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Reflections 2018 w05

Well another month has been and gone, not all the things I wanted to put into place have materialised and some were just late. Outside forces have played their role, and my unenthusiastic approach has been reflected by the weather conditions.

However one has managed to start on a website design, with Wix, for a friend from group, when it is completed a piece will be written on it as a kind of launch. It is a worthy cause I am glad I can help with it.

So January was not a complete bust, February it seems is wanting to start with the dentist as I sit here typing this with a quarter tooth missing. I so hope it has had a root filling in the past. There is a point of no return for teeth when the dental care has been lacking in years gone by, something I hope my son will not follow.

I finished the painting that was commissioned by the B-WELL group and when it is placed on the wall it will be placed on my website. Although I did not get paid for this commission, it is non the less my first commission, and it is my own design, heavily influenced by the Blobby Tree theoretics but far enough away from the actual picture that it has/will have its own identity, complete with my sense of humour. There may even be a cartoon on the trees growth and story of the little people and the well around it. I have seen the animated story in my head, it would not stop once it started.

The prize for the writing competition was a £10 voucher for The Works, the story will be published in Brighter Futures February newsletter along with the other entrant/winners story. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from the piece to get a more popular writing competition next time. my-first-writing-competition-entry

My goal of mapping the local parks/woods and blogging about each one did not start last month partially due to the weather and partially due to the struggle to get out doors. I know that even warmer weather will not change that struggle to get out of the doorway.

Thats the rundown for the last month.

Where has the time gone?

Why are the weeks flying by so fast?

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

 

Reflections 2018 w02

The b-well group started this week with some of the usual suspects, one was not expecting anyone that had not heard through the mental health groups as the advertising has yet to start properly. They also are at the moment using the Blobby tree, anyone that does not know of this series of pictures can easily google it, but in short it is a series of non sexed blobby people that are in differing ‘scenarios’ that can lead to a person opening up and talking. I have been led to believe that it works quite well.
I however have for some time been drawing my own scenarios, in my own sense of humour, mostly never including the tree at all. This week was no different, and the drawing done was voted to be turned into a poster and I was commissioned by the group to do my own version of the tree with my drawings on it, or off it.
My brain at times is like a tearaway pup, it gets hold of something and just runs away with it. This simple picture became a painting, which then became a series of drawings as I perfected the original sketch, which then became the tree wanting me to tell its story – in the old school cartoon way to create an animation. I don’t animate, but I have this story in my head and it wants to get out. It’s doing my head in; I know I will be doing the animation in the end just to shut it up.
Not knowing if the ‘blobby people’ are copyrighted or not I thought I would go a little more realistic in shape but still as simple as the blobby’s. This led me to ones looking like the change4life, so a no go there. Eventually I found my little people’s shape, next was their face or lack of it. Several faces later I had the one I liked, front on. But what for the side view? Nose or no nose? What size/shape if there is one? More sketches, a slight alteration to the frontal picture to match and I have my little people’s face.
Now the picture for the poster/painting is entering its final stage of putting it all together and it has definitely progressed from the original. And part of that progression is all down to the future animation attempt. This picture is a close up of the final tree picture, because it has yet to grow to fill the space. A bit like how the seed was planted in my mind for the image idea, and the way mine shot off it must be well fertilised.
I have spent 2/3’s of a day on the sketching alone, a part of the process that many do not even see nor understand. To be fair many that paint do not do the processing of the pictures the way I do, they would have just used the original sketch and painted. I do not want to be seen as copying someone else ideas. Influenced by someone – yes – everyone is in some form or other, but I do not want to just copy. So I go through this process to make it my own.
One may even start to paint tomorrow.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

The Korean Kimchi Experiment

I have been watching a channel on Youtube called Future Neighbor, a homemade Korean cooking show. One has to say every meal watched so far is tempting, but I was intrigued by Kimchi. What it was was explained in one episode, and how to make it, but that did not put me off – one was intrigued.

