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heart Viewpoint

How We View Things

photograph by Diane Woodrow
Beauty or showing off?

With the way the media has been portraying things recently I have been pondering how we view things. For example take birds. We marvel at eagles, we use cuckoos as a herald for spring, and we are superstitious about magpies. Yet each of the birds kills the chicks of other birds but I have only ever heard magpies be condemned for doing it in a big way.

So now we look at one side of a conflict/war/atrocity as a hero and the other side as evil. It can even switch sides if something happens to do that viewpoint. For instance England fought against France for hundreds of years and yet in the First World War many British men died fighting with the French. And then for a brief period France, Germany and Britain were all in the EU together.

I wonder what makes us view things in a certain way?

Yesterday I got upset with someone I was having coffee with. When I took time out to examine the why of how I felt I realised she reminded me of something in my past and it was that wound I was reacting to. I’ve had similar things with projects that come to an end. It hurts more than just a freelancer being insecure about where the next job comes from. But again if I slow down and listen to my heart I realise where that hurt comes from.

So I wonder as we go into the good guy/bad guy, good thing/bad thing way of labeling things we need to slow down, check with our hearts and ask ourselves why we are doing this. Is it to do with the present situation we are in or is it to do with some greater hurt or fear?

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a blog on my thoughts on why the Bible tells of man eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil rather the tree of knowledge because I think this explains something.

So next time you think about labeling something or someone good or bad slow down, listen deeply to your heart – that bit of your heart that doesn’t get heard too often, and see if you can find the real reason. Then give your heart a hug and be kind to yourself for over reacting, as I did yesterday.

Categories
Focus priorities

Who Guides Our Priorities?

Photo taken by Diane Woodrow at end of Feb 2022 Taken whilst she was walking on a Saturday morning with her dog
Morfa Conwy Feb 2022

How often have you wondered who guides what you priorities? What you focus on? What you worry most about?

Today there is much talk across the Christian community of Ash Wednesday being a day of prayer for Ukraine, which is great. It really is. But what about the other things? But if I dig a bit on various news-feeds I read about ethnic inequalities, massive inflation across the world, there is still a climate crisis, there are still people being persecuted in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Myanmar, and still people dying from Covid across the world. But it is hard to find out any other news.

I remember back in September 2011 when the twin towers were destroyed and all focus on was on them. A friend who worked with orphans in Africa said more children had died of starvation and AIDS in one day than had died in the twin towers. Or when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident the pastor of the church I was attending at that time asking us to pray for all the other people who had died in car accidents that night who would be lost under the media coverage of her death.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think this situation in Ukraine is awful as was the Twin Towers disaster, but I do think too often we then forget other things. We forget had forgotten that there had been Russian oppression in parts of Ukraine for over 10 years because the media got bored and turned us to other things. We get bored of hearing the same thing day in day out.

We are fickle human beings and, I believe, more so now with 24 hour news, internet access, etc. I think too that if this conflict in Ukraine hits a point where there are no big headlines we will move on to something else.

Is it that we don’t care? I don’t believe that at all. But I do think it is because when we are bombarded with news and information day in day out our brains cannot cope so we shut off. And then the media needs to keep us watching the news, reading papers, scrolling through the internet, because they earn money that way. So they will find us the next thing to be drawn into, the next thing to worry about, the next thing that we give our money to.

This isn’t wrong but it is just the way it is. Can we change? Maybe this is about again looking at aligning with God, with the Universe and fixing on that and being willing to go for whatever we are called to for the long haul – which is hard.

Are you, am I, willing to take time out and find out what my true focus is or am I, are you, going to be swayed by the winds of the world?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

James 1:5-7
Categories
accepting humble Talent

Talents

A photo of a boot print in soft sand with a piece of seaweed nearby. photographed by Diane Woodrow
Taken by myself on Conwy Beach in September 2021

This post is really a follow on from my post on 7th Oct about Sharing One’s Achievements. It’s taking it one step further and unpacking it more

My poem was one of the top 7 poems pick from hundreds and hundreds – so many in fact that they needed to extend the decision date – from the Science Museum’s National poetry competition. You can find it here – https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/celebrating-national-poetry-day/

Of course I was very pleased and have been moving into sharing my achievements rather than keeping quiet about them and hoping others just happen to come across them, which is what I used to do. Then I would get upset that friends and family didn’t know what I’d done. But of course I hadn’t told them. So I shared far and wide, and my mum and others shared onwards too. A comment from one of my Mum’s friends was “What a clever lady, just to look at an object like that and then give it a voice” My response was to say that I “found it a natural thing to give the pot personality. I do it with all sorts of random objects.” But it got me thinking about how my Mum’s friend and others don’t do that sort of thing. And yes I do do it was all sorts of things.

