SOCIAL MEDIA

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Children meditating? Baby steps of practising gratitude


People say all the time that children are like sponges – they soak up whatever you give them – and it’s true.  Last Sunday morning we did a short meditation practice together: the focus was gratitude for everyday things in our lives.  It felt to me like an alternative to church, but it could be viewed entirely separately or in addition to any other prayers.

Whether you currently have a meditation practice or not, this is a fab thing to do together. I’m a real fidget, so find meditation easiest and most effective when lying in bed, morning or night.  But last Sunday morning, we did a short meditation together in the lounge.  We actually sat cross legged too!

We used a Louise Hay meditation – these are available in many formats including free on YouTube.  Her messages are universally brilliant.  She’s helped so many people overcome a lifetime’s anxiety with her soothing voice and simple, loving messages.

I shared “Louise Hay’s morning meditation” with my children.  It’s an amazing reminder to be grateful for our bodies (we breathe without thinking), and for all the furniture and appliances we rely on to make our lives comfortable.

My son was laughing his head off at first (and let’s be honest, meditation is kind of hilarious if you’re new to it) but soon he joined in and we all got to thinking how grateful we are for an abundance of things that we take for granted in our lives.  We all verbally out loud listed all the things we are grateful for: a warm clean bed, the kettle, the toaster, the TV, the car, the dining table, the sofa, the laptop, the piano and their devices of course!

There are too many to mention, but just by spending 20 minutes thinking of all the things we are grateful for in our every day lives, we realised there were A LOT of things!  We didn't quite make it to the end but 20 out of 24 minutes wasn't bad for a first effort.

It was a very enjoyable spending 20 minutes of active gratitude with the children, and I hope a mentally healthy thing to do for them too.  Looking forward to trying it again soon.

I’m curious to know - have you done meditation with children?  How did it go and has anyone got a regular practice going?  If so have you noticed any benefits for your children?
Monday, 21 May 2018

Eddie Lawler’s Musical Lunch hour: Tracking The Brontes



On 16th May 2018 an hour’s lunchtime was spent in the Edith Sitwell gallery, Woodend Creative Worksapce in Scarborough, listening to Eddie Lawler’s chosen snippets from his musical Tracking the Brontes.  The theme was a journey through their lives, and their connections with the railways.

Eddie did warn us from the start that he had a condition called “Rapitis” - there was a high chance of him breaking into rap.  I thought he was kidding but much to the audience’s delight, he wasn’t.

Eddie Lawler is an elderly but spritely gent with soothing piano music, rhythmic poetry and a soft enchanting voice.  He really had it all – acting, music, poetry, singing and yes, rapping.  He told us the story of the Brontes’ lives in between his music.  Bronte fans’ appetite for the retelling of the same story will never cease to amaze me, myself included, and Eddie told it sensitively.  His snippets of history complemented his music very well.

The whole thing was done with props including the pillar portrait painting done by his wife Olga, which she admitted was “rough” (see photo at top of page).  If this is her version of rough, I’d love to see her polished work as to my eyes it was infinitely more cute, charming and animated than Branwell’s own pillar portrait (so sorry, Branwell).  Eddie's acting out of Branwell, scrubbing himself out of the pillar portrait and consuming Bronte Liqueur, was excellent.

The couple has recently moved to Scarborough from Saltaire and I feel sure our town has inherited a very talented duo in the Lawlers.

Eddie’s musical work was both fun and poignant, taking the audience on a railway journey through the lives of the Bronte family, with a song for each member of the family (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne).

It was impossible to pick a favourite song as they were all unique and possessed their own flavour befitting each sibling, although I had an emotional wobble toward the end of Charlotte’s “window song”, dedicated to all the train and carriage windows she’d looked out of during her lifetime’s travels.

I would highly recommend hearing Eddie perform live if you get the chance!

Eddie will be appearing on Coast and County radio Tuesday 22nd May, chatting and singing on sometime soon after 8pm during Tim Moon's Folk evening.  His website is www.eddie-lawler.co.uk

Here's a small selection from each of the poetic songs written by Eddie for each of the Brontes:

An extract from Anne's song:
And in the evening’s clear horizon
Where future past and present meet
In the earth you’ll see the truth
If truth you love
And in that love, you’re at your peace.