It seemed like the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut, something else I have yet to try. On the plus side it is supposed to be filled with goodness. A jar was bought, and a couple of weeks went past before it was opened, it was almost a dare to open, even though tI had  no preconceived ideas towards it.

The lid came off…

By christ I was not expecting the pungent odour assault to my nasal passages, in a word it stinks. Not in a negative way, but rather in the way that the smell of grilled sardines stink out the house, I will not be cooking them indoors again, they positively make mackerel seem odour free. One cannot even describe the smell of kimchi, it is – unique, but somehow appetising *. Nothing like the western food I usually eat.

Not put off by the smell I took my first bite, my gag reflex kicked in slightly, the same happens when I start drinking Kefir after a break from it, must be similar probiotics, however I liked the taste – not so much the texture, it was too soft. The next day I took some with my sandwich and salad, it juice ran all over my celery, spring onion and purple carrots. The people around the table kept pulling their face at an unusual smell, eventually, I owned up that it was my dinner. Note to self…not to eat in public…Still put off by the texture but loving the taste of the juices and the kick of the chillies I decided to try it one of the other ways I saw it served – with rice.

The next day one placed a large dollop of kimchi in a cup of hot rice, stirred it in, and let it sit as I ate through my salad. Once I thought that the kimchi would be sufficiently warmed I tucked in. What a difference it made to the sensation of the texture, when it was mixed with the hot rice and had warmed a little, my mind registered it as being cooked soft. It worked wonderfully with my salad and will be my go to way of eating it as a side dish.

So if you fancy something new and spicy, cook some rice and crack open a jar of Kimchi, ignore the smell and dive right in, you may be pleasantly surprised by this little pot of Korean goodness.

I was.

* The smell becomes less overpowering by the time the third jar is opened, at least for me it is 🙂

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk

Fall…#Poem#Poetry#Prose

The leaves are falling from the trees above,
covering the ground in a blanket of colour.
All around I see squirrels – hopping and jumping from one pile to another.
They stop, and sift through the leaves, searching for the nuts hidden bellow.
Some, they eat, right there where they found them,
others run up to a branch preferring to be out of sight,
only coming back down after the meal is had.

I observe one who takes his nuts to an old garden shed and enters in a hole not repaired.
I wonder how safe those nuts are, stored on a seed tray, left on the floor.
Not used for the winter, undisturbed, with a lock on the door.
Sheltered from the wind and the rain that has been so present of late,
and from the cold and the snow that winter promises to bring.
A bag of straw, saved for next year, makes for a comfy chair to lay back upon.
Relaxed, not having to remember where it was those nut were buried.

Yes, I think that this clever little squirrel has got winter sorted for this year.

 

A § M
10/2017

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/writing

Go with the flow. Echo Update.

IMG_1618ECHO had its first group session at the new place of The American, more turned up than most of us expected, this was a welcome sight as many were wondering if now was the time to stop coming.

Thats not to say we have given up on ECHO, far from it, but the serenity that Brunswick House offered contrasts greatly to the atmosphere of The American, this does not help to ‘settle in’. I am lucky in this respect as I am familiar with the American, many are not, and the process of going somewhere new can be overwhelming, but I too was hesitant as to whether the group would work here.

Chaos was expected as no routines have been set up yet, and chaos was the format for the beginning.  This will improve as time goes by with more input from us to make it work.

Emotions were being suppressed by everyone to differing levels – anger, confusion, dejection where common but most present is probably uncertainty. We have had a letter explaining what has gone on with the funding cut and how we have been given this reprieve by Brighter Futures and the generosity of Swan Bank Methodist Church in order to keep the group going , though not the same, until the end of March.

It also tells us how they are pursuing different avenues toward funding but basically it is looking like ECHO requires a night in shining armour to save the day. Understandably this alters how one approaches the group as a whole – it now has a guillotine at the end of march.

