Feeling GoodPosted by Ann Algie Sun, February 17, 2019 08:24:33
Sometimes we don't feel so good and that is when the real challenge to put into action all our 'feel good' techniques comes along!
In the last 6 weeks I've had two episodes of minor illnesses, nothing unusual, just a heavy cold and a horrible stomach upset, the kind of things we all get from time to time. However, it had been a long time since I'd been ill and I'd forgotten how rotten you can feel and how inconvenient it is to have to cancel arrangements and miss out on doing things you were looking forward to!
I tried to 'accept the situation' and to 'relax' into it. Acceptance definitely helps, but it didn't come instantly! There was a fair bit of "Why now, Why me, its not fair!" going on in my head I can tell you! This was because the 'terrible cold' hit me during the precious week I was visiting my grandson who was only a few weeks old which meant that I saw him for less time than planned.
However these minor illness have their lessons I think. For those of us who are normally full of life it forces us to stop and to understand what it's like to feel ill or to have less energy. I found myself thinking about my 83 year old mum and admiring how she manages to do the things she does each day. I also appreciated Tom bringing me warm drinks and being there for me, and friends and family too with kind words and offers of help. So many people don't have these things. Finally it was just a cold! (That old chestnut perspective again playing it's part!)
So back to our 'feel good' techniques! We need to know how to love ourselves
in sickness as well as in health. (I think there's a wedding vow there!) We don't all have someone to look after us, and even if we do now, it may not always be the case. We need to know when to stop, when to rest and to learn the art of cherishing ourselves. Hot water bottles are a great aid to this and hot chocolate too! Small treats, forgiving ourselves, allowing ourselves to be less than perfect and even hibernating for a while are all healing things that we can do on our own and there are many, many more to discover I'm sure!
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.
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!