It got me wondering about how many things we can just do we take for granted rather than celebrate. For instance my seeing inanimate objects with personalities, being able to cook up an amazing meal from random ingredients, people being comfortable sharing their stories with me. And I am sure there are things about me that others see which again I just think that’s “normal”.

My husband retains facts and is a whizz at University Challenge, complicated maths equations, learning new things on the IT/engineering front that I can’t tell you about because I don’t understand them. He takes it as obvious and will say something really sciencey and then say to me “isn’t it?” and I just have to look back dumbly. But also he can’t remember where he left his keys or his phone!!!

But I need to not be upset that I don’t know all these techy, clevery sciencey things the same as he should not be upset that he can’t do somethings too. We all need to celebrate who we are and what we can do.

I did a post ages about about being humble, which I can’t find, and explored how when we are told in the Bible, or elsewhere, to “be humble” it isn’t about being self-effacing but it is about honouring our achievements. It is ok to boast and say “I’m good at putting character to intimated objects” or “I’m good at learning technical things”. The same as it is good to say “I don’t get technical things and often think it is working in the dark arts” or “I really don’t see how you can give a pot a personality”.

So my suggestion today is to look at what comes naturally to you, realise this is a talent that you have, then tell yourself how amazing you are to be able to that. Then if bold enough tell others that you can do X and realise however small it is a talent. Remember the story of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30. Everyone had a different number of talents and the only reason the person with one got in trouble was because they didn’t use that one talent.

So get out there boast about that talent, share that talent and who knows we could start a talent revolution, changing the world one confident step at a time.

Categories
blessing QEC

Blessing not Processing

Picture of a honeysuckle bush close to a barbed wire fence with trees the other side taken by Diane Woodrow
Taken by me on Sunday 5th September 2021

I seem to have blog a lot and then stopped for a week or so. The reason for stopping is that we have had a busy time with family and friends, which has been lovely but the introvert in me has got tired from it. But something struck me through it all – I could moan and grumble about not having time at to myself [cursing] or I could see what was going on a a blessing.

In Moses’s last soliloquy to the Israelites he says that they must choose between blessing or cursing. Often I have seen this, and maybe been taught this, that it is about the way I behave, but over the past couple of weeks I have started to see it as being about the way I think. As with the QEC way it is how you think that determines the energy you give off. From the energy you give off comes the way the atmosphere around you is and from there how you can affect those around you.

So instead of seeing those who stayed with us as hard work and an inconvenience I saw them as a blessing to my world. And the interesting things was not only was the atmosphere nice but also they were a blessing to me. Yes I was tired by having people around but wasn’t stressed with it. I understood the why I was tired and so made sure I took myself to my bed to read alone early enough in the evening, and found time to “unfolded” in the mornings alone. But I had a great time

It also seemed to happen that things were said that wouldn’t normally be said, conversations that had needed to be said were said in a gentle atmosphere and no one fell out. Yes these conversations were emotional, some of which because they had been bottled up for a long time but they didn’t come out like they had burst from a fizzy bottle but came out gently and well-poured.

The above picture is taken one morning when I was able to get out on my own with my dog and got to write some poetry, which was well needed. But again it was a blessing not a “having to get away”.

I came back tired but refreshed and also came back blessed. I have accepted how I felt at some of the times through what was said, triggers that happened, but instead of processing I was able to turn them into blessings which actually I feel is one step further on than even stopping looking through the garbage.

Categories
Bible choice choose life circus deuteronomy God life mindfulness

Deuteronomy 30!

As I ponder my life today there is a long list of things that I am happy and grateful for – from sunshine and a washing machine to friends and family. Each of these can be countermanded by a negative – too much washing, friends sick and struggling, uncertainty about seeing family. It was then that these verses struck me. God goes on a life-and-deathlot, it seems, in the Old Testament about whether to choose death or life, blessing or curse and I must admit I never quite got it. I was a bit like “why would you choose death or curse? Surely everyone chooses life and blessing!” But I know a lot of people who will look to the negative – the family visit and list all that could go wrong, the day out in the sunshine waiting for the rain, etc. I never realised until today when I was doing my “mindfulness” stuff of looking at the good things in my life – my blessings – that it is about attitude as much as what we do. So today I’m not going to steal anything, murder anyone, covert anything, hopefully not use God’s name in vain, etc, but I could very easily slip into the negative thinking.