An extract from Charlotte's song:
So sit with me by a window sun or snow
Touch the glass with your fingers and you’ll know
The thunder of a footstep crush your peace
The lightning of a smile redeem belief
But be careful, be aware
With any window that you open
A window can be broken
Like a heart….like a love….like a life….like our world

An extract from Branwell's song:
I could have been a paragon
A name to conjure with, to dote upon
A figure in the hall of fame
I could have been a household name

An extract from Emily's song:
I feel so at home here somehow
It’s as if I’d been shaped with the land
There’s mystery and wild magic around
Yet seems made by a familiar hand

Why I’m finally ready to read Rebecca Campbell’s Light Is The New Black



Rebecca has been on a spiritual quest all her life – and that’s as it should be.  I admire her for it.  Since her amazing soul calling was to awaken others to their divine life purpose and to help people step into their journey lightworkers, it was right that she should have been aware from an early age and sought out experiences that placed gave her an amazing grounding in spiritual matters.  She’s been around others with incredible spiritual abilities too and drawn them to her.

Her story is fabulous and is naturally empowering to others.

But through my own spiritual journey, I’ve been doing the opposite of Rebecca i.e. not seeking out experiences with others.  For some reason it was VITAL with me to not seek out other psychic and spiritual people and not to actively allow others to influence what was happening within me.
I needed my answer to come to me, only through me.

I wanted proof, over and over.  Real life physical proof.  I wanted evidence.  The academic in me wouldn’t let go.

I was an absolute pain to myself and yet when I finally get around to finishing writing my book (half way there folks) you’ll see why this was such an important feature for me.  I wanted to be able to show others that a spiritual awakening can happen in your regular everyday life.  You can solve your own issues and work out your own story.

I haven’t sat on a yoga mat for years and I’m a fidget bum when it comes to meditation.  I’m a regular woman leading a regular life with 2 kids and 2 jobs.

If I’d have read Light is the new Black any sooner, I’d have panicked that I wasn’t seeking enough spiritual experiences.  And now, I’m ready.  I got myself to the starting line.

Now let’s go on an adventure!  Perhaps you're ready to go on a spiritual adventure too?

Be the lighthouse



Friday, 18 May 2018

Why are we still in love with the Brontes? Because they wrote about relevant issues


Pillar Portrait of Anne, Emily & Charlotte, 1834, by Branwell Bronte.
It's on its way home from the National Portrait Gallery to the Parsonage 1 June 2018

It’s 200 years ago since the famous literary Bronte sisters were born.  During the years 1816 to 1820 the Bronte Society and Bronte fans worldwide are celebrating the lives of each of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, Patrick and Anne in turn.

The level of interest in the Brontes has always perplexed me, internally and externally.  I’ve wondered at my own obsession as well as others’, and I have to suppose there are as many reasons as there are individuals expressing them.

But one thing that interests me greatly is looking at what has changed in 200 years.  So much has moved on and we have much to be grateful for, and yet, so many of the topics of those great novels penned by the sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, still hold so much value today.  So many issues are still on the agenda right now.

Let’s take a brief look at the issues presented by the Bronte sisters that have persisted: -

1.    Why does the law, the family courts and to some extent, society turn a blind eye to marital abuse? (Tenant of Wildfell Hall)

2.    Why is emotional abuse overlooked when it is the underpinning form of abuse present in every other form of abuse and when it causes genuine deeply felt hurt? (Tenant of Wildfell Hall)

3.    Parent alienation is real and it causes horrific emotional and psychological damage to both the alienated parent and the child(ren) although there is very little the alienated parent can do about it (Tenant of Wildfell Hall).  In fact, although we’re on the side of Helen in Anne’s novel, she’d likely be imprisoned these days for running away with her child, leaving Arthur in his father’s care. Uh-oh.

4.    The consequences of poor parenting can unfairly fall on teachers’ shoulders to rectify, yet how is this fair?  How about valuing and respecting teachers? (Agnes Grey)

5.    Animal rights are very important. Children must be shown how to treat animals with respect (Agnes Grey)

6.    How we treat each other can be seen in how we treat animals and nature (everything by Anne and Emily)

7.    New technology and machinery is advancing at a terrifying pace and causes widespread panic about job losses (Shirley)

8.    Schools turn a blind eye to neglect and abuse because they are keener to safeguard their own reputation than safeguard the children in their care (Jane Eyre)

9.    How in our secular society, have we forgotten to tune into the beauty of our innate intuition, mysticism and eternal love that goes beyond the bounds of death?  How have we ignored the voices within in favour of the voices without? (Wuthering Heights)

There must be more to consider than this, but I wonder whether these are the reasons we keep returning to those novels that hold timeless truths.  If you’re a Bronte fan, what are your key reasons?  And are there any issues that stand out in your mind that have sprung forward from the Brontes’ novels to the societal agenda of now?



