On Friday evening I got the type of call everyone dreads – your father has not been seen today. His house appears to be dark, the curtains are closed and the car hasn’t moved. I nearly ignored the call when I didn’t recognise the number on my mobile. I was in bed, suffering from what I had decided was ManFlu, shivery and feeling deeply sorry for myself. I’m bloody glad I answered. Continue reading “Helplessness and the kindness of strangers”
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there;
I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Fry
I saw an image today that said: “Remember the dead, but fight hard as hell for the living”
My Dad says to me every now again “Enjoy yourself for God’s sake. You’re a long time dead”
On this, Remembrance Sunday in the UK, I will, along with millions of others, fall silent at 11 am and remember.
I will honour the people lost to me, smile quietly at what they offered me, thank them humbly for how they touched my life and feel the sadness of their loss.
Then I will begin again to be thankful for all that I have.
For being able to move and be in the world on a freezing, crisp November day.
I will remember that it’s good to be alive.
I’m reviewing 18 months of journalling, reading and writing as part of processing my research and learning for my final MSc dissertation paper.
I found this and want to share it. There is an invitation here to connect today.
At some point? Sit with a cup of good coffee, or tea, or sip some water and Talk. To someone. Fully. Look ’em in the eye. Smile a bit. Ask questions. Be with them. Let them be with you. Just for a wee while. See where it takes you … and enjoy.
” I notice a stark contrast between my experience of rapid, broadcasting, short, sharp Social Media interactions and the real-time, deeper connections that real-life working relationships and conversations require. I notice get something from both – the quick pace, virtual snapshots give me small hits of connection and a snippet of community… and then there is the joy of properly seeing, hearing and connecting to someone fully – mentally, emotionally, physically.
I notice a deeper satisfaction in my person-to-person contact – there is something far more soulfully nourishing, for me, in good, connected slow-time conversation.
I’m not going to hear a dirty laugh or be swept up in the colour of someones eyes through Twitter.
Sometimes? It’s just got to be human contact for me. ” – November 2012
At 15:09 on April 29th 2012, I posted the first ever fuchsia blue blog post.… ( I will always be indebted to Niall Gavin @niallgavinuk for nudging me to be brave & publish the thing that Sunday afternoon)
So I’m indulging myself in a wee moment of reflection. As I read back over old posts, I see snapshots of moments in time – small glimpses of my thinking – how some of that has moved on, how some of it has remained, how some of it has grown deeper and more solid.
Throughout the year, I have strived to be an authentic voice – blogging what I notice and experience, placing that into the virtual world with some care and hope that it will generate thought, comment or pause, perhaps.
A massive thank you to all readers, contributors, supporters and challengers.
What next then?
See Blog post: What’s your Contribution? Right now, I’m interested in curating stories and gathering folks’ contributions to the question:
Please do drop in and comment – so far there are themes of being human, compassionate, honest, curious, appreciating difference, being able to challenge without harsh judgement, holding a lightness of touch and working with humour.
PS: Reasons I love the Twitter community: thank you to Simon Heath @SimonHeath1 for the following Birthday Blog gift:
Here is the Kindness List, written on a train bound for Gatwick a few weeks ago, around about the time I was grappling with some of the learning noted in the last post.
I wrote it in hot pink pen, filling up blank pages and by the end of it, I was grinning like an idiot (and the person sitting opposite was looking quizzical). As an exercise, writing a Kindness List comes thoroughly recommended.
A couple of weeks after writing it, it seemed a good thing to share with a colleague who was similarly grappling and fighting with workstuff and lifestuff. It made her smile, too.
There’s nothing here that’s particularly profound, new or amazing. It could be longer or shorter, cleverer or more daft. It could be…. But it isn’t. It’s just a list, offered out kindly, funnily enough. I hope it makes you smile.
Slow down, girl. Sit with stuff when it comes – there is no need to rush to action or conclusions
Smile. You are happier and more free when you do.
Go easy on the alcohol, kid. Maybe less is more? Something fabulous in one glass, rather than a bottle of crap.
Move your body – you love it when you do and it loves you right back. There is not one single thing wrong with exercise.
Not too serious, hon. Life can be tough enough. A little humour and a wry smile can be a good way to….….just be.
Judges are for courts, beloved – not for your head. Be generous to yourself and others.
Play. Remember to play. Not rough play, but light, daft, silly, messy finger-painting-ooooh-this-is-fun play.
Take a big hot bath with loads of bubbles
Buy good shoes
Smile and speak to the people who serve you in shops, bars and restaurants. It Just Feels Good.
