Someone shared in a meeting yesterday how when he first started working with people with complex needs and chaotic lifestyles that another worker told him “You will plant many seeds but may never see them sprout or blossom”
We all aspire to arrive at a destination that illusive place where we feel content in our own skin, content with life, a place where we have been able to leave the past in the past and know that It can no longer haunt us anymore, because we have finally arrived, we are content in our own skin.
We want to help others who we may see struggling on their own journey and want to help, but we have to always remember that everyones journey is different.
Many will take some detours along the way and may stay in a particular destination for a while, before they decide that they are ready to continue their journey, that journey we call life.
On our journey we all collect some luggage, mementos, life memories along the way – some are light others are heavy.
Some baggage is too precious to let go of and they may carry it for their lifetime, whilst in pursuit of their final destination.
Some baggage contains memories, of anger and hurt they are often the heaviest burdens to carry and will carry it around with them for years whilst in pursuit of their destination.
There are those who’s baggage has become too much to bear, so much so it has stalled them on their journey or lost their way.
Then there are those who realise that they can let it go off some of their baggage, as it no longer serves or represents them to ease the rest of their journey.
The key is to remembering that everyones journey is different and unique to them, the baggage they carry is theirs and only they alone can choose to discard what no longer serves them.
We can help people on their journey, we can help guide people, but we cannot force them in any direction, we can encourage people to discard some of their baggage, but we cannot force them we can offer directions but they decide their route, but we can plant seeds.
And when you see some of those seeds blossom that’s what’s makes what we do all worthwhile.
So if you are having a bad day and feel like you aren’t making a difference, remember all the seeds you planted and the ones who blossomed
Its been a tough week but it’s nearly over, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to the following people you helped remind me that even if I am having a bad day, feeling low, uninspired that if I took my head out of my arse and looked around there is always someone out there inspiring others, the best part is they don’t even realise it
Andy, the Big Issue Seller – Emj Morris, the recovery poet- Hayley, the mother who is overwhelmed – Dorothy, the Domestic Abuse Survivor/worrior
Don’t be fooled by what you see
When your heads up ya arse
And you don’t know why?
When you are feeling low
Not sure where to go
When your stomach keeps churning
And you heart is yearning
Just wanna to hide, from those feelings inside
Hide from memories that haunt me, taunt me, stalk me in my sleep
The same memories that make me feel weak
No-one can see it, only me
Its hard to explain
Its like I’m going insane
All I wanna do is stay indoors and hide
Hide from the feelings that churn my insides
Its ok, I’m having a bad day
And I reason with myself “thats ok”
Life goes on and I walk through my front door
Head into work, to see what lays store
I take a risk, I go out doors
I get on with my day
Hoping the thoughts and feelings will eventually go away
I randomly bump into friends
Friendly faces from the past
We smile, we chat we got some catching up to do
Little do they know how they helped pull me through
There has been two women in particular who I have come across over the past couple of weeks, who have laid heavily on my mind of late – can’t you can tell? I am writing about them. There is one who sits outside shops, begging for money and the other one, more recent was someone who came to us just this week seeking support.
I have sat myself down beside both women and we have sat and talked about our shared experiences, laughed about life, reflected on how shit life is and can be. Both women are sleeping rough, both have children that are no longer in their care, both have the most amazing eyes and if they washed more, took better care of themselves, if they loved themselves a little, gained some weight have the potential to be role models to other women.
When I walk away from both I am saddened, because what I see is two amazing women, women with the potential to change themselves, to change their lived experience, I see women who have the potential to inspire others, but what they see is something very different are broken, they are lost, their lives are like cyclones, like inwardly spiralling winds, collecting debris on their path of self-destruction, rotating around life, with no respite, but when the wind settles and they see some of the destruction from their paths, the view can hard to accept. It’s even harder knowing that both women have been offered opportunities that could help them, help themselves but yet refuse or are not in a position to take a risk.
I heard yesterday that one of the women who had accepted help and allowed staff to put a package of care in place, a place to stay, a bus pass so she could make her appointments, sorted out her benefits and ID didn’t turn up to the accommodation that evening! I am reminded that we are trying to help people to help themselves. If they are not ready for change, then you cannot force it, that lady suffered a panic attack during her assessment, was it too much too soon perhaps? Were staff too enthusiastic, overwhelming her?
