Categories
accepting Achievement

Share One’s Achievements

Bronze bell jar from Science museum group collection
https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co129140

I wrote a poem a while ago about the above object. I sent it off hoping but not expecting to win anything. But I have! Out of hunderds of poems of a high quality, so many that it took them a week longer to decide which seven poems to publish for National Poetry day, mine was one of those picked.

Check out https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/celebrating-national-poetry-day/ to read mine and the other six.

I had planned to do a blog post today [my hope is that I do at least one post a week regularly, but promise nothing – even to myself 🙂 ] So thought I could share my poem here. My plan was to just share it in a blog post and leave it at that, hoping that people would see it. But then something in me whispered “share it with everyone” and as I am trying to ‘listen to my heart/inner self’ I thought I’d go for it. So it has been shared on Facebook, with those in my writing group, via email to various friends and on to WhatsApp. I might have even shared further but don’t have any other way of sharing.

Yes it has been lovely getting the messages back that say how good the poem is and congratulating me, but what it has also got me thinking is about how often we share our successes.

I think it is more a British thing than an American thing but we too often work on the “don’t be too proud”, “don’t show off”, “be humble”, etc. And then, I don’t know about anyone else, but I get upset when others don’t notice what I’ve done. But then how will they notice what I’ve done if I don’t share it. Yes the email that said ‘Congratulations’ will know that they are some anonymous person who I might never meet. I want/need/expect my friends and family to be proud of me, to be pleased for me, but if I don’t tell them how will they know.

Being one who, a few years ago decided that I’d do New Year Resolutions all throughout the year, I have decided that my 7th October Resolution is to be more open about sharing what I achieve, sharing my success. And my hope from it is that I will start a revolution where we all stop being so self-effacing and to be proud of what we achieve, what we do and most importantly be proud of who we are whether we win competitions, whatever success criteria we base our lives out. Instead let us be proud of who we are, what we can do and get on a be.

I suppose this is a blog that continues from What Have I Achieved? and is now looking at ‘What Am I Achieving Now” and taking it onwards and forwards.

I will finish with a photo of me with Abergele’s mayor and mayoress outside The Gift Shop, Abergele. Alan, the mayor, who is a huge encourager of people, suggested I get in touch with Tracey who runs The Gift Shop to promote my book, The Little Yellow Boat. But not only did he encourage me to do that he then was the first person to come and buy a copy of the book to get it out on Facebook for advertising for this Saturday’s event when I will be in the shop for two hours signing books. He not only encourage but supported too. And I do think that if I am going to go forward with shouting about my achievements I need to also get behind others to shout their achievements, to encourage them and to help us all take a step forward into realising what amazing people we all are and what an amazing world we live in.

Photo of Mayor, Alan Hunter, Mayoress Cheryl Hunter, author Diane Woodrow, her dog Renly, outside The Gift Shop, Abergele promoting Diane's signing of her book on Saturday 9th October 12-2pm
Also found on https://www.facebook.com/LittleYellowBoatBook/
Categories
acceptance Achievement Contentment

What Have I Achieved?

Picture of a broken wall and pebbled beach looking across water to a town and island. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Abergwyngren coastal path looking towards Beaumaris taken by myself – Aug 2021

I woke up feeling low this morning. Low and old. Bemoaning that I only had a handful of years left to live and what had achieved with it. So I sat on my yoga mat with my cat and pondered. Because I’m also following Christine Sine’s example of deep gratitude I did my best to move into that place.

Well to begin with I have two amazing children who are doing great in the world. I have published a book [and trying not to beat myself up over the fact that it is my only one so far. I will go back and read my last post if I get issues there]. I encourage lots of people with my writing groups, with the youthshedz project [more on that in another post]

But it is too easy to look back and think of all the things I haven’t done – not had a great career, not entered politics, not invented something that would change the world, not some recognised person in the media.

But what really is achievement? What does it really mean? As a Christian I have come to believe that it means knowing God deeper and myself as well so that I can love others.

Doing the work with the Youthshedz young people I realise like them that I am luck to be alive. At 25 I didn’t like myself but now, 35 years on I can say that I like myself. I trust myself, and I have noticed the more I trust myself the more I trust God and also other people.

There is a verse about “judging as you will be judged” [Matthew 7:1] and I think that when one is striving to “achieve” something noteworthy one is too often looking at others, judging what they are doing, rating them as better or worse than oneself – generally better than – rather than just getting on and doing the stuff.

