be chopping away and putting further strain on his heart, and I am feeling the cold more than ever
So Thank You dear friends and village buddies.
Kate will drive and chaperone me to my final beetle juice and stomach injection of the week, today. This will give Colin a much needed break from it all, and a rest from my continuos steroid fuelled chatter.  On the journey I may get the chance to help Kate explore some of her excellent training ideas. I like helping others and feel disappointed when my body has other ideas and I have to go back into succumbing mode.
Tomorrow is my planned day of rest but I do have some other ideas for it so I am willing my body to synchronise well with my mind.
I am excited about the future.
Firstly I am really getting excited about the Village Secret event on a March 22nd I do hope many of you will come and support me. I hope I have enough clothes and shoes that you will like but if not we will just have a fun evening together any way.
Secondly I hope to deliver all the new scarves to the cancer centre next week, I should have received the white paper bags that I want to decorate by then and have written all the positive messages to accompany.
Thirdly I now have the NHS Change Day  to attend  on March 13th, so I can share my pledge and join with colleagues nationally who want to make a difference and improve the services we deliver to our patients.  I will just need to find myself a healthy chaperone who is  willing to wander around with a blown up baldy, (that’s how I feel sometimes), maybe I had better get the wig out!
Then it’s the BIG one, the prep for the Hinxworth Charity Birthday Festival. I want it to be the best night ever so I am busy visualising a lots of sunshine and plenty of people willing to lend us their patio heaters, just in case the air gets chilly in the evening .
I need to stay as well as possible, as does Colin, to acheive all of the above, so we are doing our best to follow instructions ( not my usual modus operandi) and succumbing when we really have to!
Please note,  this blog has been complied  in rather a drug induced state so I hope the above makes some sense.
Back on form tomorrow is the plan,
All the best
Deborah x

A very proud mum and the NHS change day…

I am very proud of both of my daughters but today I want to share with you the success of my eldest daughter and how I feel so proud of her, especially in the last few weeks and months.

Pollyanna is undoubtably a very bright and focused young lady. This is not only demonstrated by her academic achievements that include, a first degree in politics and philosophy, a distinction in Masters of research, and her recent completion of the CIMA
(Chartered Institute of Management Accounts) course, (so far she has passed all of her exams for this with flying colours and is all set to receive her qualification as a charted accountant). I also want to acknowledge her dedication in supporting my own organisation, me personally and the rest of her family.

Pollyanna is always ready to help her elderly grandmother calling her most days and visiting her weekly, she supports her sister with her baby Elliot, and of course is there for me and her step father, calling us daily with offers of support and regular visits.

She finds the time and energy to do all this whilst finishing her NHS graduate scheme, which was no mean feat to get on (the competition was very tough) and is juggling her studies with her regular work place.

I am sure like me, having the support of a caring partner helps, so I must also thank her lovely boyfriend for his contribution.

I certainly appreciate that I couldn’t achieve all I do without the support and care of my loving husband and I often think Colin should be on my trusts pay role with the unseen time he spends rushing around printing, binding and generally supporting me behind the scenes. No wonder the poor guy has chest pains! Maybe I had better take a look at his work / life balance! Colin really is the wind beneath my wings.

Pollyanna has lots of resilience factors and her mothers drive, energy and enthusiasm for life.

Only a few years ago her paternal grandfather, to whom she was very close, died of Myeloma and her biological father has only recently got over ( if you can get over such a thing) bowel cancer. Now with my own diagnosis to come to terms Pollyanna’s powers of resilience and positive mental attitude are really coming into play

She is presently being offered various jobs and has to consider her next move very carefully. There is nothing tying her in to the NHS and with her connections in the city she could easily get a job with a bank earning mega bucks.

But not Pollyanna she is passionate about the NHS and making a difference, (now where may that have come from, I wonder ?).

Relatively recently , together with a few of her young graduate colleagues, they came up with the idea of the NHS Change Day.

This day is drawing close, it is set for March 13th, so only one week to go.

If I had been well and working (not signed off on sick leave) , I would have been more involved in our trusts drive to get our staff involved. I do hope, however, that many of the staff have read the newsletter that came out on February 27th . It was all about the NHS change day and how our chief exec David Law, is calling on us all to make a pledge.

David Law, will pledge…….”We will discuss how to reduce paperwork for the clinical teams”

and…The Quality Directorate Team pledges that on that day, each member of the Quality and Governance Directorate will visit one of the Trust’s services to meet the patients and team members, find out more about the services offered and support them to get involved in the day.

If you are working for our organisation have you made your pledge yet?

You didn’t think a little thing like Cancer would keep me quiet and off your back did you, even if I am running a little behind schedule?

For the many readers of this blog who aren’t health professionals and we are up to nearly 10,000 views now , let me explain to you what this is all about.

This information is taken directly from NHS Change Day website:

NHS Change Day is a single day of collective action to demonstrate how small changes can have a big impact.

On the 13 March 2013 NHS Change Day will bring together the individual creativity, energy and innovative thinking of thousands of NHS staff from across clinical and non-clinical areas of work, in a single day of collective action to improve care for patients, their families and their carers.

Change Day is an NHS grassroots initiative devised and driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England, who want to make this call to action the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the NHS.