Thursday, 17 May 2018

Sunrise over the sea, Anne Bronte, 1839


Anne Bronte was a talented artist as well as a famous novelist and poet.  In 1839 she drew this charming picture entitled "Sunrise Over the Sea".  Upon first sight, it struck me as being a magical piece that foretold the future.

Image courtesy of the Bronte Society:
Anne Bronte’s Sunrise Over The Sea 1839

There are a number of remarkable things about this picture.  Anne drew this picture before she'd ever visited Scarborough: it was drawn in 1839 which was the year before she first visited Scarborough for her annual five-week summer holiday with the Robinson family, for whom she was a governess at Thorpe Green in York.

Isn’t it remarkable that Anne captured so many features that really can be seen in Scarborough, before she’d ever visited the place?

The view she drew is not dissimilar to ones that can be seen from many vantage points in the Old Town of Scarborough, the location in which Anne is buried.  The sun certainly does rise over the sea on the east coast, and frequently the brightness of the morning sun casts a beautiful gold and bright light over the sea until the entire sea appears to be bathed in the brightest light.

These are the most wonderful mornings, ones where I go against all the rules and take photos directly into the sun, but as yet I’ve found that nothing will capture the beauty of what the eye can see.  Anne has it down to a tee in her picture: even the cloud formations are spectacularly accurate for the location.

In Anne’s picture, there are cliffs to the right which are strikingly similar to the view of South Cliff, south of Scarborough, and out to Filey and Flamborough beyond that.

My favourite of all is the way in which the woman in Anne’s picture shields her eyes from the glare of the sun on the sea.  It’s *exactly* what you have to do around here when it’s a bright sunny morning!  Every time I open my door on a sunny day to peg out the washing or pop to the bin, neither of which I’m able to do without glancing at the sea, I motion to my eyes in exactly the same way as the woman in the picture.


In modern times, the built environment has overtaken what would have been here in Scarborough during the early to mid 19th century, so it’s doubtful that today you’d be able to stand on such a rocky place looking out to sea such as the one drawn by Anne, unless you were on the man-made sea defence boulders underneath the headland.  In the mid 19th century, however, the headland and much of North Cliff were simply natural rocky promontories, just as in Anne’s picture.  There were magnificent structures, but these were based up on the headland at the castle and North Marine Drive was not yet built.

There is one other place in Scarborough that looks rather like the place in Anne’s picture, which is up on the Esplanade on South Cliff.  Many of those buildings were not yet built in the 1840s when Anne visited (although some, like the Crown Spa Hotel, was built in 1845).

I have a habit of making the Esplanade part of the school run and we frequently stop to take pictures or just to take in the view.  Often the sea, sky and sunrise look just as it does in Anne’s picture right at the top of the cliff lift that goes down to the spa.

Sunrise over the sea, May 2018

I can't help noticing that the view above is exactly opposite a hotel, one that happens to be called the Weston Hotel (and of course now Bronte fans will be thinking of Edward Weston, the hero of Anne’s novel Agnes Grey.)

Weston Hotel, May 2018 

I suppose the questions that fleetingly pass my mind revolve around whether Anne was simply using her imagination to draw her picture or whether she’d seen a painting of Scarborough or another similar east coast town beforehand and based her pencil drawing on that?

Either way, it’s still remarkable that she drew this picture before ever visiting Scarborough.  I guess in modern times some would say Anne was using the law of attraction, either wittingly or unwittingly, to literally draw herself, in both senses of the word, toward the experience of living out the destiny of the woman in her picture.  Was this Anne’s vision of a perfect life, and thus drew herself towards Scarborough?  Was it even a foretelling to the location of her final moments of life?

Did Anne have a ‘knowing’, a vision about coming to the east coast, where the sun would rise over the sea?  I have heard it said that a physical move eastward can have religious and spiritual significance for the person involved.

Added to that is the popular notion that for energy-sensitive, empathic people, the draw to live near water is intense; as if the seas and ocean call to us in some way.  For those interested in astrology, my move to the seaside has coincided with Neptune, the ruler of the seas, transiting my 4th house (of home and family).

Symbolically, the direction east is related to salvation, spirit and to the light, because of the sun's position at sunrise.  And who would argue with the notion of Anne as a vessel for spirit, light and truth?

