Categories
hamster people pleasing

People Pleasing

From http://www.clker.com/clipart-495807.html

On a recent QEC session we got talking about how people pleasing can be like being a hamster on a hamster wheel. If only I could draw because “a picture paints a thousand words” but “words are all I have”.

So I want you to picture three hamster wheels – you’re the one in the middle and on either side are those you are trying to please. You’re all running as fast as you can. You keep getting carrots but instead of eating them you keep giving those carrots to the hamsters either side of you because you want to please them. Your deepest wish is for them to be happy, to be content, to calm down, etc. And you have been brought up that to be a “good hamster” you make sure everyone else is alright. But the thing is a hamster doesn’t eat the food it is given but stores it in its pouches. So even though you are being a good hamster and trying to keep the hamsters beside you happy they aren’t getting fed because they are storing it in their pouches.

Too often we think we should do everything for others, should be the one pleasing them all the time, should be the ones putting everything right, but we lose sight of ourselves. Like the little hamster in the middle we get thinner and thinner whilst those we are trying to please just get fat pouches but are still not happy.

Because I am a follower of Jesus I often try and think about what the Bible says about things. So Jesus says “love your neighbour as yourself,” which even for someone who doesn’t believe in God it is a good way to be. This is what the little hamster in the middle is trying to do. The little hamster is doing what all good sermons tell them to do, putting others first.

BUT WAIT

This isn’t what that verse says. It needs to be looked at in more details. And if the Bible is read as a whole and not as soundbite then it does go on to explain further.

Someone once asked Jesus who his neighbour was and Jesus tells the famous story of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10:25-37] If you don’t know it then go and read it.

Now in this when the Samaritan does rescue the man he does basic first aid but then takes him to a man who can do more. The Samaritan does not lecture the man and tell him he was daft to be on the road alone, he does not give him extra money to be able to get home, he does not give him what he has lost. The Samaritan takes him to the inn then offers to pay for all expenses for him, then goes on his way. The Samaritan did not throw money at him, he did not set him up in business again, he doesn’t even go and tell his family the man is gong to be a bit late getting home. Nope! The Samaritan does what needs to be done to a man who is danger and needs help. All the other things – like rebuilding what he has lost, of being more sensible in future, of thinking for himself – is left for the man to sort out when he is well again.

I often wonder if, as well as fearing being “unclean”, the two ‘church’ people were afraid that they would not know when to stop giving. And I think we have all been taught how to give but very rarely have we been taught how to stop.

So back to the hamster analogy – you, the little hamster needs to get your needs met, needs to know what you need. And that might just be getting off the hamster wheel for a bit and finding out what your needs actually are. And also maybe letting those you think you are meant to be pleasing look after themselves for a bit.

It might surprise you, little hamster, to know that those you think you should be pleasing will actually be ok if you stop feeding what you think are their needs all the time.

Categories
Guests hospitality

Being A Good Guest

These are locally grown flowers from Hilltop Garden Flowers who are part of a great organisation called Flowers From The Farm

Godspace is running a series about Hospitality at the moment with lots of info on cooking and having people come into your home. Now I am someone who loves cooking for people, but I remember a friend who really was worried when she first started getting involved with church because she was not a good cook and also had children who did not like people coming into their house. She did doubt whether she was a “good Christian” or not; whatever that phrase might mean.

But one of the things that struck me in Christine Sine’s post for Monday was about being a “good guest”. We can all come as guests. We don’t need to bring anything apart from ourselves. But what does it mean to be a good guest?

Well for me I get upset when people to my house and bring extra food. I get upset by that because I will have provided more than enough. Though I do love it when they bring wine, chocolates, and/or flowers. All those things to me say they are happy to come to my house. When my sister-in-law first came to stay at our house she brought her own towels. I was hurt by that because I wanted to lavish hospitality on her but she wanted to “save me too much trouble.”

I think when we come as guests of God to the table I think we should come knowing that it is not too much trouble for God to lavish things on us. Of course we shouldn’t trash the place. As those who have been reading my blog for a while, pre-covid I did Airbnb. I enjoyed it but really got upset if guests did not respect my home and left things in a mess.

So as guest of God we should bring those extras – the spiritual equivalent of wine, chocolates and flowers, which often is nothing more than our open hearts. But we should respect those who are joining us, should respect God’s creation, should respect God’s home – which is our earth.

Also I love having guests who delight in being in my home and delight in being with the people who have also come to the table. So as God’s guests we should delight in being invited, delight in those God has chose to be with us for this season of our lives.

So to be a good guest then it to delight in being there, and not think we need to add to what God has done, to respect the space God has opened for us and those who are also invited to that self same space, and come wanting to be lavished on. If you come like that when I invite you I will be most pleased. And I am sure if you come like that God then they will be most pleased too.