It is an ambitious programme of activities aimed at galvanising and engaging the frontline in the process of improvement through individuals and teams pledging to make a change in their practice which will improve patient experience and/or clinical outcomes by spreading and adopting best practice and championing innovation.

This will be a country wide event covering the whole of the UK and will coincide with Healthcare Innovation Expo at Excel in the same day.

The idea of NHS Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS
demonstrating the difference they can make – by one simple act – and proving that large scale improvement is possible in the NHS. The aim is for 65,000 people to take part, 65 being the number of years the NHS has been in existence.

Those who wish to take part can go to the NHS Change Day website at http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday and make their pledge online, join in the discussions on the forum and become part of the growing list of active supporters and organisations taking part on the day.

You can see how proud I am of Pollyanna for coming up with such a great idea , (alongside a few of her colleagues of course)

My pledge is…to increase the resilience of our workforce by empowering them to improve their own mental health and emotional well being and achieve a better more healthy work / life balance.

I intend to do this by writing a blog for our organisation, very similar to this one but perhaps more specifically sharing the mental health parts of this blog with all the Hertfordshire Community NHS staff.

Should I just share this blog, which could perhaps act as a good role model for coping with adversity and demonstrating resilience?

Or write a more specific new blog? I am not sure as this one is quite a bit more about me rather than how I can help others.

I know some of you reading this are working in our trust so I would value your opinion in particular. Also have you made your pledge yet?

Remember you only have a few days left to deliver your pledge.

I am also considering going down to London ( yet again but not for treatment this time) to take part in the Heath Innovation Expo being put out on to celebrate the day.

I just need to find some one to go along with who is happy to perhaps drive or at least accompany a bald, bloated but enthusiastic cancer patient who is still holding on tight to her passion for work and mental health.

I think I must also ask the nurses etc at UCLH today what they know about the NHS change day and check to see of they have put their pledge in yet.

Hmm I wonder if my own team have put out their pledges, it’s hard being out of the loop. Hopefully one of them will be reading this blog and encourage the others to get their pledges in. It doesn’t have to be anything big just one thing that you are pledging to do to make a change in practice that in turn will improve our patients experience. Please let me know.

I urge you all not to just read, or necessarily believe all the bad spin stories often reported about us in the daily papers. We are, in the majority, a caring bunch of extremely dedicated people who want to keep the NHS alive and something that our whole country can feel proud of. I do however feel thst we have the private sector biting at our ankles, hungry for a piece of the action, and just perhaps offering a cheaper but not necessarily greater quality of service. In this day of financial constraints , even at the cost of reduced quality, money talks, and with new commissioning arrangements we are all having to work with a business head on. This is not necessarily something nurses have had needed to think about never mind worry about and do before.

Well it looks like I have got plenty to keep me motivated and out of mischief, so I am so pleased those cancerous cells have been taking note and dying off. They really do have no place to hide in my body. Together we are seeking them out and if one rat gets pregnant we shall be after it and its young, (sorry poor rats I didn’t mean to necessarily pick on you as my metaphor).

I am also grateful for my ten plate spinning abilities and will certainly not let the ‘Village Secrets’, ‘ Especially for You ‘ charity scarves or ‘Hinxworth Festival Birthday Charity Party’ , fall to the ground, with much family and community support they are continuing to spin well.

So just to finish off, this post is dedicated to Pollyanna.

Thank you for being the beautiful shining star you are and letting others benefit from you glorious rays of sunshine.

Your very proud mum

Deborah

X

Mental health (a bit of a passion of mine if you hadn’t already guessed!)

If I asked you to write every thing you know about mental health I have no doubt that most of you would think and write about mental illness, funnily that doesn’t happen when we think about physical health. So what is mental health, how can we acheive it and how can we help our children acheive it?

The world health organisation describes mental health as, ” a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”

I think Wikipedia puts it nicely as being “a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience, an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.

When talking about mental health to large groups or individual clients I use “the long and winding road” to demonstrate how none of us are mentally healthy all of the time.

road with me on

As you can see I have placed myself on the road a little way down from being 100% mentally healthy. Who is a 100% mentally healthy all of the time? Most of us if not all of us have mental health problems at some time. I mean we wouldn’t expect to be physically in top form all of the time would we?

We are all up and down the long and winding road, here are a few facts and figures about the prevalence on mental health in the UK :

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
  • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder

Luckily we talk a lot more about recovery nowadays.

But what sort of things are likely to bring us down the road perhaps more importantly back up again?

Well I of course believe having our LAMBSS (see previous post) met in balance is a good start.

Here is a list of some of the possible life situations or choices that can take us towards mental illness:

Substance misuse
Bullying
Bereavement
Financial worries
Stress
Family break-up
Physical ill health

And some factors that can bring us back towards being mentally healthy

A good support network (friends and family)
Talking to someone
Meditation/mindfulness
Personality (in built resilience factors)
Positive attitude
Confidence
Good self esteem
Prescribed medication

How do we ensure our children have these, what can we do as parents to reduce the likelihood of our children developing mental illness?

Again these are my personal beliefs built on my experiences and map of the world.

