The One CoursePosted by Ann Algie Wed, April 26, 2017 22:04:52
Recently Tom dropped me off at Toulouse Airport in plenty of time to catch a 5pm flight to Manchester. I was then due to travel to Huddersfield to spend a precious night with my youngest son who was going to meet me at the station. We had booked to go out for a meal together and I was very much looking forward to seeing him. However my flight was delayed by four and a half hours, meaning that I would I arrive in Huddersfield after midnight, miss the meal and have very little time to see him before he left for Belgium early next morning. I realised at 3pm that our plans were going to be cancelled and that I had more than 6 hours to spend in the airport. I had also forgotten to bring my mobile phone!
I relate the story of this situation because it is the sort of thing that happens to us all from time to time to varying degrees. We are having a 'happy day' and everything is ticking along nicely and then something 'goes wrong'. It doesn't matter how much planning we do, how careful we are, who we are or how much money we have; there will always be times when life throws stuff at us. However; we then have a choice. The choice we have is how we respond
to the situation. It is really important that we acknowledge that whatever challenges and situations life throws at us we always have a choice in how we respond
It may not be easy, but the choice is there.
These moments can be very testing, but if we recognise them as they occur, then we can learn to take a deep breath and create a space in which to decide how to be, knowing that the opportunity exists to respond in a way that can be beneficial to us and often to those around us too.
So, to finish my story .............. Once I realised the situation I decided to accept it calmly and to do the best I could with the time. (Of course I did!) I went to the very helpful lady on the information desk who let me use a telephone to ring my son. He cancelled the table and said he would be able to collect me from the station at quarter past midnight. I collected my free drink and sandwich which I was given due to the delay. I then found a desk that had facilities for plugging my computer in so that I could use the time to do some writing. This was something I had been wanting to do for a while. During the next six hours I enjoyed my snack, did my writing, read my book and tried not to focus on the disappointment of the change to my plans. As it happened I managed to spend a night with my son at the end of my visit after he had returned from his trip. So we eventually went out for our meal!
My alternative scenario would have been to not accept the situation, get very upset, and then annoyed, probably with various members of the airport staff. Spend time moaning to other passengers about how bad everything is and generally work myself up, (or down), into a state of misery and 'poor me'. This would not have changed the situation and certainly I would have felt worse and those around me probably would too!
I realise that all this is easier to say than do - but the more aware we are that we have choices in how we respond to life the more happiness we will experience.
An amazing example of this attitude can be found in the work of Victor Frankl who spent 3 years of his life in a concentration camp. He is a real inspiration.
Feeling GoodPosted by Ann Algie Sun, March 19, 2017 20:42:38
Scientists have estimated that each of us has in excess of 100 trillion bacteria and microbes living in our body. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. They are necessary for our health and for our survival and we are necessary for theirs.
When I was at school I was taught that 'my body' was just that - 'mine'. There was just me and then the rest of the world. Research now is showing us a very different world and this is having a huge impact on how we view it. Our bodies, far from being one separate being are actually made up of millions and trillions of living beings - more of a walking community! All these microbes have important roles to play in keeping our bodies functioning properly.
It is particularly important to have a healthy population of 'good' bacteria in our gut as it is in the gut that most of the nutrients are extracted from our food. Even though we eat what we think is a healthy diet; if we aren't able to absorb the nutrients from the food then we will not be as healthy as we could be. One way to improve the health and functioning of your gut is to eat 'live' fermented food.
A friend recently lent me a book about fermenting. She thought it might be useful as a means of preserving fresh food as we don't have a fridge or freezer. I found it very interesting and last week made my first batch of sauerkraut which tasted fantastic!
Sauerkraut is really easy to make by rubbing salt into the chopped cabbage leaves - this breaks down the cell walls and within a short amount of time water is drawn out of the cabbage. The cabbage is then packed tightly into a jar, covered with one of the outer cabbage leaves to stop air coming into contact with it and weighted down to keep the cabbage in place under the salt-water solution. The jar is covered with a cloth and placed out of direct sunlight for anything from 4 - 10 days to ferment. Keep testing it until you get the flavour you prefer. Many different vegetables can be fermented and the best thing is that they are really good for you! They retain all their nutrients and become easier to digest too.