How fitting not only that her bicentenary year 2020 means “perfect vision”, but that she left this earthly plane at Pentecost, a day when the Holy Spirit descends upon believers?  Anne was a fine example of a great believer in God.

Not only did Anne love Scarborough but even in spirit form, she's helped me to appreciate a town I was previously desperate to leave.  Now that's impressive!

The radiant, dazzling beacons of light coming out of the sun and sea drawn by Anne all those years ago feels like a magical metaphor for the life that she led and the being of light that she embodied.

I had intended to finish my post by saying that it’s my belief that Anne’s spirit is free to roam where she chooses, whether that’s the moors, the sea or wherever she likes – but I rather suspect she’s on with her next mission now, wherever the clarion call beckons.

After writing this post, however, I had a walk to the seafront and stopped by the harbour to take a couple of photos.  I couldn’t help but notice two of the boats’ names: magic and sunrise.  Now that’s magic!




Thanks to Sarah Laycock at the Bronte Parsonage Library for allowing me to reproduce this image of Anne’s art on my blog.  

A little note on the The Bronte Society which I recently joined.  The Bronte Society does tireless work to support and maintain the treasures of the Bronte Society and countless works.  It’s only £25 per year to join the Bronte Society for the year – you get free entry to the Parsonage Museum for the whole year, magazines, news about events that are on and all sorts of access to online journals and articles that I’ve barely even started to explore. Well worth joining – or membership would make ideal as a gift for a literary lover.

Find out more about the Bronte Society (and join online!) here https://www.bronte.org.uk/about-us

Thursday, 10 May 2018

What The Lily Said



What The Lily Said 

The lily bent her head down low
And whispered in my ear
She spoke of wisdom old and true
That only I could hear

“In your youth your buds were shut
Your fair skin pure as snow
Your insides knew not what would come
How life would treat you so

As your petals opened up
Life’s cold harsh winds blew through
Though it was hard, your stem was strong
And held you as you grew

Cruel irony, the hardest times
Were when your beauty shined most bright
Tensed restraint of all you were
Held back your purest light

Let my potent scent be your strong voice
Be not afraid of pride
Reveal now what you came here for
Now’s not the time to hide

Bask in the glow of your midlife
Petals blooming and unfurled
Let love and beauty be your guides
Take your place now in the world

And though my lifespan here on earth
Be sadly short, it’s true
The thing you mostly need to hear is
That the same is true for you!

So tarry not my fair skinned friend
Let your truth be given birth
One day like me you’ll stoop and bend
Returning to the earth”


Written following a "flower meditation" on a webinar hosted by Rebecca Campbell, 9th May 2018.
Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Forgiveness Heals: How to Forgive after Rape


This post is dedicated to all those people who took their own lives because the horror and trauma of living with sexual violence was too much to bear.  I understand why.  And to all those brave souls still living with the painful memories, whatever stage of recovery, I see you and I stand with you.

To all survivors, I hope you can find the strength to forgive YOURSELF.  Know that there is no timescale attached to any of this.  We all do what we need to do in our own time.



Here’s what I forgive:

Self-blame 


I forgive myself for hating myself, for blaming myself, for questioning myself and for feeling ashamed

I forgive myself for seeking his approval as a means of making him stop

I forgive myself for trying to talk to him to rationalise and resolve it, and for piling more blame on myself when that didn’t work.  And for ever thinking that his ability to commit rape could be swayed by my communication skills.

I forgive myself for all the energy I wasted trying to cope with this alone

I forgive myself for all the times I thought this was a “relationship issue” and therefore I was half to blame

I forgive myself for struggling to understand that his behaviour was psychopathic and not caused by me and for not realising sooner I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time

I forgive myself for believing I had the power to make him stop.  Sometimes, terrible things are out of our control.  Rape is one of them.

I forgive myself for calling him and thinking that we could RESOLVE it and that rape was ever salvageable

I forgive myself for thinking that perhaps I “should have known in advance how it would turn out” or that others would think that.

I forgive my younger self for thinking that I somehow caused my own depression through weakness.  Being raped continually over a period of 6 months by my senior manager led to my depression.

Physical Effects 

I forgive myself the panic attacks, the memory loss, and sporadic inability to think or speak

I forgive myself for barely remembering a single thing about how I lurched from day to day

I forgive myself for crying upwards of 6 times a day, for covering up my crying and shame and for secretly drinking at home

I forgive myself for not being able to tell the doctor that there may be a connected reason why I had IBS, stress, anxiety attacks and women’s health issues.  For all these years.