I beiieve in order to have mentally healthy children we need mentally health adults that can act as good positive role models.

So take a good hard look at yourself and see what you are role modelling.

Are you demonstating how to manage stress?
Having a good work/life balance?
How to manage Anger?
Good self esteem?
confidence?

Hmm, now here’s your starting point………. YOU

It’s not always easy as we are all human and fallible, but if we really want to make a difference to our children’s mental health it’s where we need to begin.

posterchild change copy

I think we all want our children to be happy.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen or heard this young 13 year old boy speak (if you follow me on facebook you  may have seen it there), here is a very inspirational young man who can teach us a thing or two.

http://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY

Enjoy your day.

Deborah x

A date for your diary…

March 22nd from 7pm.

Village Secrets will be hosting its first ever exclusive girls night in.

I have been busy shopping (well someone’s got to do it ! ) for the best designer gear at knock down prices. I have sourced shoes and boots from Prada, Karen Millen, Russell and Bromley and I think I have a Gucci pair coming. And clothes from Dolce and Gabbana, Jaeger, Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss, Boden, Coast and other top knotch designers.

The first night will be a bit of a trial run but i can promise you It’s going to be a fun night, with glasses of Prosecco and nibbles at the ready, as well as a few other delights to tempt us.

Further details can be obtained by emailing me on deborah.bone@mac.com (I don’t want to put address details etc out on a public forum) I would really appreciate your support, can I count you in?

10% of the profits from the night will go to cancer research.

I must admit I never imagined setting up a new little business to be so time consuming but it has been fun and acts as a distraction.

Distraction is the name of the game today as it’s results day. This is always a pretty tense time as we await to see the consultant for the next bit of news.

I have set up some good distractions today though. On the way home I get to pick up three mannequins from a shop in Marylebone Road and then I am meeting up with an old colleague for a catch up over a cuppa. Both of these I am really looking forward to.

Colin, however is nervous of the mannequins ( huh?), apparently they remind him of an episode of Dr Who. I have tried to reassure him by letting him know they are headless but I’m not sure it has done the trick!

I have been wondering, when the time comes how I am going to fit work in. One thing is for sure I will certainly have a much healthier work , life balance.

I can see you all smiling to yourselves now (well definitely my work colleagues), as you say to yourselves, haven’t we heard that before? This time it will be different I mean its not every day a girl gets diagnosed with an incurable disease. That really does make you think differently about what really matters. Not that I’m not passionate about my work because I most certainly am and whilst there is breath in my body I will continue to try and make a difference to mental ill health in some way or another.

So on the subject of mental health and generally feeling good I thought I would share my top 10 favourite books.

On reflection looking at the list they are not all about feeling good but books I remember reading and enjoying at the time.

Parenting teenagers:

Get Out of My Life : But First Take Me and Alex Into Town -Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks (I can’t tell you how many copies I have bought of this book for friends and colleagues).

Now I Know Why Tigers Eat Their Young: Surviving a New Generation of Teenagers-
Peter Marshall

NLP/ self help

NLP Workbook: A practical guide to achieving the results you want – Joseph O’ Connor

Get the Life You Want: Foreword by Paul McKenna. The Secrets to Quick & Lasting Life Change – Richard Bandler

How to be Brilliant: Change Your Ways in 90 Days! – Michael Heppell

Human Givens: The New Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking: A New Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking – Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell.

Making the Brain Body Connection: A Playful Guide to Releasing Mental, Physical & Emotinal Blocks to Success – Sharon Promislow

How to be a Bad Christian: .. and a Better Human Being – Dave Tomlinson

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne

Fiction (this is a mixed bag)

Germinal – Emile Zola
Bookends – Jane Green
The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank B., Jr. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson

I’m not sure what that collection says about me!

Do you have a favourite book you could share I am looking for sonething good to read?

Scores on the board
Physical health – 3
Mental health – 4
Remember 0 is good on my scale and 10 is a shout for help as things have got pretty desperate.

NLP and my personal journey…

I am wanting to share with you my very personal journey into the world of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), although it does take some courage, I am doing so  because it may help someone else out there.  Everything in life, I believe, happens for a reason and I wouldn’t want to change my past as it has moulded my today, and today I am (for most of the time ), a happy, positive content person.

NLP explores the relationships between how we think (neuro), how we communicate (linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour and emotion (programmes).