Categories
Menstruation periods

Periods

Image taken from https://www.healthywomen.org/created-with-support/questions-ask-about-periods

I found it interesting to read the article on BBC news about Indian Women getting rid of the shame of periods They are having large gatherings where they can talk about their periods, where they can share their issues that come with periods, and also have charts in their homes with their menstrual cycle on. This is totally amazing. But does it happen here?

I was thinking that growing up I was told very little about periods and was definitely not allowed to talk about them in the home. They happened. They were known as the curse. They were something women had to endure. I was thinking I never knew what my mother’s or my sister’s menstrual cycles were. I am presuming they both had periods??? And with my daughter it was only her pushing the whole thing with her apps on her phone, her wanting to keep things open and talk, and also because she wasn’t having an easy time with hers. I wonder if she had not had her pains and major mood swings if her menstrual cycle would not have been talked about. Like I say it was only her pushing the subject not me.

I’ve noticed too that I am having more issues with my typing writing “menstrual cycle” than I did when I was writing about “abortion“, though that wasn’t easy either.

Why is there such shame about it? Why until recently have period products, which every woman for a large part of her life needs, seen as luxury items? Only recently has the VAT been taken from the price of these. And it is only Scotland who have finally said that period products should be provided free to those who need them. About time!!!

EU law required members to tax tampons and sanitary towels at 5% since 2001, treating period products as non-essential.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-51629880

Did you know that in the rest of the UK one can get condoms and other birth control items for free but only in Scotland can you get period products for free? Now I have worked with young people a lot but I will still say that having sex is a choice, having a period is not. It is not possible to abstain from a period without medical intervention!

I felt that 2020 was the time of perfect vision but I think that we still haven’t seen all there is to see. I believe that the whole topic of Periods coming out into the open is a continuation of finding perfect vision, perfect clarity, and openness and a freedom to see things as they truly are – not just the political situations in our world, not just the economics of our world, but the day to day issues of our world, with women’s bodies being one of those. Please feel free to put in the comments box your own things you would like to see coming out into the open and being seeing and talked about freely and clearly

Perhaps until we can be open, honest and fair 2020’s revealing of Perfect Vision will continue for much longer than it has been.

A quick aside – I find it wonderful that it is a man, Sunil Jaglan, in India who has been helping woman to gather to talk about woman’s health issues, and that the Tayside ‘period dignity officer’ is Jason Grant. As women’s health comes more and more to the fore I think it is great that men are involved too. This cannot be a women only affair.

Categories
Appreciate family friendship

True To Self

My local park 1st August 2022

I love walking round my local park, though I realised how easy it was to just go into auto pilot and not notice things so now I am making sure I say focused and present. I take my phone so I can take photos. I now don’t just love it I appreciate and enjoy it too.

Anyway as a follow on from the last post, what I had written got me thinking deeper. about being who we are not who we are not. For instance Princess Leia could not be anything other than she was. Even when we get to know Luke Skywalker we know from that opening scene that all he wanted to do was be a star-ship pilot not a farmer. It was in his blood to be something more than.

I have been reading “My Fourth Time, We Drowned” by Sally Hayden and as well as feeling angry at what is going with the UN and the refugees in Africa, I also feel pretty inadequate. Here is a woman publishing stories that should shock the world with the inhumanity of privileged humans to vulnerable humans, and of what trauma does to people. But then I had to realise that I could not be a Sally Hayden. I can only be a Diane Woodrow. I cannot be what I am not.

If you watch a lot of Pixar and Disney as I do one of the key themes is the main character trying to be something they are not. It is a reoccurring theme and often, no actually always, makes me cry. I cry because too often we push others into being what they are not, or are pushed ourselves. It happens too often yet we either let it happen or do it to others.

Going back to the marriage theme from the last post – as well as sometimes grieving the changes that happen to us in marriage the that we are not the younger people we were when we first met, I think sometimes we try to manipulate that other person into being what we would like them to be. And depending on how they responded to that as a child how they then respond to that as a spouse.

We do all do it a little bit with our friends to fit in with them. We allow ourselves to be what they would like us to be, but then we get frustrated and angry, or accept that mold and forget who we really are.

So I started this post with a photo of my regular dog walk and of how I am trying to be more present there, trying to see it more as it is rather than ignoring it. I am also trying to do this with my friends and family. I am trying to accept and be present with who they are and enjoying them for what they are and not for what I think they should be. I am also learning to be more “me”, doing more of what I want, being more of who I want to be.

Hopefully from this I can appreciate, enjoy and love my friends and family more and more.

Categories
acceptance being me

Holding On To Who You Really Are

My dog being himself at The Good Life Camp in July this year

Last night I was home alone and watched the whole of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney Plus, all 6 episodes. Basic story line is Obi-Wan rescuing Princess Leia from the bad guys. What made is so convincing was the young Leia had traits like the grown up Leia from that very first time we all met her on screen back in the 1970s but also showed how what happened to her during the kidnapping and subsequent rescue shaped her too. She was the Princess Leia some of us have loved for 45 years.