Example – I’m off to the circus tonight. All very exciting. It’s an interactive one with pancakes. But I have to catch the train to meet up with my husband so we can go now or never circus.jpgtogether. I could very easily be dreading catching the train, worrying that he’ll be late, being nervous as to what they are going to be doing with pancakes, anxious about going and doing something I’ve not done before. I have a choice. Do I want life and so be looking forward to it and seeing it all as a blessing, or do I choose negativity and death and spend my whole day under a curse?

Relationships – now we all struggle with relationships whether family, spouse, friends, workmates, people we see in passing (though these seem to be easier to deal with 🙂 ) . Each of us can choose who we view those relationships. If we are always putting someone down then that relationship becomes a curse and in the end we often have to kill it off, but if we are always saying and thinking good of someone, even if they can be a bit of a pain, then that relationship is a blessing and we want it to live.

So today I list all the things I have to look forward to – all the blessings in my life. I will not do that in a Pollyanna sort of way and believe they don’t all come with difficulties. I pollyannawill be real and honest about them – like the catching the train tonight. If I don’t catch it I won’t get there. I will have to eat and walk the dog beforehand and I do find having set times to do things in my life isn’t what my personality enjoys. So I know it will be hard but I can choose to look at the things I don’t like or I can choose to focus on the good.

We’re off to my son’s new regiment’s family day on Saturday. Again this is a mix of good and bad and I can choose how I focus on it. It is a long way to go; he will be stressed; it will be busy; we don’t know what’s happening. But I will get to see my son and his fiancée and I haven’t seen either of them since Easter; because it where he is stationed is an hour from where we used to live we can catch up with friends; and we get to bring my daughter home with us for her birthday. Which will I focus on? Which will give me life and which death?

So those verses in Deuteronomy 30 and other places are not about physical death but life.jpgabout that thing inside of you, that part of you that is alive. Your soul? Your spirit? I’m not sure what it is called but it is that part of each of us that either draws or repels others. Today I chose life.

Categories
accepting carpe diem Grace gratitude mindfulness

Carpe Diem – Seize the Day

So a slight twist away from my on going mini-series into what I do/who I am.

6f47d3dae834da213ef7956e9fe60921This has struck me recently but I know I’ve blogged on it before. But just recently we had a couple in early stages of dementia stay and they were talking of what they had done but also what they would like to do and can’t do now. An older friend had told me how her and her husband had saved hard and kept their children short of things because of all the things they were going to do after he retired. He was struck off his bicycle by a lorry in his late forties, had brain damage and is now dead. One of the ladies I meet dog walking said how her and her husband moved to this part of the world when he retired but within 10 months he was head. She has been here ten years now. I can recall many tales from older people who say they wished they had seized the moment instead of saving for a future that never happened. Even with my husband’s broken foot at the moment, he has been saying he will now miss the end of the summer and the clubs he had planned on looking into “tomorrow” will now have to happen next year. At least he does have next year to look at whereas these with deceased spouses or debilitating illnesses cannot do that.

It made me think about when I go walking on the beach. Our beach has a series of little pensarn-beach-2streams that bisect it. Many of them look deep and they can cut short a walk. The other day I decided to go for it reasoning that the worst that was going to happen was that I would get my feet wet. You know what – some of them weren’t actually that deep and did not come over the thickness of the soles of my shoes but also I did get my feet wet at times, but I did not die/come to any harm and in fact had a much longer walk because of it. I did not let those little inconveniences stop me.

The Bible talks of being careful about planning too much for tomorrow because you do not know what will happen. It talks of a man who has a huge harvest and builds a huge barn to put everything in because he is just then going to go and enjoy himself. God say that he is foolish because the following day he is dead. But I don’t think he was foolish for actually building the barns because it would have been foolish for him to just leave all that harvest lying about. I think it is to do with planning toward something that you do not know if it will happen.

e2809cnever-leave-that-till-tomorrow-which-you-can-do-today-e2809d-e28093-benjamin-franklinWhen I talk to the dog walking lady she is sad that her husband is not with her but has lots of happy memories of when they did come together to this coastline and I love to hear her tell me about them. The dementia couple had tales of what they use to do. The friend who’s husband had the accident unfortunately is sad about the things they missed out doing with their children.

Life it so short anyway to spend time worrying about the future because often this is what the problem is. Thoughts of having to save because of never having enough, of having to wait because you could made a mistake, of being fearful that … (we can all fill in that blank). I posted a piece on my business’s blog yesterday which says about just giving things a try and seeing what happens. Check it out – “Do not be Afraid

So it is not about being reckless but about not putting off till tomorrow what you can enjoy today. I am so grateful for the crazy things I did with my kids and with my life. And my life is not over yet. Watch this space 🙂