By studying and learning from these relationships you can effectively transform the way you traditionally think and act, adopting new, far more successful models of human excellence. (This activity is called modelling and is a key feature that distinguishes NLP from psychology).
In effect, NLP is a powerful change management tool that transforms the way people think and act to have the greatest impact both professionally and personally.
I can quite literally say NLP changed my life around.
At a young age my father left us, there is no need to go in to the reasons why but for a small child it was a significant event. To me he was my daddy and like many children going through a similar situation, I thought I must have done something very bad for this to have happened. The man I trusted most in the world abandoned me (or that’s how I perceived it at the time) . I thought I must be pretty ugly, naughty, useless for this to have happened. He did come back into my life briefly as a young adult, and we communicated by letter  ( no emails or Facebook back in the olden days), then quite suddenly he died in a car crash. This wasn’t hard for me to cope with because by then I was resigned to anything good being taken away as it was my lot and I was unworthy of anything more. I could have predicted it happening so it came as no surprise.
Does this sound like the person you read about today, the positive successful girl who sees the good in most things?
I had built up a strong belief about myself that I carried around like a heavy bag of coal on my back. It was wearing, boring and quite honestly exhausting.  In my head was a voice that would twist and turn every conversation or event into something that fitted with that strong sense of believe that I wasn’t worthy,  I didn’t trust anyone. If someone told me anything good I would look for a reason why they were saying it, and wouldn’t believe it to be true. If you don’t see the good in yourself it is hard for others to see it too, but from an early age I was determined to be good and kind to others, probably in the vain hope that they would like me,  I just never believed they could.
Until one day that changed my life forever. The bag of coal was lifted from my shoulders and the destructive voice inside banished to the museum of old beliefs.
Understanding how my brain worked and why, teaching it a new set of rules, re- programming and reframing, changing the language was as I have already said, quite literally life changing.
Emotional experiences throughout life, and especially during the early imprint years can result in the creation of ‘Parts’ within the unconscious mind. These Parts generate their own values and beliefs, and are responsible for certain behaviours. Overwhelming feelings and reactions, as well as out of control behaviours are the result of ‘Conflicting Parts’.
There is an amazing technique in NLP called Parts Integration that helps to resolve these conflicts between the parts by looking for the highest positive intention.
One 30 minute session with my very skilled NLP instructor Dee, turned everything around for me and the burden of self doubt was lifted.
So this is why NLP plays such a large part in my professional and personal life.
I now have confidence in myself, I can trust others and have a different positive set of beliefs and values that act as my map of the world.
Who would ever believe that the quiet unassured girl, lacking in confidence, would stand up in front of an audience of hundreds and speak about a resource she had developed or share a method of working that she had found worked well with parents and children. That she would win national awards and most importantly be able to accept them graciously.
How did that happen,?
What actually went on that day to change my life around so dramatically?
I remember it so well. I was doing a time-line exercise which explores negative emotions and limiting beliefs, at Dee’ s house one sunny afternoon, when I was overcome with emotion and completely frustrated with myself as I wanted to finish the exercise.
Dee took me to one side and asked how she could help. I remember saying to her that it was very boring, not her excellent training course, but my inner conflict. It bored me so God  knows it must have bored others. I explained to her about my inner voice and the heavy burden I had carried around for years. The time had come, I was ready to move on and discard those old stories and destructive self beliefs.
Dee took me through a process that involved identifying the inner conflicts I was experiencing. I gave the voice in my head a name ( I shall call it Dan for the purpose of this blog) and I thanked it for keeping me safe for all these years. I explored his intention and acknowledged the important role he had played. I then looked at another part or voice that had been much quieter and often drowned out by Dan, a positive role model that so much wanted to have her voice heard. I gave her a name, Julia Roberts, funnily enough,  it was a name that popped into my head at the time. It needed to be someone I admired and I think I had recently watched Notting Hill ( it didn’t have to be a male and female, it doesn’t actually have to be a person  it was just what I chose at the time).
Dan was made redundant (don’t worry he received a good pay out for all his hard work) ,   he had done his duty and his services were no longer required. Julia was offered a job and I often see her beaming smile as she reminds me of who I am today and the things I have achieved in my life. She is there with me as I step on stage her radiant smile lightning up the audience.
The relief I felt from the release of carrying around that bag of coal for years was indescribable although I have tried my best to do so here. From going from daily, no hourly doubting myself , telling myself (or rather Dan telling me) I wasn’t worthy. to how I feel today. It was just so magical how could I not go on to learn more, become a master NLP practitioner myself and use the many tools it has to offer to help others.
I am happy to say that I have influenced many people to find out more about NLP and train for themselves. We have four NLP practitioner in our team and many of the school nurses and health visitors went on to do the training. My sister is also now a master NLP practitioner, and combines this with her skills and passion with horses to teach communication skills, among other things. Kate  has her next workshop  coming up on May 24th so if your interested in this or any other NLP or mental health training just email me at deborah.bone@mac.com and I will put you in touch with the right people. I may even do a bit more training myself.
Anyway I will leave you with a little story I sent a friend many years ago and her response.
A friend of mine was fed up with all of the baggage kept in his shed. “Enough is enough” he said one day, “It’s time to remove  all of the unwanted junk.” He hadn’t anticipated all of the things he would  find in there, and it was true, there was a lot of junk, but some precious  things too, an old grammar phone and an LP. He hadn’t come across it before, and he wasn’t even sure it would work. But you know that sometimes you have to put on the music and dance to it to understand it and know its beauty. He hadn’t anticipated the many ways in which an LP could change his life, but suddenly clearing out the junk became simpler. He felt freer as he listened and learnt from an LP he’d never even realised could be this powerful. By now, the benefits were spreading and his friends and colleagues were all interested in acquiring an L.P for themselves. So he shared with them his experiences and all he had seen and heard.

Dear Deborah

That man…. was it you and your shed…. your treasure.

So glad that I’ve found my an LP in my shed.  It’s made all the difference to my garden and all those who come to visit.   Thanks for giving me the inspiration to seek it out.

