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Attitude & Altitude

Can a conversation with a taxi driver alter your life’s journey?

 

Recently I was very privileged to have a conversation with what I can only describe as an amazing human “being” – a taxi driver.  He told me he was 80 and when asked why he wasn’t retired and taking life easy, he said his wife had died recently and he had nobody to talk to at home.  I though how sad and lonely that must be but he proceed to tell me that he took up taxi driving because he enjoyed chatting to customers.

He told me he had come through throat cancer, a heart attack, a stroke and recently had his knee replaced.  His friend introduced him to music and as a result he has been going to college, learning music for the last 3 years.  I told him he was amazing and asked what was his secret?  He replied “two things, attitude and altitude”.  I asked what he meant and was blown away when he said “It’s all down to how I look at things, my “attitude” and my love of sky diving or “altitude”.  His last sky dive was in February of this year!  He also uses Facebook!  Hands up anybody who would like to be this adventurous, tech savvy and active at 80 plus!

So can we broaden our horizons of understanding of life by studying our taxi driver?    How many widows or widowers are home alone and lonely?  How difficult must life be when a life-partner dies and leaves you all alone?  How many days might you go without talking to another adult?  What determination and resilience must it take to face up to this new stage of life?  If our mental and physical health allow, we can seek out social interaction and new challenges.  However, if our physical health restricts our movement, life’s horizons becomes limited.  Likewise if anxiety or depression are present, it might accelerate loneliness by resisting social interaction and increasing isolation.  Can we be proactive like this taxi driver?  How can we continue “being” when life as we knew it is no more?  Our taxi driver resisted isolation, he sought out social interaction – human company through his taxi business.  He engaged in new learning.  He maintained a positive attitude and took on new challenges in life and online.  And what can we do?  We can begin by questioning our attitude to life.  Are we on a roundabout, just going round and round?  In other words are we living without questioning our thoughts and behaviours?  Are we caught in ground-hog day, denying ourselves the opportunity to grow, to learn from our experiences.  We can take time out to consider ourselves, our family and our neighbours.  Let’s keep an eye out in our family and neighbourhood for somebody who might be a lonely and give a gentle check-in to ascertain how they’re coping.  Or how about visiting a local Nursing or Retirement Home. Maybe our visit could brighten somebody’s day and we might even be takenaback by how positive that makes us feel!

I wish you a day filled with happiness in your own company or in the company of others!

 

 

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Bullying & Beyond…Shame

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

When your child is being bullied at school, it is important to reach out and find professional support.  There is a lot of qualified support out there but it is very important to find a counsellor that you and/or your child can relate to.  The trust you build with your counsellor is vital to the healing process.

Shame is an important aspect of bullying and an aspect I’d like to raise awareness of.  Teachers carry a heavy task, large class sizes and a wide variety of needs to be met but I think it’s important, for parents and teachers, to be very aware that children remember shaming remarks and wear them like a label, long after the event. The emotional growth of children is stunted if they are shamed in front of their siblings or peers.

I’d like to share a post from the blog of Jim O’Shea, Counsellor. http://www.jimoshea.net/shaming-children-leaves-a-lasting-impact-and-gives-them-core-shame-which-they-bring-into-adult-life/

This experienced and knowledgeable gentleman played an important part in providing insights that helped us heal our family.  Of course when you gain insights from counselling, you can choose to learn from them and use them to heal your family or if you so wish, not learn from them or use them.  At the end of the day, the path you choose is up to you…

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Shaming children leaves a lasting impact and gives them core shame which they bring into adult life

Shaming remarks made to children under twelve have a more drastic and permanent impact that can become core because, like parents, teachers spend a lot of time with them, and the frequency of these remarks is a key element in laying the crop of shame. A combination of parental and teaching shaming is particularly damaging and reinforces the sense of not being good enough in the child. We can choose not to shame any child. Education is not just about intellectual or cognitive development, it must include emotional nourishment as well, which is facilitated by praise and allowing children the space to interact with each other. So, I will leave this part of the blog with a simple poem by an unknown poet on the practical difference between shame and praise –

“I’ve got 2 A’s” the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee
His father very bluntly asked
“Why did you not get three?”

“I’ve mowed the grass” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away”.
His father asked him with a shrug,
“Did you clean off the clay?

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done,”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said
“And did you sweep the floor?”

The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went:

“I’ve got 2 A’s the small boy cried,
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very proudly said
“That’s great! I’m glad you live with me.”

“I’ve mowed the grass,” the tall boy said
“And put the mower away,”
His father answered with much joy,
“You’ve made my happy day”

“Mom, I’ve got the dishes done”
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
“Each day I love you more.”

Children need encouragement
For tasks they’re asked to do
If they’re to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you.

Posted in Shame
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Highest achievers?

 

The results of Ireland’s Leaving Certificate State Exam were released on the 13th of August.

This exam is the culmination of five years of study and it holds the key to the future of many students.

For months before the exams, which are held each year in June, two things happen.

1.  Some students don’t cast the upcoming exams a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves to the point of mental and physical distress over sitting these exams.

For weeks before the results are released in August, two things happen.

1.    Some students don’t cast the upcoming  results a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves out worrying about the outcome or points they will achieve.

And that is the story of life.

The students at 1. above, takes things in their stride, they do not struggle with their emotions or become anxious.

The students at 2. above, are predisposed to an anxious nature.  They struggle to handle their emotions and cope with stress.