I forgive myself for never mentioning to the chiropractor why I have such a bad back.  For never mentioning those times he threw me violently to the floor in anger when my out of body trance made
me look like I was coping.

I forgive myself for believing that I should get better quickly and for wondering why I couldn’t just snap out of it or get over it (those well-known techniques for solving nothing)

Trying to make him stop

I forgive myself for not being physically strong enough to fight back and make him stop.  Punching him hard in the face only made him more violent

I forgive myself for hating people who say that women ask to be raped by the clothes they wear.  The first time, I was wearing sweaty pyjamas running a high fever with the flu.  Whatever it is that causes someone to commit rape, it’s NOT CLOTHES YOU MORONS

I forgive myself for attempting to put myself in a self-induced out of body experience to try and cope

I forgive myself for crying hysterically, sobbing for him to stop, pleading with him to stop and for it not working

I forgive myself for failing to stop him, regardless of what I tried

Emotional Effects

I forgive myself for keeping quiet for so long

I forgive myself or not telling family and friends. I hope they understand it wasn’t a great conversation opener.

I forgive myself for not wanting to hurt others’ feelings by telling them that I’d been raped because it would upset and worry them.  I forgive myself for not valuing myself more than that and not being
able to trust others.

I forgive myself for turning down numerous social occasions and lying to friends to make up excuses, when it was too painful to keep up the pretence.

Depression and suicide

I forgive myself for not realising I might need some support to get over this.  For the years I never felt worth supporting

I forgive myself for wondering why repression and suppression of my own voice didn’t banish my thoughts of self-loathing

I forgive myself for having the emotion of self-loathing. I now realise there is nothing loathsome about me.

I forgive myself or coming off the antidepressants after 6 months because I thought I should be “cured” and back to normal by then

I forgive myself for repeatedly rocking on the floor imagining my own funeral with no one at it

I forgive myself for the black cloud that haunted me and loomed over my head for 2 years and that would periodically return

I forgive myself for attempting to take my own life, and thank God for the miraculous timing that averted my sudden plan

I forgive myself for feeling so low that I thought no one would care if I did take my own life

I forgive myself for considering, however fleetingly, that the pain might stop if I suddenly step off the pavement and under a bus.  Thirteen years after.

I forgive myself the PTSD symptoms despite not being severe enough to be diagnosed

Police

I forgive myself for being too scared to tell the police sooner, too scared of not being believed on top of the effects of rape 

I forgive myself for not knowing the ‘best way’ to talk to police about rape

I forgive myself for crying hysterically when the policewoman told me there was more chance of me ending up in a body bag than him getting a criminal conviction.  That is never an okay thing to say to a victim of rape

I forgive myself for my renewed blame, guilt and shame I was made to feel by the policewoman for ever having accepted his phone calls, for ever allowing him into my house.  I WAS TERRIFIED OF HIM AND MENTALLY ILL.  You tell me where’s the blueprint for how you should behave?

I forgive myself for blaming myself for the police not taking action and worrying that I was causing his potential rape of other women.  That was their ineptitude, not mine

I forgive myself for the anger I have felt towards those who cannot, will not or do not understand a thing about what rape entails

I forgive myself for being wound up to distraction shouting back at the radio presenter when the Jimmy Savile allegations came out.  “But he did so much for charity”.  Just fuck off.

I forgive myself for being triggered every time a new allegation emerges, and the media have no idea what they are doing to victims all over again

Career

I forgive my former self, the girl who stood there trembling at the presentation meeting that I’d tried so hard to prepare for, not knowing what was coming out of my mouth.  I didn’t know which world I belonged in anymore.  The thing I absolutely didn’t say was that he raped me last night, not only that, he found me in another city, fell on me drunk smelling of another woman, raped me, threw up on me and passed out.  Sleeping next to my unconscious rapist in a bed of sick was a low point of my life, I have to say.

I forgive myself for the utter terror I felt when he staged the whole “police drama”, playing the part of everyone, foretelling the conversations that would ensue and how he’d be sure to wriggle his way out of it: how he’d silence me by saying I had a crush on him and that I was fantasising about a rape that never happened.  I forgive myself for hating him for this.