You’re a great DJ keep on spreading the music. X

I did my NPL practitioner training with Dee and Paul at New Oceans
and my master practitioner with Melody and Jo
They  have very different approaches to the subject and are all great teachers. They often offer free taster days so it’s with checking out and finding which style suits you best.
I gained so much from them all but want to dedicate this post to Dee who changed my life around, and to whom I shall be forever grateful.
x

Sunday morning ramblings and oh so much more …

I understand the mind and body connection only too well and most of the time my mind controls my body. Yesterday my body took charge. My head wanted to shop, I was looking forward to visiting my favourite little fair trade vintage clothes store in Saffron Walden. It was open for the last time yesterday and I dreamed of picking up some bargains, saying farewell to Liz and wishing her all the best for the future, my body however had other plans. I am learning to listen more to my body nowadays and yesterday it was right, I could hardly move from the sofa never mind wander around outside in the cold.  So it was back to succumbing again!

I am never alone, besides having my lovely husband for company my imagination is my best friend. I have no need for external stimuli as I can lie for hours thinking and dreaming.

Yesterday I was thinking more about coincidence, well actually synchronicity.

Here’s a quote from The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

“I don’t think that anything happens by coincidence… No one is here by accident… Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us. Otherwise they would have taken another path, or left earlier or later. The fact that these people are here means that they are here for some reason”…”

The uncanny coincidence, the unlikely conjunction of events, the startling serendipity, who hasn’t had it happen in their life? You think of someone for the first time in years, and run into them a few hours later. An unusual phrase you’d never heard before jumps out at you three times in the same day. On a back street in a foreign country, you bump into an old colleague. A book falls off the shelf at the bookstore and it’s exactly what you need.

Synchronicity is a concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung to describe a perceived meaningful coincidence. Jung described synchronicity as an “a causal connecting principle” in which events, both large and small, in the external world might align to the experience of the individual, perhaps mirroring or echoing personal concerns or thoughts.

Although some scientists see potential evidence of synchronicity in areas of research such as quantum theory and the chaos theory the concept is not testable by any current scientific method. Skeptics, argue that the perception of synchronicity is better explained as apophenia, which is the human tendency to seek and perceive connections between unrelated phenomena.

Our scientific worldview is built on the concept of cause and effect, as a culture we tend to doubt and deny aspects of experience that aren’t measurable and verifiable. So often when events coincide in startling ways, the first words we hear or say are, “Oh, it’s just a coincidence.”

I am not sure I agree, too many examples of coincidences have happened in my life to put it down to pure chance. Many people have come into my life at just the right time. Tske for example the psychologist in my team who turned out to be married to one of the leading experts in a field closely related to Myeloma and who put me in touch with the amazing consultant that I put my ultimate faith in to today.

The concept that everything has a concrete cause is so entrenched in our modern Western mentality that it took considerable courage for Carl Jung to take on the subject of synchronicity. He had been looking for some way to break through to a patient who was very rational and rigid in her thinking and had a stock answer for everything. he was stuck as how to help her move forward. He writes, “I was sitting opposite her one day with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab—a costly piece of jewellery. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned around and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the windowpane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, ‘Here is your scarab.’ The experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance.”

Colin loves Pink Floyd and has spent a lifetime trying to create music that comes close to his idols ( I think he does a pretty good job) but up until now I have never really appreciated their music in the same way. Last night at approx 3.15 I had an awakening, well I was awake but also awakened to the sounds in a different way. In my research into synchronicity. (it’s marvellous what the iPad allows you to do in the early hours), I came across Dark Side of the Rainbow.

Fans of the rock group Pink Floyd have pointed out that their album Dark Side of the Moon (DSotM), can be used as an alternative soundtrack for the MGM motion picture The Wizard of Oz (1939) in a phenomenon generally referred to as Dark Side of the Rainbow. (DSotR) Contrary to the suggestion by some that this sync was done intentionally, there is strong evidence to support the conclusion that Pink Floyd actually synchronized this album to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which would tend to discount the claim that it was deliberately synchronized to the Oz movie. In an effort to find an alternative explanation, some have dismissed it as mere coincidence; others have tried to explain it as a trick of the mind, as in apophenia; but most interestingly, in 1997, writing for Relix magazine, Dave Kopel suggested the phenomenon was an example of Carl Jung’s synchronicity. Since then, fans of DSotR have been citing the phenomenon as an example of synchronicity, perhaps without truly appreciating what synchronicity really means, or just how closely The Wizard of Oz resembles a parable on Jungian psychology.

Since your consciousness is constantly interacting with all levels of yourself, some synchronicities will have more personal significance than others in your life. You can generally gauge how important a given synchronicity is for you by feeling how you respond emotionally and physically to it.

“When a person really desires something all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” I read this on page 114 of “The Alchemist.” The story is about pursuing ones personal legend and is a favourite book of mine.

I don’t know how synchronicity works, but I believe our thoughts are energy’s that exist outside of our physical bodies. They somehow connect with another persons thoughts, energy. Therefore we unknowingly and probably someday knowingly bring a person or event into our lives.