But it got me thinking about how we are all born with certain characteristics, traits, ways of being, which are then either shaped, encouraged or squashed as we grow up. I wondered if I would recognise the 10 year old me if I was shown her story.

I did read somewhere that to make a marriage work we have to regular grieve the loss of the person we married and the loss of ourselves – as in I am not the person I was when we married 15 years ago. Life has changed me. And my husband isn’t the person I married 15 years ago as life has changed him too. But I do wonder, after watching things last night, how much of the depth of who I really am, who we really are, is still hiding under there.

I know I bang on about QEC but I think it has helped me to realise the me I really am and also the life events that have encouraged, shaped or crushed those tendencies.

Another of the reasons that got me pondering this is the being home alone. My husband has gone into the Snowdonia for 2 nights camping and walking. It means that from Friday night until he gets home this afternoon I can do what I want. In fact at the moment because I have very little work I can do what I want most days. So what did I choose to do? I walked the dog locally, read, did some writing, sat in the sun, walked the dog some more locally, read some more, and then binge watched Obi-Wan. This was what I wanted to do.

What did I like doing when I was younger? Well I got a memory of me sharing a story I had written with my friends. I remember sitting quietly on the river bank with a fishing rod in my hand. I remembered enjoying being alone with a book or a notepad or nothing at all. That was the me I remember. And now life has gone full circle and I spend much of my time reading, writing and just being. It is coming back slowly. But there are times I feel guilty because I am not “doing”, whatever that means.

I need to learn to be more like my dog and just bounce around being who I am most comfortable being. Just as Leia could only be what she was and Obi-Wan had to get his head round that so I can only be who I am and I need to get my head round that too.

Categories
Appreciate farm workers

Farmworkers Appreciation Day

1st appeared on https://godspacelight.com/2022/08/06/farmworkers-appreciation-day/?mc_cid=9b59e48612&mc_eid=6b10e54045 on 6th August 2022

Taken by myself on one of my dog walks on the beach

Ok so I’d never heard of Farmworker Appreciation Day before it appeared on the Godspace email but it has really made me think. In fact the National Farmworkers Ministry has a whole week in March where is brings about awareness of farmworkers. Check out this site – https://nfwm.org/news/nfaw-2022/. This site tells you a bit about its history – https://nationaltoday.com/farmworker-appreciation-day/ But really all these “national days” should be a kickstarter to get us thinking not just a “do today and then forget about it/them”

My friend, Eric, is a cow man. He’s been a cowman most of his life. He turned 60 this year. He works long very physical hours and only gets every other weekend off. His pay is not great and he cannot retire until he reaches statutory retirement age.

But for Eric at least he lives in the UK. For those who bringing our food from elsewhere or who have been trafficked in to work over here their conditions can be terrible. But we expect our shops and supermarkets and doorstep deliveries to have a large variety of food at a price we can afford. But how often do we think how it got to us? We cannot appreciate something if we don’t even think about how it got to us.

No one stood on their doorsteps to clap the farmworkers here in the UK. It was good to clap the NHS workers because covid hit them hard. But for the farmworkers they had to keep going too. For those who supplied the hospitality industry many lost their jobs. Now people moan that no one wants to pick the fruit and veg that itinerant workers used to do; many of whom have stopped their travellings for a while because of various issues that are too much to go into in this post and would detract from what today is all about.

But actually as Joni Mitchel sang once “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” [Big Yellow Taxi – 1970] this is what happened with the farmworkers. No one realised what they did or how hard they worked, and often would moan about the “influx of foreigners” But those foreigners picked our fruit and veg. Now we are noticing with the war between Russia and Ukraine that much of Europe’s grain comes from Ukraine. Firstly did we really know that? How often do we take the time to work out where our food does come from? And second did we ever really appreciate those workers?

As with my friend, Eric, who works 48 weeks of the year, 6 days a week, we don’t give him or others like him a thought. We just expect milk to make it to our supermarkets/doorstep. And often in our way of not really knowing the hows and whys of things we can be critical of how farming is done, bemoan methods we know very little about.

Yes it would be great if all the milk cows could live in fields and all the food we need be grown without pesticides, but are we willing to pay those extra costs? Pay for the extra hours it takes to bring cows back and forth from fields? Support farmers and farmworkers if they made less on their crops?

I do go to the local farm shop, get my veg from Oddbox which takes the fruit and veg the supermarkets reject, have a milkman who delivers in glass bottles. But I also have a husband who earns a decent wage so we can afford all this.

But whether we buy from a cheap supermarket or an expensive farm shop how often do we think to appreciate all the work that has gone into growing our food? When we say “grace” do we think to not just thank God for our food but thank the people who worked hard to produce our food; who worked the land, dealt with weeds and pesticides, had aching muscles due to the physical side of their work, and all those other things that go on to produce our “daily bread”.