I often wonder “do we expect too much?” The reality is life can be shit, #Shithappens but then I am reminded of all the success stories out there, where individuals have overcome some proper major shit in their lives, whose lives had at one time spiralled out of control, but who have been able to rein the shit in, clean up some of the debris and take back some control.
Part of the recovery journey is about going back to face some of the destruction and cleaning up, fixing what damage they can, they both acknowledged that they had fucked up, made some bad life choices, but until THEY are ready there isn’t much else that we as a society can do! There will always be people who are simply not ready for change, wether that is out of fear, mistrust, mistrust in agencies, in themselves, christ I have been working on trusting myself for years and still am, so how must it be for them?
I learned many years ago that there was only me who could fix myself, I learned that I couldn’t fix dad’s addiction and am coming to terms that as a society that we cannot fix everyone.
People have lost their confidence in being able to think for themselves, after years of interruption, or being told what to think, believe and how to feel, people have lost the subtle art of thinking for themselves, i know this because i lost the art of thinking for myself years ago.
We are constantly bombarded with subtle messages via the media telling us how we should be thinking, should be wearing, what we should be doing, how to act what we need to purchase to fit in.
When you really think about it, how much of your own thinking do you actually take any notice of?
Think of a time you had an issue, you have thought about it a lot in private, you have come to a decision in your head, you feel comfortable, you think you have come to the best decision for you. You then share your thoughts or run your thinking with another person, but they have a different viewpoint based on what “they think you should do” you start to reasons with their thinking and compromise your own and before you know it you are heading down a path you didn’t really want to go down?
If more people started thinking for themselves and stopped seeking approval from other’s and took more risk’s based on their own thinking, can you imagine no longer needing to seek the other persons approval about what you are thinking or feeling. You have the self confidence to trust your own thoughts?
You can seek advice and be offered some potential solutions but ultimately the final decision has to be yours and one you feel comfortable making.
Now I am not saying that you discount the other persons thinking, it may well be that they have considered something that you hadn’t taken into account and if that’s the case, then go back and #haveanotherwordwitheesen and do some more thinking.
Before you seek out the opinions of others, try to work out who in your circle really supports your own thinking oppose to those who are more likely to do your thinking for you.
So for example in my case, I have a small select group of friends who I feel I can share my thoughts and think without fear, they may well offer advice but ultimately they will respect and support any decision I make and support whatever the outcome, positive or negative!
I then have other friend’s or should I say associates who will listen, offer advice (based on their thinking), if I ignore their advice and the outcome goes pear shaped they are the ones who would be more likely to say “I told you so” or “you should have listened to me!” don’t those people fucking annoy you?
The point is, its not about whos right or wrong, we are all going to make bad decisons in our lives and have to face the consequences, but at least they are our own, we have to be willing to take a risk and start listening to ourselves instead of allowing others to do our thinking for us. Now I am not saying that this is easy, after all, we have all been programmed over the years to allow others to do our thinking for us, so undoing it, will take time, and it will take practice.
But I truly believe that taking a step back, allowing yourself time to think and reflect, and learning to trust your own thinking is so important, after all everything we do starts with our thinking, if our thinking is good our decisions are good, if our decision are good then out actions are good, if our actions are good them our outcomes are good.
Reet thats enough thinking and reflection I have got a job to go too
I remember years ago, when I first started volunteering at the day rehabilitation program, the managers parting words as I finished my first shift was “Working here will change you” I vividly remember the bus journey home, considering the potential consequences of change I mean I had already changed a lot! I was in a newish relationship If I changed again would my new partner like the new me? Did I want to change? How would I change? What would change look like? I had previously just completed my Diplomas in counselling where I had learned shit loads about the real me, I had changed a lot, my attitude to life was very different from what it had been years previously, I was much more confident, much more self-aware and to be quite honest I think I had been through enough fucking change, This was the first time in years that I actually felt happier in my skin, felt I could be me, my environment had changed I had a partner who encouraged me opposed to holding me back, my family were supportive, I was in more control over my life than I has ever felt possible, did I want to change again? I concluded that the answer was a resounding fucking NO!
Fast forward, 20+ years and those words are still there, even when I recall them it still brings back those feelings of fear, but my attitude to change has changed also since then. Whether we like it or not, we are changing all the time, as the years go by, I realise we are constantly, adapting, learning and evolving whether we like it or not? Change is inevitable and there will always be negative and positive consequences they are intrinsically linked.