An example of this has happened recently. I was looking for a singer for my summer party. I searched YouTube videos and asked around. My lovely secretary at work knew of a guy who might just fit the bill. So I watched his YouTube video and thought yes please he would be ideal. But ohh so much more than that, once we got chatting via email we realised we shared some passions about education, coincidences and the universe.

Have a look at:

http://eduspire.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/introducing-eduspire/

Following up from the interest you showed from yesterday’s blog on education I think you will enjoy it.

The best way to begin attracting meaningful coincidences and synchronicity is to pay attention to when they occur. Don’t dismiss these unusual experiences as “just coincidence.” If you’ve never done this, you might be surprised at the similar themes that occur in both your dreams and the synchronicity’s you experience in real life. These might be important keys calling your attention to opportunities, relationships, and possibilities you weren’t aware of before.

The more attentive you are to coincidences, the more they occur. And it starts to get really fun when you realize that the things in life you are most passionate about tend to be the things that crop up in coincidence over and over. A particular band’s music, a friend’s birthdate, the name of a book you love, and so on. You also will likely find that you’ll be generating coincidences with your closest friends and family members, something you talked about in passing will turn into a recurring theme all day long or even for several days running.

You may begin to notice, if you haven’t already, the way it starts to look like everything is connected. One theme begins and travels along, then connects with another theme and yet another, and creates a roundabout back to where you originally began. Patterns emerge and intersect and the synchronicities become too apparent to be able to dismiss any longer!

When you experience synchronicity in your life, you can sometimes gain deeper insight into what you intuitively know to be true by taking a closer look at the synchronicity in question. Could it be true that the universe is trying to tell you something? To find out if there may be deeper meaning to a given synchronicity, ask yourself:
o What symbols does this synchronicity contain?
o What do these symbols mean for me, personally, at this time?
o How do I feel about this?

Have a go and start to notice what is happening around you, you may be more surprised than you think.

So much for my short Sunday morning ramblings I just couldn’t help myself.

Have a great day of rest.

X

Education and co-incidence…

Our education system failed me I dreaded every day of school and after years of wasted opportunities I came out with nothing. (OK one English O’level). Such a disappointment I am sure to my parents who encouraged me to stay on another year in case I was a late developer, I was late alright by another 20 years! Never mind it was probably the school and they would have more luck with my sister who they somehow managed to get into an all girls catholic school. Guess what she did about as well as me. Perhaps my brother had a better chance of shining, his father had at least been to university so just maybe he had the more intelligent gene (not that our mother is stupid, far from it!) but alas he didn’t fair much better.

Back in the early 90’s I completed a full year of teacher training in order to achieve a bachelor of education degree but I dropped out at the end frustrated by the lack of opportunity to use any creativity. The education system seemed so rigid to me and my teaching practices didn’t allow for the sharing or exploration of new ideas with other teaching staff. With the curriculum as it stands , you deliver it as and when you are told and are measured as to how good a teacher you are by the number of A stars your pupils achieve.

Today I visit schools to deliver training or to take part in meetings to discuss a particular child and there so called problems and it seems not much has changed. Teachers are dictated to about what they teach and when and the children must be able to sit still and learn in a particular fashion. Now we know we all have different maps of the world and different learning styles so it must be an enormous challenge to deliver a lesson on a subject that quite frankly is probably completely irrelevant to a class of thirty very different individuals. Ah Ha you’re not allowed to be an individual, stray too far from the norm and you will end up being referred to our service! We mostly see very creative intelligent young people whose contribution to the world could be enormous if they could be channeled in the right direction. Instead these kids fit like square pegs in a round hole. They don’t do boredom and won’t sit there for hours just because that are told to do so. They don’t see the point and quite frankly I often have to agree with them. Unfortunately in this country unless your willing to pay a lot of money there doesn’t seem to be many choices available if any?

Have any of you read the Celestine Prophecy? I digress a little but bear with me. This is just a simple, easy to read, book of fiction (although the author admits his intention of it being more of a parable to illustrate a point) . It discuses various psychological and spiritual ideas and talks much about co- incidences. The book is a first-person narrative of spiritual awakening. The narrator is in a transitional period of his life, and begins to notice instances of synchronicity, which is the belief that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them.

The book starts like this:

“For half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual. If you find yourself reading this book, then perhaps you already sense what is happening, already feel it inside.”

Recently I have met a guy, well I haven’t actually met him yet, but he is coming to sing at my charity birthday festival. And by co- incidence he shares some of mine and Colin’s beliefs about the education system on offer for our children here in the UK today. (see there is a link) David kindly sent me a link to a school in America, which he was fortunate enough to spend some time visiting. At this school the children choose what they want to learn and when, If they choose to play video games all day then thats what they do. Now before you make a judgement, about what you think about that, take a look at the film on their website and then come back.

http://sudval.org/

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a teacher who couldn’t understand why this particular boy had no interest in attending school. I asked her for a good reason why he should. She was flabbergasted by this question and looked at me in horror as she firmly stated to get an education of course! Is that the only way we become educated?

Here is a quote from one of the children who attend The Sudbury Valley School.

“I didn’t really think about getting an education. I didn’t understand the idea of having to artificially “get” an education. I thought that you lived in the world and you got smarter because every day you were learning. I thought that there was no way you could get dumber unless you were erasing stuff out of your brain. It seemed to me that one day you were talking to someone about one subject and another day you were talking to someone about another, and eventually you’d get around to all of them.”