It is not necessary to sterilise the jars, just ensure they are clean.
Why not have a go at making your own fermented vegetables?
The One CoursePosted by Ann Algie Sat, June 04, 2016 06:49:38
See www.theonecourse.org for further information and to register your interest in attending.
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'!
Learning from naturePosted by Ann Algie Fri, April 29, 2016 17:22:51
Here is our hen, recently named 'Zen' after almost a year of being called 'Hen'. I have just spent the entire morning with her as she helped me to 'dig' and 'weed' the garden. She is the last survivor of a long line of hens bred by our elderly neighbour who died 2 years ago. We thought she would be lonely so this spring we got three new hens to keep her company but she still seems to prefer to spend time around humans. I suppose moving three 'teenage' hens in to share her home was a bit cruel!
We can always learn things from spending time around nature and hens are no exception. They can apparently recognise more than 100 faces. Each hen has its own unique personality and they have 30 different sounds that they use to communicate with each other. They are of course very much 'in the present moment' as animals tend to be - not having our ability to think about events in the past and worry about what might happen in the future! As I write this she is lying in a hollow in the warm soil that she has carefully crafted - where I have just planted some potatoes. I think she is probably sitting on one - probably she thinks its an egg!
Maybe today's 'Zen hen lesson' is to sit in the sun while its shining - especially when you've been busy scratching about all morning! Nature always has times of rest and everything still seems to get done!
InspirationalPosted by Ann Algie Wed, March 09, 2016 08:15:50Can a traffic bollard inspire you? What does inspire you?
On The One Course we spend time looking at what or who inspires us and how we can use this to enable us to enjoy life more fully, feel more supported and also to grow and develop further by experimenting and creating more in our own lives. (We will come to the inspirational traffic bollard later!)
Inspiration can come from all sorts of places and can affect us on many different levels. Sometimes we hear a fantastic speech, watch a film or read a book and feel utterly 'blown away' by what we have heard or read. This can even cause us to change an aspect of our lives from that moment on! In many cases though the happiness we feel from coming across something that is 'slightly out of the ordinary', surprising or fun can be equally beneficial to our lives. Becoming more aware and open to these smaller 'events' that occur on a day to day basis can increase our overall enjoyment of life and inspire us to create similar 'surprises' and inspiration for others.
Here are a few pictures to illustrate what I mean by the smaller events in life.
A stone mermaid Tom and I came across on the beach at Saltburn, UK.
Some of the knitted characters on the pier at Saltburn (no-one knows who the 'knitters' are - though I expect someone must know!)
Ahhh now we meet one of the many inspirational traffic bollards
to be found at Winchester, UK and probably in other places too!
A beautiful clover flower in our garden in France.
The gate to my vegetable garden (the frame of the gate forms an 'A' for Ann - bizarre - but may inspire some of you to create gates with letters on - some letters are easier than others!) and finally some cheese 'straws' shaped like hearts.
All small things on one level but all have the ability to bring about joy or to inspire someone else to do something different. Things don't have to always be the same - we can create surprise and variety in life. How much is only limited by our imagination!
So inspiration can sometimes be HUGE in terms of people doing amazing things, but it an also be small and almost hidden. I would like to advocate that the small inspirations in life can add up to have a big impact overall if we begin to see them. We are all capable of being inspiring in one way or another! Go inspire!
Learning from naturePosted by Ann Algie Sat, February 27, 2016 16:06:32
I love eating mushrooms and living here in France we don't have to go far to find some lovely specimens! We are careful which ones we eat and stick to the 3 or 4 varieties that we feel 100% confident of identifying. Our elderly neighbours are very knowledgeable and taught us the best places to look and which ones to avoid eating.
There is still a great deal to be discovered about mushrooms and what they are capable of. Recently it has been found that the spores released by mushrooms cause rain to fall. In this way mushrooms are helping to promote their own survival by creating the ideal conditions for their growth. Amazing!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu9UmHbmFfk
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!