Closure

There are many words in the English language that have added to or changed their meanings over the years. Closure is one of those words. It meant and still means the closure of coal mines and department stores for example. But it has now got another meaning, closure after an unpleasant time or experience. I suppose it still means the act or process of closing something even with its extra definition.

So closure is the feeling or act of bringing an unpleasant time or experience to an end so that you can start again. Closure could refer then to ending one job which was not pleasant and starting a new job. Once you got into the new job you could forget about all the bad bits of the previous job. But is it that easy?

What about separation or divorce? How easy is it to start again and forget the bad bits? If children are involved then this can make it even harder to let go of the past and move on. Letting go of the pain is hard but it needs to be done if you want to move on. You can make a conscious decision to let the pain and anger go but if this doesn’t work you can try to express your pain and anger. You can write letters to the other person but not send them. Instead you can burn them with the intent that the pain and anger has gone so you can move forward again.

You also need to ‘be’ in the present. Focus on what you are doing now and enjoy your life as it happens. The final thing you have to do is to forgive the other person and that is possibly the hardest bit of all. But if you keep the pain and anger inside you, it will make you ill later on.

But how do you have closure when someone dear to you dies? Our emotions at that time run deep and as the grieving process takes its course we think of closure. Personally I find that with a death of a loved one, there is never what you could call a proper closure. We learn to live with the fact that our loved ones are no longer with us. Our love does not die so we have to learn to accept that they are no longer here but closure, I don’t think so. You can move on and even find another partner but your life has changed from what it was before the death occurred so you look at everything and everybody through different eyes. Also grieving can take several years as you adjust to the fact that your loved one has gone.

Is closure something that we deal with and achieve, or is it a myth?

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Dealing with loss

Loss is something that most of us see at least once a week. We lose our belongings for example. Sometimes we lose precious belongings, items which mean a lot to us. There is a big difference between losing a pencil for example,  a twenty pound note and a watch that belonged to a member of your family that has long gone. Losing something precious like the watch makes us feel sad and even if we get a new watch it does not replace the old one in our hearts.

Losing a pet is even harder to deal with and the grief can last for many months. You never forget them or the joy they brought you but they keep a piece of your heart for ever. Many people have pets instead of children so when a pet dies, the loss to them is greater. Losing someone close to you is even harder than losing a pet. My father died in 1981, my husband in 1995 and my mother in 2003 so you would think I know how to grieve by now. What I have found is that each time someone close to me dies, it brings back all the memories of the previous deaths. So this week I have been feeling a deep sadness at the loss of a very dear friend.

If you search the internet you will find lots of help and suggestions  to help you deal with your grief. Some of these I have found helpful, like keeping to your daily routine as much as you can. You may not feel like doing anything but it is good to actually do the housework or go shopping however painful it seems. There will be bad days but I found that the gap between the bad days and the good ones got longer and there became more of the good days. It takes time to come to terms with losing someone close to you. Anniversaries are the worst days but after the first year of grief you have got through most of those. It is important to try to do joyful things even though you feel sad. I have found that sitting in the garden watching the bees and butterflies helps me

Talking to others or writing a journal can also help. But I need to say that losing loved ones does not always happen through death. There is divorce and separation for other reasons and there are those family members who decide to shun the rest of the family and deliberately lose contact. Grieving also happens in these cases.

One thing to remember that whoever you have lost, they have a small space in your heart where you will remember them for ever and you will remember the good times not just the bad ones.

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Too old to learn?

I belong to that group of people who are never to old to learn. But I do hear many others say that they can’t do something because they are too old. I suppose it depends on what you think the word ‘learn’ means. The dictionary definition is this; ‘ to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience.’

I know I love doing courses that interest me but I do them so that I learn something and am not bothered about an exam or a certificate. Recently I have been doing a couple of courses about dealing with pain, one course looking at exercises to control or get rid of specific pain. This was interesting to me as I found that I already did some of these exercises but I still had the pain at times.

But there are many others things I have learned since I moved house. I have learned to recognise the plants in the garden which were new to me and the butterflies and other insects that were also new to me. I learned to ‘drive’ my mobility scooter safely. I have also learned how to adapt to doing things around the house when my hands are painful. So I have never stopped learning, learning mainly by experience in this case.

This topic came about because of a discussion with my son about web design as I have been thinking of updating my web site recently. I did the original one in the late 1990s when I taught myself the language of HTML. Then my son took over and later on a friend. But as an independent person I want to do my own. Am I too old to learn this? I don’t think so. I believe that we all learn something new every day. And the ancient druids spent years studying and learning so as a druid I am doing the same but perhaps in a different way.

So I wonder what I will learn today?

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What do you see?

The other day I heard someone say that they didn’t generally get out and look at things. But do we not always look at things and not go out especially to do that? Maybe not. My thoughts at the time were about missing so much of what is out there around us. But then again I generally walk everywhere or use a mobility scooter as I do not drive.