The worksheets, have become more clinical, as I call them, or educational as another does. What we got used to was a more caring way of them being worded. For example:-

You have to take four tablets a day… A Clinical response would be something like…Take two twice a day on a full stomach. A caring approach would be more…Take two tablets at dinner time and two at tea. Both say the same thing but the styling is completely different and I believe the latter helps the info to be absorbed better.

We definitely need to get the CBT papers less clinical.

(Disclaimer).  Now the term CBT has never been used in conjunction with these sessions, but I have found no difference in these and the CBT courses I have been on and the key principles in which they both work are the same.

And in this line of thought I am sending an email to the B.F boss with an idea how we may get some written for us by a University student or two. I don’t think the person who runs the group will have enough time to do the re-writes, unless she takes them home, and none of us want her to become burnt out.

As for me, I have been keeping myself busy, avoiding dealing with it, I am currently looking a a dragons tail that needs scales painting. I know it is the wrong way to do it, especially now I have nearly read a book on mindfulness that was clear on what it means to be ‘present’, and locking myself away from the outside world only makes it worse, but the habit is a lifelong one.  I’m working on replacing it with a more healthy approach.

On the plus side however, I have discovered that writing these blogs has been part of my mindfulness journey, without me even knowing about it, and it is also one way of allowing myself to process the information of the current situation and the Poetry/Prose(new chapter) has been called a cathartic release; this stage has yet to happen, I doubt it will be pretty when it gets here.

On we plod…

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk

Reflections…Week Forty Five

canstockphoto8630797This was the week that Echo closed its doors, and although it was a service that had recognition for it’s good work, it was a service that the government failed to see.

But it is not yet dead!

Brighter Futures have taken it under their wing until next April/March, which is when their funding comes under review from the same government branch that has pulled funding from Echo and NSV (North Staffs Voice), so for a time there is hope

(The term ‘human’ from this point on could refer to any person who has the working knowledge of patients in a time spent capacity. I.e counsellor, Psychotherapist, Psychologist, Therapist etc.) 

The service will be the same but less than, in the sense the space will be shared. However the Swan Bank Church (I believe I have that right) has done the group a massive favour by waiving the fee for the room that gets used by the Art Group until March.

As for the group sessions, well their lies an interesting path that could be taken. No longer is it a CBT session created by a – lets say a ‘human’ – but it is at the moment being taken from those clinical self help books, that I personally find patronising at times. And in this transformation the sessions are getting a little more – generic.

BOOOOOO!

Or is it?

If it was possible to get someone to put the ‘human’ back into the sessions, and still have it slanted towards self harm, after all it could be said all negative behaviours that limit our growth and recovery could come under this banner, but at the same time have a platform that could be taken out under a wider range of banners, with slight tweaking, then the opportunities to fund the ‘human’ to write the sessions is greatly expanded.

This person could also, and it seems like they want more of an active participation from group members to run groups, do, what it seems like my fast becoming standard reply to this suggestion –  Training.

This is also where the evolution of ECHO could come.

What IF…

ECHO became less of a thing, and more of a package. As it stood it was the only one of its kind in the UK, so I have been told, and as it stands now, it is part of something else. As an idea, concept, movement, whatever you want to call it it could be shared. Shared between different charities, and therefore the cost for the ‘human’ could be shared as well. But it also holds that if active participation of the running of the groups is by members, and I am talking about trained/vetted/coached members here, then that could extend the reach to places outside of what is currently available.

This has the possibility of having a snowball effect and reaching many, many more people.

And unlike the clinical CBT training, ECHO membership is life long, for as long as you need it, NOT 12 weeks and your done.

It could even evolve far beyond this vision in time.

So yes, there is hope.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty

This week I have written and submitted a poem Man…#poetry#poem to Restoke’s – ManUp, they replied, very kindly offering to let me read my poem out loud at one of their events. To which I quickly turned them down. I am not at the point of being in the public light that much yet.