I forgive myself for worrying that my employment chances in future would be scuppered forever if I told anyone

I forgive myself for knowing that my ability to tell the truth was shakier and more confused than his solid ability to lie

I forgive myself for thinking that everyone else who worked at that very well-known company must have done something better than me or more than me, to have avoided being raped

I forgive myself for thinking that I somehow wrecked my own career when it had barely begun

I forgive myself for taking jobs that were well beneath me because my memory was so badly screwed up that I thought all I could cope with were menial tasks

I forgive myself for being too terrified to tell anyone even when some people (like the very good HR Manager) correctly suspected that something was seriously wrong

I forgive myself for losing my sense of humour and replacing it with bitterness

I forgive myself for thinking that doing an easier job would solve the aching black heart I carried around with me

I forgive myself for worrying and freaking out when I see people in suits at networking events because I know what a corporate lifestyle did to me

I forgive myself for wishing I could turn the clock back and do something good, worthwhile and impressive with my life

I forgive myself for feeling envious that others don’t have careers that involve them being raped on the job

I forgive myself for the times I’ve cried over what I might have been in my career, for the trajectory I might have gone on

I forgive myself for asking why me? why me? Repeatedly when that question doesn’t need to be asked, let alone answered

I forgive myself for being stalked by a pathological lying psychopath and for responding to that by repeatedly moving house and job to escape from him, not understanding why he would keep turning up, unaware until 13 years later that he had access to all my personal details through his job

I forgive myself for feeling like I was going to pass out with blind terror when he would call up on my work extension wherever my new job happened to be and how this could keep on wrecking my chances

Behaviour

I forgive the exhausted girl I used to be, the black shadow of a half-life that I became.  That was a normal human response to having the light from my soul stolen by someone else.

I forgive the hard exterior I attempted to create around myself to protect and retreat even further away from the harsh realities of life

I forgive myself for all the times I was angry at people for being happy, because ‘happy’ was only something I pretended to be

I forgive myself for walking round feeling ripped up and eaten by the most savage of dementors, with my soul in a place far worse than limbo or hell could ever be

I forgive myself for ever believing that hell was something that happened after you died and not realising the truth sooner: that hell is a place we put each other in with this kind of behaviour

I forgive myself for being terrified of living

I forgive myself for being envious of those who do not know what rape is like

I forgive my younger self for thinking that tragedy could be averted in life by being essentially good and trying to do the right thing

I forgive myself for wishing so hard that it could all go away, and I’d wake up with a different life story and replace those feelings in my soul with anything rather than that black gnawing emptiness

I forgive myself for putting myself under so much pressure thinking that I could make a difference to others.  I don’t have to.  I only have to make a difference to myself, for genuine long-term recovery, by working to reverse the patterns of thought that have plagued me for so long

Relationships

I forgive my relationship choices during adulthood. I did my best with what I had at the time, which was often very little.

I forgive myself for not being able to trust myself, let alone anyone else

I forgive my desire to run away from closeness, my incapacity for explaining myself emotionally for a long time and for not knowing how to identify nor accept real love when it was given

I forgive myself for thinking that it matters what other people think, for imagining that others will judge me or that if they do, that their judgement is relevant when compared with my own peace of mind

I forgive myself for pinning my self-concept on the views of others when the world is full of people just as screwed up, vulnerable and clueless as each other

And lastly, 

I forgive myself for not forgiving him.

If forgiveness means letting go, then it’s already done.  If forgiveness means that what he did was okay, that will never happen.  If forgiveness starts to border into the pardoning of sins, then I’m afraid that’s way out of my remit.  You see the problem with the word?  Forgiveness is most important when applied to the self.  I figure all we can do is focus on self-love and self-care.  Perhaps if rapists were able to focus on true self-love and self-care also, we'd have a better chance of working towards a world where rape didn't happen.  Please don't ever feel sorry for me.  The time has gone when I needed to be understood.  Just learn and educate.  That's all we can do to help victims be understood so they have a chance of healing.
Sunday, 29 April 2018

Bronte Hashtags and Bronte Book Club 2018

Are you on Instagram and wanting to connect with fellow Bronteites, Bronte fans and readers of classics?

Then might I recommend you look out for, search for and use the following hashtags (you can try using them on Twitter as well but generally they’ll point you back to Twitter):

·        Try searching #brontebookclub2018 where people comment on the Bronte books they’re reading – a different one each month. It's a good way to see others’ perspectives on your fave books if, like me, you know very few people in real life who read Bronte books.

from @whatsallyreadnext - a fab account to follow

·        Please note you don’t *have to* read all the books, you can just interject with your own random comments or look at the pretty pictures.