I have learned that adapting to change is a skill and by ignoring or refusing to adapt to change in the longer term can have negative consequences for our own mental and physical health and well being. The key to adapting to change is recognising how we respond to it, particularly around change that is out of our control. Let me explain…
For years I stayed in a relationship hoping that the other person would change, be the person that I wanted them to be, when I finally realised that this person would never change and that this was out of my control, despite everything I tried to manipulate to try and change this person I had to face the reality that I would have to make the changes myself, I had to let go. However there were pros and cons to this instigating change, letting go of control when you aren’t sure about the outcome is daunting, hence why so many people resist change they stay stuck out of fear, or fear of the unknown.
When I finally left the relationship I was forced to recognise that I had changed too, I wasn’t the person I was when I first met him, I had to come to terms with the fact that I had allowed myself to be unhappy for years, I had allowed myself to become brainwashed into thinking I couldn’t do it alone, I had allowed myself to become dependent on someone else, I had lost my identity, I didn’t know who I was anymore, I had to sit with all thoughts uncomfortable feelings and emotions and uncertainty about the future. I had just instigated the biggest change in my life at that point and it was fucking scary, so much so at times it could have been so much easier to just go back, the short term consequences were hard, externally my life changed in so many ways, I had nothing in terms of a job, furniture or money I had little control of this.
At the time I was a much more fragile version of the person than I am today, but I had taken back some control, it didn’t seem like much at the time, I couldn’t see it back then, but the longer-term consequences have been far more positive. By stepping away, from something that was making me unhappy, by making the change I had provided myself with some space, some time to think, time to reflect, time to #haveawordwimesen and ask myself for the first time in a long time “What did I want?” Or more importantly “what did I no longer want?” Just by asking myself these two questions I took back some self control.
I realised that I was sick and tired of putting others before myself, I have learned that we will always come into contact and interact with many people we might not like, we might not like their values or their beliefs, there are then people we would love to change, but that isn’t something that we can control, but what we can control and change is how we adapt and respond, we cannot escape them, not unless we take ourselves off to the middle of nowhere and become a hermit , which ain’t very practical
Change is enviable we cannot control everything, people die, shit things happen to good people but we can control how we react and respond, we have more control of our thoughts than we ever knew, but in order to control your thoughts, you first have to learn how to understand them, the only shit bit about this compromise is that there’s only you that can do this?
Only you know what you are thinking, you will need to work it out for yourselves. Learn to not be afraid of your thought’s, learn to sit with the uncomfortable ones, one of the most liberating part’s of #havingawordwiyasen is realising that not all your thoughts are true, that we carry around with us so many untrue limiting beliefs that actually only serve to hold us back.
I use to use drugs to control my thoughts and feelings, but now realise that the only person who can manage and control my feelings is myself.
I used to be afraid of speaking my mind, speaking my truth in fear of upsetting the status quo, I now realise by not speaking my truth the only person I upset or hurt is myself.
I used to be afraid of showing my emotions out of fear of being misjudged or misunderstood, whereas I now recognise that by suppressing my feelings, only serves to hurt myself in the long run.
Change is difficult, change is challenging, change is inevitable, change is something you cannot control, cannot avoid change, there are no shortcuts but we can control how we adapt and respond to change and whether we like it or not, change is part of life, we have a choice we can continue to reject change or we can embrace it, learning to let go of control – “easier said than done, if you are a control freak like me sen!” but I am working on it
It’s the end of the first of two days training, who knew that thinking could be such hard graft? Well to be fair, I don’t even know why I just said that because I knew this already? That’s essentially all what this writing, the blog, the book and #Havingawordwitheesen malarky is actually about, which is making time for me, but its not as easy as it seems.
I have been really excited and looking forward to starting this training, excited to have the opportunity to learn something new, develop some new skills, meet new people, learn something that might help me figure out which direction I want to take in life, learn something about myself, time to do me.
Set in Edale, the venue is in a beautiful location, the original plan was to travel back and forth from Sheffield, but after a particularly couple of stressful days last week I thought FUCK IT I’m going to indulge myself and pay for overnight accommodation, which was not cheap, I’ll tell thee! having said that, when I got to the room this evening there was a small box of complementary chocolates that I will be indulging on later wi a cuppa and I have already scoffed the free oranges, I shall also be using all the free toiletries, I shall however be avoiding the award winning vegan breaki and will be treating me sen to the full English thank you very much!