Never being the one for performing spoken word, I still feel the knots in my stomach from when I had to at High School in the English lessons, it was always something that one shied away from. Whilst this is the case, the inner person who has written the poem does not want to see someone else read it also. Oh the horror of it being read incorrectly.

I have a strange relationship with speech, with the ‘breakdown’ came a new way of speaking. Although the Dr’s have never worked out what caused the change or why, it does have links to Anxiety. The higher the Anxiety the more pronounced the problem. At one point it took my body painful contortions to get my words out, that leaves a mark on your memory. One I don’t wish to repeat.

One day my self esteem and self belief will be at a point that not only will I do spoken poetry, My poetry, but I will also be looking forward to it.

Maybe it will be the incorrect reading of my poetry by someone else that will break that barrier down.

We shall see.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

The Planets

unspecifiedJupiter

Finally there has been a break in the clouds without the star blocking haze as their replacement. I could not set up the telescopes outside due to the time of night so they were set up in the bedroom.

I was not expecting a photo of any sort as my equipment, for this shot, was a Bresser 70/700, a Celestron 15mm, a mobile phone holder and a Nokia Lumia 1020, my old phone, kept for the 42mp camera more than anything else.

I know that this equipment will never get to the wow stage for most, but for me building up a catalogue of shots will be my Eye Spy book of astronomy for big kids. Heck, I couldn’t even see Jupiter through the first telescope I got as a Christmas present when I was a nipper.

Astronomy is a funny thing… even though the stars have been seen by millions – before you, and they have been mapped out – before you, photographed – before you, the thrill of actually looking for and seeing the planet, galaxy or start clusters with your own eyes matches the thrill of the first people to see them. The explorer that beats within our souls has the opportunity to to do just that, Explore!

Even knowing where ‘it’ is does not help with finding ‘it’ as ‘it’ moves. When you get to a certain magnification that movement is fast.

So… Jupiter… found!

On a side note, I did not realise that Jupiter had four large moons so I am really chuffed I caught them. Total Newb .

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

Reflections…Week Fourteen

canstockphoto8630797This week after over two years, I went public with my writing.

Strange when you view it as going public, with those whom you have a private relationship, rather than the strangers on WordPress, with whom you have shared ones journey since the start.

Pride, that would be the reason, if I am honest, as to why it has taken so long to announce it to the people I know. Not the ‘pride comes before a fall’ pride. But rather the pride that you know you have improved and the goals set by yourself to reach – have been reached. The ‘I have accomplished’ pride.

The kind when a picture of a sheep made with crape paper, macaroni and cotton wool is done by a child. The innocent kind of pride, it was done for nothing but the pleasure of the doing.

Well, It’s not that simple. That would be toooo easy a wall for me to climb, lets just keep adding another layer on top, just too make sure its remains daunting.

So the writing was the start, get more comfortable at doing it, get to the point I don’t feel embarrassed about it. I am still going to see if my English is up to grade and retake my exam if necessary. Then it was do my own website, I personally don’t like the way my blogs are filed on my profile, I wanted it ‘just my way’. So if I am going to the trouble of creating a website, should I not own my own domain name? Then it was, if I have my own website would it not be practical to have my artwork there as well? What good can I do with the site? Then, how is it going to get promoted? Make a Page on Facebook, link them all together…..

The blogging became overshadowed as the secret to let out.

Somewhere along the line was a change. A change so subtle I did not see it.

I stopped putting extra layers on the wall, and before I knew it I was sitting on top of it, looking around.

Sure I could polish this bit and that bit, but as it is a growing web site this will happen naturally over time.

It still amazes me when I look at where my blogs have been read around the world, that little old me, has touched the hearts of strangers, in far off lands.

But the last to know have been the ones within 20 miles of where I live.

I probably even managed to surprise the person to whom I owe the journeys start, Anika.