So I may not change the world and neither may my children or the young people I encourage, but you know I think if I make my world a more contented place by being more contented myself – by creating that energy around me of acceptance and contentment – then I have achieved enough.

Like the harbour wall in this picture one day all will be gone and I will be forgotten and you know that is ok.

Categories
anticlimax gratitude

Anticlimax

Basingwerk Abbey, Holywell, viewed through the trees on a walk around Holywell taken by Diane Woodrow, author of The Little Yellow Boat
Basingwerk Abbey, Holywell, viewed through the trees on a walk around Holywell taken by me

I have been pondering why so many people I know are feeling low with the coming out of lockdown and with Covid-19 being brought to submission. As I pondered I felt it was because this virus has been an anticlimax. We have all seen or read dystopian stories where there is something cataclysmic that brings an end to civilisation as we know it. Many of us have read about the Great Plagues of Medieval times. The media filled us with fear and dread. But also we experienced something mankind has never experienced – lockdown! Never in the history of mankind have people shut themselves away alone and yet been so connected with the world via TV and internet. Apart but connected or as can feel at times connected but alone.

Unlike the Black Death or the Spanish Flu in the UK we have not experienced losing a high percentage of our population. In fact many of us have not lost a single person in our family here, though most of us do know of someone who has died somewhere. We have not had food shortages due to lack of labourers like in the times of the Bubonic plague. Yes we have had shortages but they have been due to selfish panic buying.

All of us who are comfortably off have noticed little changes – in our income and expenditure, in the way we live our lives, etc. I am sure if we lived in some of the countries we would have endured huge numbers of deaths, struggles for food, for work, for just the things that can be taken for granted in the West.

But if we look back on the headlines for March 2020 we were expecting much more. Something more dystopian. But we didn’t get it. We’ve got change, and big change, but not horrendous change. And especially if one watched the Euro football games things seem to have returned to normal!

I think, when one has been promised much – good or bad – and it doesn’t happen, one is left feeling anticlimaxed.

“The anticlimax is when you’re set up for a climax, such as a spectacular, battle-to-end-all-battles between the hero and the villain. It’s built up more and more until the suspense is extremely exciting, and the reader/viewer can’t wait for it…then the hero kills the villain in one hit, or the villain spontaneously drops dead “

From –
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Anticlimax

And this I believe is what many of us are feeling now. We were given this huge build up. We expected something spectacular. And now it is all over.

I decided to have a bit of a google through all this and found this from Ethical Horse Products on how to deal with Anticlimax in which she says a good way of dealing with anticlimax after an event is to celebrate one’s achievements. How do we do that when we feel like we haven’t actually achieved anything? In fact everything I read talked about preparing for it. How does one prepare for it when one didn’t get the climax first? All we got was the fear and expectation, the suspense.

I think one of the first things to do is acknowledge this is how we are all feeling. I think too it is why we loved the England football game because there was the excitement. There was also the expectation of not winning. So there was a preparedness in the air. Gareth Southgate told his players, and thus the rest of those watching, to not get too excited. So we were excited but prepared.

With the virus our government did not do that. It told us to be scared. To be so afraid that there were some who did not even step outside their front door for months. For most of us we didn’t travel, stayed away from friends and family. Lived with anxiety, albeit for most low-level, but it was there. We were not prepared for the anticlimax. So how do we deal with it?

So once we’ve accepted this is how we feel then we need to, I believe, step into celebrating what we achieved – for some this could just be stepping back to groups they used to go to, for others it will be more major. Then we need to feel gratitude – that we’re still alive, that we can still communicate, that we made it through.

Gratitude works best if one does it on small tangible things. So being grateful for clean water is great but being grateful that you had a conversation with someone in the park is personal and more real. Start each day with five small things you are grateful for. Look back at my post about “Awe in the Ordinary” – which was also posted on Godspace on 6th July.

Walk whether you live in the countryside or a city. Take in the air. Be grateful you can walk. Find awe in the ordinary. Check out other posts on walking and awe. Be kind to yourself when you don’t feel up for it but give yourself that small push.

Anticlimax is something we’ve all experienced and all walked through but I think this time it is hard because it was thrust on us be outside forces – the government – and we need to walk through a bit more squelchy mud before we can stand on firmer ground. But firmer ground is coming! It has to be because the Ox needs to be able to plough well.