·       Speaking of pretty pictures, #bookphotographer is full of beautiful pictures of books.  Granted, it’s questionable whether the purpose is to gaze longingly at lovely-looking books or whether to absorb their contents, but still, there’s a lot of book porn to go at under this hashtag.  Intention is the precursor to action, right?

      I do sometimes read by candlelight but fairy lights by a pool is a new one on me. Add it to the bucket list and get me checked in for another eye test.

Credit @lu.fan.cy
·       I was cheered to see that #UnreadShelfProject2018 is a thing.  My shelf is too big to start tagging under this one, plus I’d feel under obligation to actually go ahead and actually read them and that would never do: students would not got taught, children would not get fed, self would not get washed, etc.  Books come into your life at the right time, don’t they?  You don’t just plan them and sit down and read them, surely?

      So, I guess this hashtag is for people who like looking at pictures of books that other people haven’t read yet.  Yeah, read that sentence back and let it sink in.

#UnreadShelfProject2018 from
@bundleofbooksblog

·       There are many pretty looking books with cakes, buns and cups of tea and coffee.  At the risk of sounding like an old person, it’s hard to know whether it’s more a project in capturing cuppas or in reading but still, it’s a sweet thing to get your fill of, pun intended.  How people take such amazing photos is anyone’s guess.

      [Aside] *Whispers* pro tip for reading: it doesn’t really matter on the position of your cuppa, candles, flowers, the state of the spine of your book or whether the house is a mess. Your day might be better with cake, but I'd suggest "just open the book and read" 😊


credit @bookaholic_traveller
Oh, I'd be a cakeaholic given the chance.

Bronte hashtags to try if you’re wanting to connect with Bronteites on Instagram:

The most obvious to start with is the author #charlottebronte #emilybronte #annebronte

Credit @books.cooks.looks
Add bedding envy to the list

Then there's the books themselves #thetenantofwildfellhall #agnesgrey #wutheringheights #janeeyre 
#shirley #villette #theprofessor #glasstown #gondal #sorryabouttheordercharlotte 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
avec pretty kitty @proseandpaws

If you want to go hashtag crazy and connect big time then try out the following, both in your search to find those to follow and on your own posts. You never know who you might connect with but chances are they'll be like-minded:

#brontebookclub2018
#bronte200
#readwomen2018
#readalong
#theunreadshelfproject2018
#classics
#brontepoems
#brontepoetry
#bonnetsatdawn (these amusing enthusiastic ladies do a fabulous podcast, check them out!)
#bookstagram 
#book 
#books
#bookish
#bookalicious (if you've not used instagram before you'll think this is overkill but stay with me)
#bookaholic 
#bookworm 
#instabooks 
#bookphoto
#bookphotographer 
#bookphotography 

Seriously, if you need any more, you'll find them under one of the above.  Happy searching!  I hope this is in some way useful if you've not used Instagram before or you're not currently using it to connect with reading buddies.

Last but not least I'd like to leave you with a picture I stumbled upon when searching the hashtags above which I thought was rather beautiful:


Credit @johnedwardsart on Instagram


Monday, 23 April 2018

Why anger shouldn’t be repressed when you’re healing or overcoming abuse



A fabulous book was recommended to me by my friend Lesley: it’s called "Ask and it is given by Abraham Hicks".  I found the whole book very healing, but in particular toward the end is a section that categorises feeling states into 22 different emotions.

I was drawn to this list as 22 is the same number as my life path!  I find this emotional guidance scale brilliant even if individually we’d probably argue with a few of the emotions, placing them higher or lower according to our own knowledge of ourselves.  But that’s nothing to get hung up on.

I listened to the audio version of this book, however, if you have a printed edition the following emotional guidance scale appears on page 114.  This is another good sign for me as I see 11-4 a lot (it happens to be my birthday, 11th April).  Stay with me: this particular post isn’t about numerology but it’s nice to know that signs can be found in numbers everywhere 😊

First of all, just take a look through the scale below so you have familiarity and a reference point for what I’m going to say next:

The Emotional Guidance Scale (ref. Abraham Hicks)

1.
Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2.
Passion
3.
Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4.
Positive Expectation/Belief
5.
Optimism
6.
Hopefulness
7.
Contentment
8.
Boredom
9.
Pessimism
10.
Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11.
Overwhelment
12.
Disappointment
13.
Doubt
14.
Worry
15.
Blame
16.
Discouragement
17.
Anger
18.
Revenge
19.
Hatred/Rage
20.
Jealousy
21.
Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22.
Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

I don’t know about you, but I’d never thought about feelings in categories or on a scale before seeing this, rather more of a mish mash merry-go-round or at least that’s how emotions often appear to me.
Check out the fine line between contentment and boredom at numbers 7 and 8, or how closely revenge, hatred and jealousy sit.  Interesting, isn’t it?

