This is one of my most treasured poems and has helped me through many times when I wanted to cling on to someone, something, or some aspect of myself that needed to change. Charles Swindoll’s book The Grace Awakening was a revelation to me when I first read it years ago. It is one I try and re-read every so often just to make sure I am living Grace-fully to myself and others.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Harold Whitman
I found this quote in an old Filofax. Then found a quote that says “getting excited about an idea is not much of a plan”. Mm
yup, I am good at excited but need a more focussed thinker to help me with my plan. So it’s TEAMWORK folks!
Storms, rain, darkness, yet what did I find when I really LOOKED?
Corrie ten Boom: “But, she said, “this is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Corrie ten Boom replying to John and Elizabeth Sherrill, co authors of “The Hiding Place”, in their forward. This book was made into a film portraying Corrie and her sister, Betsie (who died in Ravensbruck concentration camp), and the ten Boom family’s experiences during the Holocaust and the part they played in rescuing many Jews only to be arrested themselves.
Everything in our home says ‘calm, rest here, be at peace’ – it was designed that way as we renovated our old property. Even the roses in the garden are ‘Peace’ roses and there is a Quiet Room (summerhouse) at the bottom of the garden.
People come here, walk in the door and say “It’s so peaceful here. Wonderful.” Guests come to retreat with us and remark of the restfulness of the entire property.
I am so blessed to live here and offer the serenity of our home to others. Do I feel that way though?
Not always! It can be busy running a home and family, several businesses and the retreat. But the busiest place has been in my mind …
I have attention deficit hyperactive asset (according to Dave Gilpin – see his Twitter page and Hope City Church UK) and have some amazing gifts and abilities but these need some good support to keep them positive.
The actress Betty Davis said: “Getting old isn’t for wimps” and how true that is! I am now able in the UK to get free prescriptions (very useful – read on…) but have to wait another year and a month to be eligible for free bus pass and state pension (ouch – now you know how old I am!). Things don’t work as well as they used to. My slightly off beat brain needs a bit of support, my body needs regular exercise and it likes pretty sensible food and levels of alcohol.
Anywhere, where was I? Oh yes, that happens too… the old cognitive processing systems seem to need a bit of oiling. I have always had ‘dyslexic moments’ where I could tell you the first letter of the word but not recall the word itself until after four or five shots of trying different ones out. Now that has increased to a word or a name itself.
I don’t think I am at the stage yet portrayed so honestly in the film about literary and philosophy genius Iris Murdoch. That was quite upsetting to watch yet so beautiful at the same time. I don’t think my loving spouse need worry about having to run down the road after me quite yet!
However, back to main topic. A busy mind, neurodiversity for the aged, and revelations…
I am planning to write up some academic papers long outstanding to submit for publication. Am I up to the job given my present state of mental health? Here is where the free prescriptions being so helpful comes in… I take medication to calm my brain down and medication to calm myself down. I am not however in a state of lethargy or vagueness… I feel more… LIKE ME!
Unlike Kay Redfield Jamison the fine author of a fine book, “Touched By Fire” (her autobiography “An Unquiet Mind” should also be read -or listened to as it comes on audio book also), I do not have to take and balance levels of Lithium for manic depressive illness (also called Bi polar disorder).
Stephen Fry has done excellent programmes on this illness, which he himself has, interviewing celebrities like Robbie Williams and Carrie Fisher (others are listed on Google: Vivien Leigh, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jean Claude van Damme, Van Gogh to name a few ) .
I am not having the level of struggles of those creative wonderful people. I am hopeful that my support strategies and my medication can offset my busy mind, my post menopausal weird hormones and my tendency to collect gadgets and any form of information and knowledge indiscriminately – and thus I get all my filing systems, book cases, computer filing, email accounts clogged up.
Stephen Fry also collects gadgets … and sports cars apparently… out of my league!