A few years ago now a colleague and I were asked to speak to a large audience of teachers, on an inset day about managing stress. It was the end of the summer holidays and the day before the new school year. ( I’m not sure the timing was great). Besides speaking we were also on hand to offer a few individual sessions for any teachers wishing to make use of our skills and time. I think we only had time for 6 slots between us and they soon got filled. Each one of the teachers we saw broke down in tears as they described the stress of teaching, lack of supervision and support, bullying and fear of failure, and the new year hadn’t even started! How were these teachers meant to act as good role models? I very strongly believe to have mentally healthy children we need to start with mentally health adults. Sue and I ended up with recommending to some of these teachers they visit their GP as.the signs of clinical depression were clearly there.

Surely it is time for us to rethink our educational system.

Would you agree?

Have a great weekend

Deborah

ps just in case your worried about your kids spelling this ones for you:

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh?

A very different parallel universe…

On our regular drive to the hospital we pass through Regents Park, Primrose Hill and along the Marylebone Road. and I am always amazed to see row after row of grand properties each probably worth more than ten million pounds.

On yesterdays journey I was reflecting on the post about it not being money that necessarily makes you happy and I definitely believe that, but do some people have both?

In the evening, as I looked through my brothers holiday snaps (It is so good to have him back) and gazed in awe at the sleeping quarters on the BA flight I was reminded of a very diffetent parellel universe and a holiday Colin and I shared.

BA_FC_x13

A few years ago I used to be into entering competitions. It’s not necessarily because I wanted to win anything in particular, it wasn’t even really about the winning, it was the anticipation of winning that I so loved. I do the lottery because I feel excited about getting a call from someone saying I have won and I wonder what I would do next, where they take you, who I would tell.

I remember winning my first prize, a camera, as a child, by designing an upside down ice lolly. since then I have won a few small things such as DVD’s , perfume, tickets to a show and a folding bicycle.

Then the red envelope arrived.

When you win a big prize you think it must be a scam. Colin and I just stood there staring at the letter for what seemed like hours, reading it over and over again before finally having the courage to ring the number on the bottom to confirm our acceptance.

I had been dreaming (visualising) a holiday as I hadn’t had one for a few years and then we got presented with the holiday of a lifetime for free, imagine that!

A dream holiday for filling in my contact details in an online competition.

photo-14

So in Jan 2008 a few days after my 45th birthday we jetted off to the Gstadd Palace in Switzerland..

The Gstaad Palace is the ultimate in luxury even the carport has a chandelier. Whether you want to ski, dog sled, ride in a horse and carriage or a hot air balloon the hotel will help you arrange it. In fact, the staff will see to your every whim before you’ve even had chance to think of the whim yourself. Hand your coat to a porter when you arrive in reception and you’ll find it hung in your wardrobe barely a moment later. I had heard of a film called The Secret and before the words even seem to have left my lips there it was on the desk in my bedroom.

The room we stayed in was enormous with three televisions, one in the bathroom of course, we also had our own steam room, and a whole room just for our clothes.

The hotel had five restaurants for us to chose from offering cuisine from around the world. La Fromagerie had been decorated to look like the inside of a traditional chalet but my favourite was the blues bar with an amazing singer serenading us very discreetly as we dined on truffles and gold leaf delights of some kind or another.

The spa, well that was another thing all together. It looked like it should be in a Bond villain’s lair thanks to the stone walls with water running down them and circular central fireplace. The inside Jaccuzi opened up to the outside by the touch of the glass the wall rises and you swim out into the open air where at night it’s lit up by torches of fire. We would just put on our fluffy complimentary dressing gowns and take the lift down from just outside our room.
10326_176_bGstaad_Palace

Whilst there we were there we were treated like rotality with champagne receptions, balloon flights and various trips out to other amazing restaurants. We visited the famous Gogreen night club in the hotel. And danced the night away, drinkinng Bollinger on the dance floor over the pool. No worries if you didn’t have the right thing to wear there were a few exclusive shops within the hotel selling designer clothes, diamonds and other such trinkets.

Picture 002EPV3561

We were among 30 other couples who had also won by entering different competitions, one couple won a Audi sports car and £50,000 in the same competition.

The most amazing thing about it all was that you were made to feel completely at home. Staff would suddenly appear, they always remembered your name and would just say things like I took the liberty of ordering you some afternoon tea. Just in case and a few cut off cucumber sandwiches and a mini chocolate something or other might be in order.

Every night the bed was turned down my nightdress was laid out ( good jobI didn’t take my Primark jimmy jams) a chocolate was left on the pillow and classical music turned on to play in the background as you entered your room.

It really was a very different Parellel universe.

I just thought I would share that special memory, normal service will resume tomorrow …

I really have been very lucky but there again do you make your own luck?

Have a look at http://thesecret.tv/

If you fancy having a go at winning this is the site I use http://www.loquax.co.uk/

Better go now, I have a few competitions to enter!

