Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Thu, February 07, 2019 07:33:38
Last week we were 'flooded out' as they say, although we were in at the time; snugly tucked up in bed while the water slowly, I'm guessing slowly, seeped across our ground floor!
I'm always first up, rushing down two flights of stairs to get to the loo - you know the feeling! Splash, splash, splash as my bed-cosy feet paddle through icy cold water! Sitting on the loo (sorry maybe too much information here!) I survey our new 'indoor pond' complete with underwater scales and floating loo brush, and as usual I'm very aware of my choices as to how I can respond. The first thought that always comes to mind is to cry! I think this is a conditioned response - by that I mean that it would seem 'acceptable' to cry and not out of the ordinary in the situation - almost expected in some way even? My second thought is what's the point? I still have to deal with the situation in the end so why not just bypass the 'crying' stage and get on with sorting things out? I also remembered all those times I've seen people who have their homes totally flooded or even washed away - our situation was nothing compared to that. A bit of perspective really helps I find!
So by 6.30am I was busy inside with cloths, mop and bucket, while Tom was outside digging trenches and diverting water. After a couple of hours the situation was much better, fires were lit and we were upstairs eating breakfast.
Our mini flood did make me realise though how the amount of 'stuff' we have has built up again since we moved here 6 years ago. There's nothing like lifting soggy items off the floor and searching for places to put them to make you realise you have possibly accumulated more than you need - again! I say again, because when we arrived here we had been through a huge downsizing operation which involved moving from a house with 5 bedrooms and several extremely full sheds , into a campervan. Its interesting how keeping
life simple seems to be a real challenge for us humans!
Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Thu, January 31, 2019 08:16:50
This is a picture of a mini-quilt I made last year. It was quite an accomplishment because sewing is not something I would count as a particular skill of mine! In fact I would go as far as to say that when I was younger I didn't enjoy it at all and only had to look at a thread for it to end up in a knot! However, after a year of living in France I decided to join the quilting group in our village with the main purpose being to learn French. In the last four years I've made various items, met some lovely women and picked up some useful skills along the way. My French has improved also, though there is still a long way to go!
I've sometimes heard people say "You can't teach an old dog new tricks!" when faced with idea of learning to do something new or different. The great news is that we are not dogs and its possible for us to continue to learn 'new tricks' all our lives. Our brains have what is known as 'neuroplasticity' which means they are able to physically change and adapt as we learn new things. The more we use certain pathways, the more that pathway develops and becomes stronger until there is a physical change in the brain.
Whatever your age or ability if there is something new that you would like to learn then begin now. Its good for your brain!
There are many videos on youtube explaining neuroplasticity if you want to find out more.
Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Sat, June 04, 2016 06:33:05
At the moment I am visiting my family in the UK and while out for a walk I met an old friend. I didn't recognise him as he approached because he was walking backwards! I was intrigued because I had seen someone a few days earlier doing the same thing in another part of the country. I must admit the thoughts that ran through my head were along the lines of "maybe they have something wrong with their legs and so find it easier to walk backwards?.", "maybe they are a bit 'strange' and I should be wary" or "maybe it is a new form of exercise?"
He explained that he was doing it because it was thought to be very beneficial for the brain and helped to build confidence too. Apparently it has been known in China and Japan for years that 'retro walking' is good for you in many ways. For those over 50 its thought to be particularly good for improving balance and coordination. It improves the functions of the cerebellum which coordinates and balances our bodily movements as well as flexibility. It also sharpens your senses as you have to be constantly aware of pot holes, dogs and other potential obstacles!
As I walked away from him it did occur to me how amusing it would be if I then walked backwards too and we would gradually see each other disappearing into the distance in a 'long goodbye'!
Positive ActionPosted by Tom algie Wed, March 02, 2016 15:57:11
The U.K. EU referendum is finally underway. When a chance to vote comes around, as it usually does in a democracy, there is always some interesting action. Unfortunately most of this action is negative scaremongering. There are usually two sides and both sides aim to scare the voters into not voting for the 'other side' by claiming the 'other side' will wreck the econonomy and cause suffering for all. The winner is usually the one who scares the most people to vote for them as they are obviously the safer option. I actually think it is good to vote, although I don't really believe it makes that much difference to me who wins.
In an established democracy with a large public sector and massive corporations, do elections actually change things significantly? Public and private sector systems are entities which inherently try to sustain themselves. This benefits the people working for those organisations. Both organisations aim to win more resources and influence, which creates a continuous feedback loop which can only be sustained through exponential economic growth. In a similar way to politicians, their arguments for more resources are based on fear that if certain policies are not pursued the corporation will relocate to another country or the public service will no longer function. This is not anyone's fault, we created these systems and we could create new systems which would behave differently. In a finite world we cannot have exponential growth. So, is it all hopeless? Are we all doomed?
The answer is a resounding negative, NO! I am positively confident we can change things, starting with things in our own lives which are close to us. We can create our own systems which are smaller and take positive action which will provide positive feedback in our own day to day lives. These systems can involve friends and family and business acquaintances which we enjoy interacting with every day. These things can be independent of the bigger systems which are out of control. We don't need to wait for the next referendum or election to express how we feel with our fears. We can start now, today and express our feelings of love and focus our precious attention on doing things we love, and being with people we love. That is how our own positive actions can change the world. Why not start today?
Positive ActionPosted by Ann Algie Fri, February 19, 2016 12:45:16
Some days we don't feel so great - often for no particular reason that we can identify. Its easy to 'feel good' when you do
feel good, but more of a challenge when you don't! Sometimes we even begin to 'beat ourselves up' for not being more positive, capable, full of energy, clever etc .............. the list is as long as we care to make it! It's great isn't it? First we feel a bit low and then we tell ourselves a whole lot of negative things! No wonder life seems uphill at times!
Start listening to the voice in your head and make sure it is telling you some good stuff today! This is so important - you need to become your own 'best friend' and supporter and speaking in an encouraging and kind way is a great place to start.
You can also carry out positive actions - however small. These could even be actions that you reap the benefits of at some point in the future - so you begin to create happy days and feelings in advance! This is why planting seeds or making a garden is such a positive thing. Three years ago I scattered a few wild flower seeds in front of our house and every year since we have had flowers - especially poppies!
Positive ActionPosted by Tom algie Thu, January 28, 2016 09:10:30
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono is one of my favourite books. It's short and simple and yet full of gentle but powerful encouragement to everyone to be themselves and realise what they can achieve in life. Slowly and steadily one man planting a hundred acorns a day of which only 10% survive but this is still over 3500 trees a year. That's a fairly substantial wood and in a few years it's an entire forest. It's a beautiful story of one man's contribution to the world.
We all have 100 hours each week to spend and if we use 10 of them being inspiring or doing something that makes a positive difference it will have an impact. As a result of reading this book I now try and make at least 10 of my 100 hours each week count. There is a PDF here. I have a nice illustrated copy of the book which I love to have close by.http://www.nrri.umn.edu/boulder/education/K12/
The book was also made into a lovely short film which is equally accessible. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v_7yEPNUXsU
The unusual thing about this story is that many people including myself thought it was true. But in fact someone made it up, this life, created it from their own imagination and we can all do that, if we want to....