I am very hopeful and quite excited to enter a new phase in my life and would offer you a poem written about my life without my strategies and supports:My chattering mind. It does seems to me that strange animals live inside my brain: Some are woolly, jittery and ‘tiggerish’, others are still and wise. It’s a funny thing to hear them chattering away to me, some contradicting the other. There are times they all manage to be still when I’m without distraction or urgency But this doesn’t happen often and extremes of noise or quiet may cause some of them to take fright, some become tired and confused, others begin to rant and rave. Those tell me horrid, depressing things about myself that I don’t think are true. But they do make me doubt and I begin wonder if I am as awful as they say. If I could choose, I would have just one animal in my head, perhaps an owl crossed with a worker ant: one useful, helpful creature instead of the cacophony of my zoo. Imagine how wonderful a person I would be if I just had one crossbreed of practical and wise in my conscious mind, and not this contentious menagerie? Ah well, I suppose I should just accept the diversity of my personal zoo and make sure I don’t pay attention to the wrong animal at the wrong time in the wrong situation. (c) Sharman Jeffries 19.6.02
When I found out about Nancy Doyle’s company that supports, assesses and coaches people who are neurodiverse (ND) – GeniusWithin Ltd – I have to confess my emotional rollercoaster response took me aback.
I experienced joy, envy, excitement and self-recrimination and my thoughts went something like this:
“It’s great that someone is promoting the Genius that is within people like me! I wish I had built up that company, missed the boat now. They could even help me perhaps, that’s great! Why didn’t I build up something like that then, procrastinating again obviously. Need to do better.”
GeniusWithin Ltd’s FaceBook page http://www.facebook.com/GeniusWithinLtd?ref=ts&fref=ts shows a diagram of the positive attributes that may be found in people with a particular neurodiverse profile (from Mary Colley’s DANDA Venn diagram of the ND spectrum of difficulties).
(Thinks: “Why didn’t I think of doing that?” )
Anyone astute enough can see I do a good line in self criticism… even after all these years of personal development, spiritual mentoring, counselling, supervision and coaching… Sigh…
The title of a still relevant and useful but now very old book, says it all: “Excuse me… Your Rejection Is Showing”. (Noel and Phyl Gibson, 1990. Published by Freedom In Christ Ministries Trust: Drummoyne, Australia).
I do have an early background of being (or feeling) rejected and/or abandoned. One feels that after more than 30 years of working on the tendency to protect myself against being rejected again, feeling I don’t make the grade no matter how hard I work blah blah blah… bleat bleat bleat! (no wonder humans were likened to sheep in the Bible…)
With a red face I recall that during the late 1990’s and early years in the new millenium, I wrote articles for Woman Alive magazine on related subjects: “Price of Perfection”; “Curse of Comparison”; “Do You Walk by Faith – or Limp” and “Mind Body and Spirit” (a few others too).
The one I notice I didn’t get round to finishing and get published had the working title: “Reject.” The whole subject was linked in my mind to the children’s TV programme of the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s, “The Raggy Dolls”.
These toys were stamped ‘reject’ and thrown down the reject shute because of various manufacturing faults. Yet they had really special adventures, were interesting characters despite not been stamped ‘accepted’ and supported one another.
The last chorus of the series’ song goes:
“It’s not much of a life when you’re just a pretty face. Just to be whoever you are is no disgrace. Don’t be scared if you don’t fit in, look who’s in the reject bin. It’s the Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls, dolls like you and me”
Perhaps I never finished writing the article not because I procrastinated (although that would be a possibility…) but because I wasn’t ‘brewed’ enough yet, I still struggled to put the “Accepted” label on myself.
GeniusWithin’s diagram of positive attributes for my particular ND profile (ADHD – I, dyspraxia, mild dyslexia and occassional Asperger type characteristics) indicates my attributes as
|innovation, rapport, awareness of others, creative abilities, novel thinking, energy and passion, visual thinking, more creative abilities, connecting ideas, at times concentration and fine detail processing.|
I posted that list on their comments box and commented excitedly: “I’m like an exotic flower in a bouquet of daisies. ”
They posted back:
Yesss!! what a lovely affirmation (Nancy does know me by the way) ACCEPTED!