Some of these emotions may not be on your radar, and some you may know inside out.  Take overwhelment at number 11 – this emotion fits like a glove for me.  Sadly, I can resonate strongly with 21 and 22 and yet I don’t recall feelings of jealousy.  Perhaps I slide from anger down to depression quickly.

Taking a look through the list and seeing which emotions you’re able to own and which you can’t is an interesting feat in itself.

I realised the 22 emotional states were incredibly helpful for those going through the healing process when abuse has been present in their lives.

ANGER

I’d like to draw your attention to the emotion of Anger, in on the list at number 17.

Let’s say you are moving out of depression.  Let’s say for the sake of argument you get all the way up to 17, Anger.  Good for you!  This is productive compared with where you were.

However, the people around you will probably find you easier to deal with when you’re depressed rather than angry.  You may be quieter and more despondent (which affects them less) but when your anger emerges, you may be louder and say things that are uncomfortable for others to hear.  You may express yourself in more flamboyant ways.

They try and push your anger down.  But only because it’s uncomfortable for them to deal with.
Sadly, this makes your recovery about them, and what they can deal with, not about you.
And your recovery needs to be absolutely about YOU!

Seeing selfishness as a negative trait won’t help you here and neither will being told you are wrong.  Selfishness is essential while you move up the ladder, otherwise how are you going to beam up to the top?  When viewing the scale, you realise you have to go through anger to be able to access some of the other more positive emotions, even though some of the ‘higher’ emotions are still quite ‘low’ in nature.

You must go through it!  This is no race, it’s life.

Ideally, we’d all have support when going through the process of overcoming trauma, however, in my experience people are notoriously poor at supporting each other.  We are sent subtle signals from others of what it’s okay to say and what we must bottle up.

I find it useful to remember that when other people try and repress your anger, they are merely saying that they haven’t a clue how to deal with anger as an emotion – either your anger, or possibly their own.

Maybe their own anger has been repressed by others since childhood or maybe we just live in a society where anger is seen as ‘bad’ and therefore we’ve collectively learnt to shut it up and shut it away.

Repression of anger can never be helpful when the impact is to send you further down the scale.

What can you do with anger?

I’m no guru; nor am I here to tell you how to behave or how to deal with your own difficult emotions as you navigate your way out of overcoming trauma, however, I can share my experience for what it’s worth.

Counselling taught me a lot, but mainly it taught me to acknowledge my own emotions.  To go through them, sit with them, pay attention to them and to know them.  When you know your own emotions, you know yourself.  There is great comfort in that.

When you’re able to acknowledge your own emotions, you can also view them objectively and begin to release them.

For me it helps to write about my emotions as it gets it out of my head, even if the recipient is none other than a Word document.  For others it may help to talk or vlog.  You don’t have to hit publish.  I went through a phase of recording myself crying on camera (not pretty, not fun, but real).  I promised myself that when I healed, which I knew I would, I wouldn’t do my former self the injustice of forgetting how bad things used to be, as a measure of my future growth.

Know thyself

Abuse is cyclical.  Knowing yourself through ALL the phases of the cycle is something to be valued.
Acknowledging and being aware of our own emotions is the first step in being healthy.  Seeing our emotions without judgement and being able to release them and move up the scale is the goal, regardless of the time taken to get there.

We don’t suddenly live at number 1, and sometimes those lower vibrational states will return.  It’s just the pattern of life that we go through as human beings.

But if we know that 1-7 exist, we can aim to spend more of our lives in those higher emotional states of vibration.  We can observe whereabouts we are with ourselves at any point.

So what if you’re angry?  Go punch a cushion, hit the squash courts or write it out why you’re angry (chances are there’s a bloody good reason!)  But don’t allow others to push you back down to depression, because that’s not where you belong.

When we repress emotions, bottle them up and pretend they don’t exist, all that happens is that we are held there, harbouring those lower emotions, not owning them and not owning up to them.  To reverse the patterns (that is, to heal), is to look at our emotions head on, owning them and learning how to move upward.

Wherever you feel you are on the scale, I hope that you find something useful here in understanding yourself and wherever you are with your journey right now that brought you to this page, I wish you the very best with the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one with yourself.