So let’s look at what I see when I walk into town. I live on a hill which helps me to see much more of the town below me and the far distance. Generally I first notice the parked cars and people walking to work or school. Then I notice the flowers in the gardens as I pass by. I see that some are blooming now but last time I went past they were only in bud. I see the bees and the butterflies taking advantage of these flowers. In the distance I see the church and other tall buildings and in the far distance I can see the tops of houses and some trees. I cross the road and walk down the hill by the side of the cattle market complex. There are lots of shrubs by the wall of the building which houses the sheep and some of these shrubs have flowers. So there are lots of bees around. There are also many small birds which have most likely nested in the top of the building which has open sides. They chitter chatter as I walk past. There is a lot of traffic with many cars having loud music going on and also many people are walking. I wonder if they see what I see. I hear the sounds of the sheep and the cattle as they are put into pens ready to be sold. Now I am ready to cross another road into the town itself and my walk there has been full of interesting sights and sounds.

So here is another example. One day I was sitting in the town park watching the ducks with their tiny offspring on the pond. The ducklings were busy exploring the plants on the pond and then when they were tired they came out and curled up to sleep at the side in the bushes. There were also moorhens with their youngsters but they seemed to prefer a different part of the pond. The gentle breeze made the branches of the trees move and rustle and birds flitted amongst them. There were ripples on the pond caused by the ducks and moorhens as they swam around. I occasionally caught sight of a few damselflies and butterflies too. Across the other side of the pond a man was sleeping on a bench. While I was there he got up and walked away. I could hear the traffic on the main road but it did not really disturb the peace of the pond.

There are so many people who walk around and do not see what is around them. They never look up or down for that matter and often have a mobile phone by their ear. What a lot they are missing!

What do you see?

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Achievement

From our first days after birth we spend time trying to achieve things. We learn to smile, to feed ourselves, to crawl and walk and talk. At school we continue in this way, learning to read and write and so on. When we get to working age the effort to achieve continues. But what is achievement? It is according to the dictionary ‘a thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.’

But we all achieve at different speeds and this is something that is often forgotten. What comes easy to some is extremely hard for others. In the world of employment, achievement is often seen as having a very good well paid job, a nice house, the 2.4 children and a big car. But is this really an achievement? If you have this are you happy? Do you ever stop achieving?

For me and for many others who suffer with chronic pain, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is a big achievement and to manage to do other things during the day is an even bigger achievement.

Do you ever look back to see what you have achieved? I did this recently and thought about the books I had written, the blogs I write and then I felt that perhaps that was my ego talking. So should we be proud of our achievements and tell others what we have done? I know many authors who ‘push’ their books and bombard social media with their adverts. This is not for me. If someone wants to read my books then they will find their way to them. But let’s get back to achievement.

There are many people in the world who feel they have achieved nothing yet they go to work and do well and have all that they seem to need. Is feeling happy part of achievement? I think we also need to look back and see what we have learned and done over the years. Every thing we do successfully is an achievement so for those who find it hard to do something, who then manage to do it, they have achieved that something. Achievements don’t have to be large, they can be small everyday things so look at what you have achieved this morning before you read this blog.

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Staying calm in a chaotic world

Staying calm can sometimes be extremely difficult in the world of today. There is so much going on in the world around us as well as in the wider world and there is so much pressure to do this or do that or be that way not the other way and so on.

Many years ago when I was first working with the Reiki energy I learned to stop and take deep breaths when I was getting worked up about something or pressured into doing something that I knew was not right for me. I also gave myself a boost of the Reiki energy. But not everyone can do this so how can you stay calm when you need to be calm?

I find that just stopping whatever I am doing and looking around me at the world of nature outside my window calms me down. I love to watch what is going on outside the window in my garden. I can see butterflies and damselflies and lots of flying insects all busy about their daily work.

But what if you don’t have a garden outside your window but have noisy traffic and other sounds. Then you have to find a place in your imagination where you can go to when you need peace. Have you been on holiday somewhere or on a day out where you have found a place you really like and feel at peace there? This is the place you go to in your imagination when you need to feel calm and peaceful. It can only be for a minute but it will help. It is the stopping what you are doing and taking a few seconds or minutes out that does the trick. Don’t think of what is getting to you but think of the peaceful place you love. If you do this regularly then you will feel much better and get less stressed by everything that is going on. You will be more able to go with the flow of things as they occur and deal with them in a much easier way. So take a few minutes out at intervals during your day and see how much difference it can make.

Here is a photo taken in my garden this week.

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Hope

Hope is a word we use a lot. ‘I hope you are well’ or ‘I hope you get what you want’ are two examples. There are many more as I am sure you well know. But what do we mean by ‘hope’?

Generally in the cases above it is a feeling of expectation or a desire for something to happen. In some cases it is merely wishful thinking meaning ‘I’d like you to be well’ or ‘Id like you to get what you want’.

But hope can be seen as a capability to motivate ourselves and others in order to reach goals that we want but these have to be realistic of course. So many of us hope for things to happen that are definitely not realistic or to have things that we are never going to have.

However hope is important and can help people to get better when they are ill. If they believe they can get better then hope will help them to do so. If you are hopeful then you are also optimistic. Hope gives us the ability to see possible good in the future. Hope can make you feel positive and can improve your health. Hope creates self worth and gives you the strength to keep going. Hope gives you motivation which enables you to do things you had not known you could do.

Hope allows you to approach problems with your mind set on success. If you have hope, you can face the most negative times in your life with positivity. Hope therefore improves your mental health. Hope allows you to see opportunities in challenges; we often say ‘Look on the bright side’.

Here is a quote from Emily Dickinson ‘Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.’ And one final quote, author unknown, ‘Hope is the dream of a soul awake’.

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