X

Measuring Success

Some days there seems so much to write about I wonder where to start. The challenge is to put all my thoughts down in the few words available to me in a blog. Oh I could write streams but surely I would lose a few of you along the way and I wouldn’t want to risk that.

I am excited about writing more about parenting, today’s education system and navigating adolescence (the lovely singer who is performing at my Summer party got me going!), but I think I will start today with how do we measure success?

When would we know we got it right?

In today’s society and in our culture in particular, success is often measured by the amount of money we have, the size of house we own or the car we drive and occasionally by the number of exams we have passed.

I consider myself successful, but I am useless with money ( I haven’t even started to pay off my mortgage yet) , so I don’t actually own my own home, I haven’t got a flashy car and I only managed to scrape through school with one GCSE (ok I collected a few more as a mature student), however I do consider myself as being successful, because I am (most of the time) happy and content. Yes even though I am considered as having an incurable cancer and experiencing a few not so pleasant side effects at the moment including insomnia!

If one is happy and content in life then what does anything else matter?

I think most of us would agree that happiness and contentment are the primary factors when it comes to measuring success.

Here is a little story I found which I think illustrates success perfectly.

An American businessman was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.”

“You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your Expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, senor?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions, senor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal Fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Food for thought?

Don’t wait for success to happen in the future, have a think about how you would measure success today. How am I going to make today successful? Enjoy the moment and the journey.

You could put your new found visualisation skills into practice and go and visit the place right now.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous poet and philosopher defined success in a life as:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of
intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the
appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in
others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social
condition; to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

I think the Mexican fisherman would have agreed with Emerson and so do I.

Life is short so get out there and have a successful day TODAY, don’t wait for it to happen in the future. Yesterday has already gone so there is no point in worrying about it now and tomorrow will come again, it’s today that’s important.

Ooh, look at me Miss future focused is really getting into the here and now. I really must do a piece on time lines!

Have a good one

X

Getting the balance right

I have been writing this blog for about 7 weeks now (39 posts altogether) and I am very grateful to know there are people out there actually enjoying it. Having only just scraped through an English GCSE writing wasn’t something I ever considered doing but I must admit I am enjoying it more than I thought.

Welcome to the Parallel Universe was intended as a way to share the experiences and progress into my new world and to feel I wasn’t alone on my journey. It certainly has done that and is much easier to bare knowing I have you all on board.

Looking at my statistics I am overwhelmed by the number of followers, views and comments I hope this continues to grow so please forward my blog on to any one you think may be interested.

Blog stats to date:

7,585 views
324 comments
61 blog followers
117 Facebook followers
95 Twitterer’s

The important thing to me now is to get the balance right, as this blog seems so much more than charting my space like travels. It provides me with the opportunity to share with you all the experience and knowledge I have gained throughout the years of working within mental health, training as a psychotherapist, parenting, teaching and much more.

But I do so want to get the balance right and share with you the parts that you might find useful in your own lives. My audience is varied , many of you work in similar fields, some of you are friends and family interested to know how I’m doing, some are fellow myeloma sufferers, and who knows who else is reading. ( There may be even a famous celeb or two) So I do like to mix the blogs up a bit.

Let’s have a look at some of the emotional health sort of subject matter I have shared so far and explore I few ideas that may be of further interest. I can then get my thinking hat on.

The knowledge share so far:

Different maps of the world- how we all perceive things based on our own experiences, values and beliefs
Visualisation- techniques for achieving our goals
LAMBSS – emotional and mental health balance
The BrainBox – a useful resource
Taking care of ones self- the importance of being selfish
Re-framing – looking at situations in a different light
Story telling – making use of metaphors
Pushing buttons- owning our own feelings

Possible future ideas worth sharing?

Anger management using the BrainBox
The power of hypnotherapy
More about Neuro Linguistic Programming
Human Givens Psychotherapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy
Self harm
Anxiety and phobia’s
Time lines – living in the moment
Different preferences- auditory, visual, kinesthetic
Managing today’s teens – I have some great resources I could share.
Children’s mental health
Exam stress – coping and preparing or supporting your teen
Improving self esteem
Addiction
General mental ill health
Autism

So as I have already said (several times i think), It is about getting the balance right, so these topics will be interspersed with various ramblings from every day life in the Parallel Universe. Of course I must keep you up to date with any exciting forth coming hot dates. And then there’s the a Village Secret event ( which I am also very excited about), the ‘Especially for You’ scarf donation appeal, my 50th birthday charity festival and just every day life as a cancer patient ( back down to reality!).

Let me know what interests you and I shall blog it. Funny word blog but preferable to succumb!

I have a feeling today’s going to be a good day for us all but before I go I must share something that I love receiving and you can have too for free. There are no strings attached.

It is a message from the universe that’s emailed to you daily. You just need to sign up at :

www.tut.com

Today I received this one from the universe:

Often, Deborah, simply showing up is enough.
Because the friends, abundance, and health you now dream of possessing have long been in place.
Because the coincidences, surprises, and serendipities that will transform your life already lie in wait for your passing.
And because little else could speak louder of your belief in success than physically putting yourself in a position to receive.
It’s fun to stay at the YMCA,
The Universe

How amazing is that?

X

PS. How many exclamation marks in this posting? ….Only 2 I think! 😉