So, I make a decision today to accept myself (even if no one else does) and see that just because, like The Raggy Dolls, they didn’t fit someone’s criteria of acceptance,
I AM ACCEPTABLE TO ME AND THE ONE WHO MADE ME!
Everyone else: “Get over it!”
ANY OTHER ‘RAGGY DOLLS’ OUT THERE WANT TO JOIN ME?
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the ring (2001) official theatrical trailer http://imdb. com/title ..
In a scene in the film version of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” Gandalf and Frodo sit in the Mines of Moriah. Gandalf has forgotten the path they need to take and the fellowship are sitting in this gloomy place waiting for him to remember.
Frodo has been injured by a blade from Mordor and, although healed from the blade’s dark poison by the Elfs (Tolkien’s spelling) in Rivendell, the injury will never completely heal. Sitting in the dark gives Frodo time to think, to reflect on the dangers that his quest to destroy the ring of power has brought his friends and companions into. The burden of the dark Lord’s ring adds to his depression.
He confides in Gandalf, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf looks kindly at Frodo and smiles.
“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
There are other forces at work besides evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it… And that is an encouraging thought…”
Gandalf then remembers the way they need to take…
No matter how many times I watch the film – yes, I LOVE films! – I still feel uplifted by Gandalf’s words.
I can’t find them in Tolkien’s book but I guess the script writer (who was he/she?) took the guts of the story and this scene describes how Gandalf played a vital part in helping Frodo – and the others in the fellowship – keep going even in the darkest places.
Do you have people like that in your life? Whenever you feel really low and feel like chucking in whatever project you are undertaking, giving up on achieving the goals you have set yourself, they will have just the right words to say to you.
I don’t mean the ‘pull yourself together!’ brigade… (you know who you are!). I mean the person who will be there with you in the feelings, who will allow you to express the emotions that are overwhelming you, maybe hold your hand or just be ‘present’ with you in the moment.
Then somehow they bring a new perspective, help you to see things from a new angle, shine a new light on your experience… and your clouds blow away, the heaviness lifts and you can stand straighter, walk taller and smile again.
They may not necessarily be a trained counselor, coach or mentor. There are people in the world who seem to be truly empathetic and have the gift of encouragement and insight. Some people may have experienced more of life’s difficulties, trials and tribulations than is imaginable and have come out the other side with wisdom beyond their years.
However, whether we LISTEN to these ‘angels in training’ though is our decision.
I remember a time when I was suffering from clinical depression and anxiety illness (triggered off by a combination overwork and going through the menopause: hormonal imbalances are NASTY!). I did decide to listen to my Gandalfs, but I had to wait for medication and rest before I could act on my decisions.
Some people may be in a position where they would rather CHOOSE to feel weighed down rather than DECIDE to accept those insights and BE ENCOURAGED. Maybe its their ‘Eeyore’ personality type or maybe they see benefits to being perpetually down and depressed?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapists and Coaches will encourage clients to evaluate the pros and cons of the likely consequences of making changes in their lives. Such honesty can reveal that it may not be the right time for that person to make changes yet – they see more benefits to staying where they are, doing what they have always done, seeing how they have always seen… Another time perhaps?
But if there ARE beneficial consequences that can ensue from making a decision to change and we are in a place to act? We could SOAR like an eagle rather than flap along the ground!
It is true that we can’t choose the time we live in, we but we can choose to decide what to do with the time we have. We can recognise ‘the way out’ –
I want to send my thanks to my ‘Gandalfs’ – you know who you are and you are brilliant! I hope I can be a Gandalf to those who come my way as you have been to me. Mwah!
Thanks to all those who are ‘Gandalfs’ out there in the world – we need you desperately in these times…