I just kinda announced it out of nowhere, in a kind of – big intro – way, to the unveiling of the website and my blogging.

I even made it colourful to stand out.

Thank you for your unknown inspiration.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirteen

IMG_0167Positivity section bellow the intro.

This week has seen a bit of a flurry on the blogging side; even as I write this it somehow still feels surreal.

I have just seen my blog on another website, not on the WordPress site I had the invite from but a different website. I am not disappointed my work ended up there, more surprised it had over 30 likes in two days, so for me it is great exposure, it’s one of those sites Facebook sends me to on clickbait.

If you had asked me at the very tentative beginning of my blogging if I thought I would be asked to guest write on another site, I would have thought you strange at best. I honestly thought it would end up like all journalling to that point… Short lived. Especially as there was no enthusiastic charge unto the breach.

Now my ego has had a massage, a shoulder rub of sorts, the kind that says – “it’s worth it.”

I still don’t know in which direction writing is going to take me, but I do know I can connect, even a few at a time, through it. And if that message is one of positivity, a positivity that can have a change effect, even by accident, is it not then worth pursuing?

Here is such an attempt.

Try this out when you walk, it will surprise you how  effective it is, well it surprised me.

From now on, no matter how sh***y you feel, no matter what the weather,  no matter how tired you are or how alone you want to be, headphones on or off, big dog, little dog, Black dog. I know the feelings of wanting to be alone and the effort it will take to do this, I started at two, I also know that the excuses will come easily, if you let them.

Pick a time or place to do this that has the least negative emotional impact on you, doubly hard if just getting outside the door is a monumental task, such as a dog walk route you regularly take or the little diversion on your walk home from work, your weekly walk around the park even. You may have noticed I walk, Spot, my ever faithful Jack Russel, has kept me going outside, out of the door, for most days; but I need the open space to do this technique. Adapt it to suit your way.

For those of us that wear a mask, this will sound all too familiar and will almost be ‘second’ nature, but will have a different outcome than the usual dance.

Practice your smile because a good looking smile is key, even if it FAKE!

As I stated earlier I started with two for the first week, after this I challenged myself to Three. I am now on seven, yes I know it’s anal to keep count at this point but it’s what I do.

Smile to the chosen number of people each day, on a dog walk this should be relatively easy. Look them around the eyes and Smile, the best smile you can do, and say a greeting, whichever you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to stop and talk, heck you don’t even have to slow down. They don’t need to hear you, so headphones are not a barrier and they don’t have to make eye contact back, so no staring!

You will get some odd looks to start, this takes time to take effect, but eventually you will get a repeat pattern of people who see you smile. If you live in an over crowded area, pick out stall people, you don’t even have to shop, just make it easier on yourself to do this.

Here’s the science:-

When you smile within a certain group of people, other dog walkers for instance, you will get noticed because of it, especially when a pattern  starts to take place. The greeting is an added bonus. As people start to recognise you as the person who gives them a smile, they don’t know if it is real or not but its natural to believe it is, they will start to smile back. This way on your journey you have strangers that smile when they see you, take it on face value it is genuine, it will have a tendency for both of you to genuinely smile in time anyway, so why not start with that belief.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Your smile has a great probability of having the person smiled at, smiling to at least the next person they walk past. So if you have chosen three as the number to smile at, and each of them has the chance to smile at a minimum of one other, on your chosen route, that means six have been smiled at because of you!  If they smile at one it’s nine. You may even cheer someone up who needs a ‘friendly face’, even a strangers on a street.

Smiling is infectious apparently and we subconsciously like places that are ‘friendly’. The chain effect of people smiling at one another makes for that  friendly place, this in turn draws the same people back and they in turn catch the smiling bug. Without conscious thought those smiles turn to genuine ones.

Try something that seems to have been forgotten, something free, something that can improve your mental health as a by-product.

SMILE 🙂

Be radical!

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017