For Those Who Struggle…

…with the many news items about sexual harassment and abuse being all over the media at the moment: I do too. I’m happy that people are speaking up, that this is talked about widely, and I too posted #metoo – but there is a cost to this. I get triggered all the time by all of this, it’s overwhelming. So self-care is needed. Here are a few things that might help you and me:

  • Take a break from the news. Give yourself time to process. You won’t miss anything you need to know right now. Prioritise your wellbeing over being well-informed. If not reading the news at all doesn’t work for you, limit your news intake. Once a week might suffice. Avoid reading details of news that are likely to trigger you.

  • Take 5 (or 10 or 15) minutes to just breathe. A bit of time to allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. It’s all okay, it’s all allowed. Let it run through you as it needs to. You’ll be able to let it go and move on more easily after having acknowledged and felt it. Mindfulness practice helps a lot with this – here’s a good guided breathing meditation.

  • Give yourself permission to distract yourself – watching Friends or puppies or whatever else helps your mind to be in a more pleasant space for a while. 

  • Write it down – another effective way to process. 

  • Talk about it with a friend, or in a confidential, professional setting (e.g. counselling, psychologist etc). Tell someone who will listen, and who will support you. If you need someone to talk to and there’s nobody you trust around, you can call the Samaritans (UK). Here’s their contact information. They’re available 24h a day, and it’s free to call. You don’t need to be in an emergency situation to call them. They’re there to just listen to you, and to help you talk about what’s going on.

  • Generally, make an extra effort to be kind to yourself. Have compassion with the part of you for who this is difficult and painful. Be gentle. Slow down. Take care of yourself. It might be with a blanket fort, cocoa and a good book. It might be by going to an art gallery and having some beauty to enjoy. It might be with an autumn walk. Hold yourself with care.

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Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Naomi Shihab Nye
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Me too.

metoo16n-3-web

 

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Peace…

anxiety breathing

I’ve been having increasing levels of anxiety these last few weeks, with the by now usual level of horrid news every day, plus the news of my niece’s cancer diagnosis and the connected family troubles, and this week the Weinstein news with all the flashbacks they trigger, all coming together in one panic-inducing heap.

So I am trying to process all this, allowing myself to feel whatever I feel, to write it or say it or express it creatively. I try to accept my anxiety and not struggle against it – I know from experience that accepting it will help. And I try to help myself by focussing on my breathing, by increasing my self-care, by savouring the good things in my life (friends!!), by trusting my faith in a loving  and caring God, by drawing on everything that helps me. And I’ll post a few of these things here for all of you who also struggle with anxiety. I’m not alone, and neither are you.

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

calming-gifs-is-what-it-is

(If you’d like some calming music, try this.)

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The Angels

Should you hear them singing among stars
or whispering secrets of a wiser world,    
do not imagine ardent, fledgling children;    
they are intelligences old as sunrise        
that never learnt right from left, before     
from after,                
knowing but one direction, into God,            
but one duration, now.                

Their melody strides not from bar to bar,
but like a painting, hangs there entire,
one chord of limitless communication.
You have heard it in the rhythms of the hills,
the spiralling turn of a dance, the fall of words,
the touch of fingers at the rare, right moment,
and these were holy, holy.      
                                                         

 

John Vernon Taylor

 

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love is a place

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love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

 

ee cummings

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There Is Yet Beauty To Be Found

Even on the day my little niece begins chemotherapy. What a ridiculous paradox. Hope is not an easy thing. It’s just insistent.

 

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