Sarcasm aside, it has been worth every penny just to be able to take a step back and spend some quality time with myself and with my own thoughts. The course is a foundation course called “Time to think”, I have mentioned Nancy Kline before in some of my previous post, her theories are brilliant she believes that “Everything we do begins with our thinking. If our thinking is good, our decisions are good, or actions are good, our outcomes are good.” Makes sense doesn’t it? Its not rocket science? Well it does in theory, but in practice it’s a lot friggin harder to implement.
There’s an old saying…“practice makes perfect” But I don’t reckon that this is actually true? I mean, it all depends on what “perfection” means to you or what your definition of perfect is surely?
I have often looked back into the past and asked myself why? Why? Why? But I asked without ever really giving myself the time to answer the why’s? I just carried on with my life, I put up and shut up, I tolerated people I didn’t like, sometimes I might find the courage to say I wasn’t happy, I would lash out, release my anger, but it always seem to fall on deaf ears and before I knew it I would be back to square one, again, just like before, after all who was I really? At the time I was a young mother, who thought I knew what was best for me, “I had made my bed, so I had to lay in it”. And I laid in that bed for years, always putting other peoples needs before my own, until finally it took its toll, I found something that worked. Drugs had never appealed to me, I would often question those who took them, I never saw the point? but from the odd naive recreational dabble, I found something that stopped all the negative narrative, the constant chatter, self doubt, it block it out, it numbed all those heavy feelings that I had carried around with me for years, I stopped caring, I stopped giving a fuck! the drugs helped me to switch off and just focus on getting on with life, working, being a mom, being a partner, being there for everyone else and denying my own wants and needs.
Here I am over 25 years later after finding myself being forced into having a serious fucking #wordwimesen, (being sectioned in a mental institution, kinda does that to you…) I find myself still craving and yearning to love myself – Now how fucking cheesy does that sound? But guess what I don’t care anymore? I’m not ashamed or afraid to say “I count!” Or “I don’t agree” or even better still say “NO”.
I remember years ago in my early recovery, when I was desperately trying to find out about myself, trying to understand who I was, seeking advice from others, desperately wanting people to tell me what I should do, wanting to make a mends for all the fucked up decisions I had made with my life, wanting better for my kids, for myself, I was like a sponge, I read every self help book, did affirmations everyday (even when I felt like a prized twat, talking to myself in the mirror), I did it because someone in a book said it would help.
I’m not knocking self awareness, self awareness is great, but it wasn’t until I started really putting the self awareness into practice that I started to change, I have found that instead of questioning others, I now often start with questioning myself. I realised that the answers that I had been searching for, were there within me all the time. I learned that it was me that had programmed myself to think about others before myself, I had learned to put my feelings on the back burner.
My recovery wasn’t just about putting down the drugs, to be honest that was the easy part, the drugs had just become an unhealthy crutch, my recovery has been much more about being brave enough to search for me, the real me, the me who had been buried beneath everyone else needs and wants.
This has not been an easy journey, but then who’s life is? Everyone has a shit story or anecdote to share? Shithappens all the time, it’s part of the circle of life, we can either spit our dummy out and wallow in self pity or we can learnt to accept the shitty parts and learn to take the rough with the smooth. There are parts of who I became that I really didn’t like, in fact I there are still some parts about myself that I find uncomfortable, but I am starting to realise that, that’s ok! Its ok not to be ok! Its ok to feel insecure and unsure, its ok to doubt yourself
I no longer want to be that person seeking perfection, because I truly believe it doesn’t exist, I just want to be the best, true version of me and what ever that looks like to anyone on the outside, I don’t care? Because what I think matters more and is more important to me.
Practice might not make us perfect, but practice does do, is allow us the time to hone in on our own techniques and figure out what works for us. This also means accepting that there are going to be some fuck ups along the way and that every now and again we are bound to make mistakes.
Anyway, it’s late and that’s quite enough reflection for one day, but before I do go I would like to say a BIG thank you to those of you who take the time out to read my ramblings, to those who make the time to hear me, who make time to listen