Make contact with friends and family – not because you have to, but because you really love seeing folk and being connected.
That’s mine – What would be on yours?
Monday’s post felt a little shouty. Today, I’m blogging out in a different space, trying to occupy more gentle, expansive territory, trying to think of the things that inspire.
Tomorrow (Sunday 1st July) I undertake a mini Triathlon, a physical challenge inspired by my family’s very real, very long and very raw struggle to come to terms with early onset dementia suffered by Margaret Drybrough (AKA my Mum) over the last 10 or so years.
As I swim, bike & run my way round Hawick in the Scottish Borders, I’ll be thinking of my parents and brothers and my husband, my sisters in law, nieces, nephew…I’ll be carried by every single person who has donated sponsorship in a recession. Everyone who has sent encouragement on the JustGiving site.
I will be inspired to move.
For me, to be inspired by something means I stop in my tracks a little and connect to something bigger than myself. When I’m inspired, I want to stand a little taller, do something a little better, breathe a little deeper, create something a little more meaningful.
I’m laying out inspiration so it too will carry me round tomorrow and in the hope that other people will share their inspirations & thoughts back with me.
Here’s my list of Things That Inspire:
Seeing true bravery in people – massive bits of bravery like speaking up or speaking out or little bits of bravery, like trying something new
Melodies which haunt
Words which move me
My nieces & nephews – for their energy, wisdom and ability to make me belly laugh
Cities at night
Flying… I get weirdly lyrical & thoughtful on flights…
Anyone who asks these sorts of questions – stopping me in my tracks & asking me to think….
And a good, balanced wine – how do they do that?
Gorgeous scents like orange peel or perfume or cut grass or aftershave
Shameless eye contact
Bright, cold, clear mornings….
A fast ski run
Old gnarly trees
Hearts on sleeves
A good coffee
A great conversation
Dancing with a dirty big grin on your face
Staring up at a massive star-filled sky
My folks still being loved up after a lifetime together
I’m running on behalf of Alzheimer’s Scotland for the support, research and work they undertake: http://www.justgiving.com/joolstri2012
So it looks like I’m going to start Blogging. Interesting turn of events.
Late last year I was in conversation with an experienced blogger explaining plainly how this on-line virtual world malarkey wasn’t for the likes of me. “I can’t think of a single thing to say that people would actually want to take the time to read. What on earth do you SAY that is clever and engaging and… well, worthwhile?”
Cautioned by the over-sharing nature of some of what I’d seen on Facebook; baffled by Twitter (but WHO READS IT??? What is the POINT?) I was, frankly, disheartened.
Sam was, as ever, encouraging and practical. Look at Blogging as the start of a conversation – a means to discuss or share information. It’s not about being clever. Though engaging is a good idea…..
On 16th December 2011 on a slate grey, freezing Edinburgh afternoon, I walked through St Andrews Square. In the midst of the Christmas chaos and bitter winds, I saw this hand painted banner in the Occupy Edinburgh camp. I was so struck by the words – they resonated with me so strongly – that I pulled off my gloves & took a snap with my iphone:
Change Starts In The Heart.
And I’m thinking “Yes. It just might. I think that to really shift or change anything – your hearts needs to be in it. I feel that and I think that. “
I sent the photo to a friend and the response came back almost instantly: There’s a blogger in you somewhere.
And that stopped me in my tracks. I suddenly felt the very opposite of disheartened – I felt engaged and enlivened…..Because I found I really wanted to say more about the image – about what it said to me. I wanted to share my views… so maybe there was a Blogger in me somewhere.?
It’s taken me months to build up the courage to Blog. To be bold and share my thoughts, experiences and words out into the virtual world. I’ve played about on Twitter (@fuchsia_blue) and I’ve started a new Facebook page where I try to post stuff which has genuinely moved me, or made me laugh, or given me pause. I’m trying to find my virtual voice – one which is authentically mine and reflects me. Through finding my virtual voice, I find I strengthen my actual voice…. I find finally I have something to say and, even if it isn’t clever, that the words are mine and I can share them gladly and openly – as the start of a discussion.
And people have responded back – comments and re-tweets and coffee & a Facebook chat about physical memories and journaling with all 5 senses.
And I find I only really want to post things that have touched my heart – that mean enough to me to show my passions and my concerns; or the things that lift my heart and make me smile ( or fall about laughing, of course)
So… it looks like I’m going to start blogging.
Change Starts In The Heart indeed.