And that is the human story or condition.  We are all different, in how we see the world and how we cope in the world.

The Leaving Certificate acknowledges the high achievers and rightly so!  It tabulates the results and rewards students accordingly.  It is a grading system.  It however, fails to grade students on how they function and cope emotionally or psychologically.

So please consider a few important things.

1.  Look past the A4 sheet of Academic Outcomes and see that each student, teenager, boy, girl, non-gender, behind the A4 grading system is individual, unique, different and consider how they truly feel. They may not be the highest achiever in maths or biology but they might be the highest achiever in resilience or mental health management.

2.  Don’t compare them to others.  It doesn’t matter what their friends or peers got.  Don’t expect them to get the same results. Do expect them to react or cope in very different ways and be there for them, if their world falls apart.  Be calm, be capable and let them see that by supporting each other this will all work out!

3.  If you are a teacher or parent and your student, son or daughter haven’t reached the exam stage yet, then make the most of it!  Tell them, right the way through school, how unique and different they are.  Watch out for and acknowledge their high achievements, whether it is academic or simply turning in for school.  Remind them that they have numerous talents, some of which will be uncovered academically and many, many more which will only surface when they study at the college of life!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

Doris & Emma’s Journey…

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Doris will be an “extraspectacular” Psychiatric Assistance Dog

 

This is Doris!

and she’s in the kitchen

Together with Emma

They are cooking up a symphony

That will paint Ireland pinky red

Or better still Magenta

As they succeed in bringing

Psychiatric Assistance Dogs to Ireland!

Together they have lobbied politicians and the

Minister for Disability Issues

Finian McGrath

To compile a proposal to Government

Granting public access rights

To Psychiatric Assistance Dogs

So that people, like Emma, who live

With mental health conditions

Can bring a trained Psychiatric Assistant Dog

With them to public places

Just as users of Guide Dogs for the blind

Or Autism Support Dogs have benefitted

From their canine companions

And Doris will be an “extraspectacular” Psychiatric Assistance Dog

Being the first of her kind in Ireland!

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/three-things-challenge-pl149/

And…

Did you know that…

Magenta Ain’t A Colour

By Liz Elliott

Magenta is an “extraspectral” color.

Sir Isaac Newton noticed that magenta did not exist in the spectrum of colors from white light when he played with prisms.

But when he superimposed the red end of the spectrum on to the blue end, he saw the color magenta (this can be done with two prisms to make two spectral spreads, “rainbows”):

Magenta is the only color that does not exist as a single wavelength of light

For more interesting facts and optical illusions  check out…

http://www.biotele.com/magenta.html

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Unusual…

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Hooch, our rescue greyhound, looking a little unusual!

 

Calmkate, aroused Fun Friday… Unusual

 

Friday Fun – unusual

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…Perpetuating Social Norms…

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

Today I would like to share T.S’s very emotive, true story from his blog “Crazywriterof6.” As I read T.S’s distressing reality, I felt my body became anxious.  I felt his apprehension and fear.  His sense of loneliness and isolation is palpable.  He says… “Maybe some of you can relate and see that even then, you weren’t alone”. No child should be in dread every day, isolated and living with the fear of bullying!

In my last post I wrote about the difficulty I had in supporting my children, both victims of bullying, because of the pressure on victims to remain silent.  You might like to read it… Big Boys…Don’t Cry!

We now hear in T.S’s own words, his deeply ingrained and debilitating belief as to why he was bullied… “The torture continued. Many moments before this event, many after. I have written some of them out, just to get them out. All this because I was different than the “normal people”, different from what society says I should be. Different because I was overweight”.  I believe he was not different… everybody is different and everybody has the right to be respected for who and how they are.

Please enhance your understanding by reading his story…

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/48424428/posts/20

At a funeral yesterday, one sentence struck me, that sentence was “We could all be better people,” meaning we could all do more to be there for others.

Let’s break down the silence and begin a cross cultural, worldwide conversation about bullying.  Let’s educate ourselves and our children about bullying and let’s tear down out-dated social norms.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

 

Bullying & Beyond…Denial

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

When we deny who we are and how we really feel, either physically and/or mentally we silence our authentic self.  We reject ourselves. For years I didn’t admit that I have fibro/fatigue, except to a few family members and close friends. When we reject ourselves we are bullying ourselves. We think we are not good enough, we focus on our flaws and feel a sense of shame.

Similarly, when we are bullied we are also silenced. We are judged by someone and denied the opportunity to be our real selves. We think we are not good enough and we withdraw from society or family. When we withdraw emotionally we block off our true emotions, denying ourselves the right to acknowledge and feel our emotions.

When our daughter experienced bullying, it caused her to step into survivor mode. She put up a front whilst crying inside.  She couldn’t let the bullies see her crying. She knew if she broke down crying, it would fuel even more bullying.

After finishing secondary school she moved past bullying, building back her resilience. She participated in further education and in society. She set and achieved many new goals. She met new and inclusive peers, friends and educators. All these mature, self-aware people bolstered her confidence.

However, even if it’s been years since you were bullied, a simple, present day event may unexpectedly trigger the same feelings. This was the case for our daughter.  It only took one educator to criticise Emma and her work, in front of her peers, to bring our daughter right back to survival mode.

This time it was different. Emma found the courage to address the issue to her school counsellor. She sought advice. She spoke up to that educator. She stood up for herself. She didn’t need to call upon her parents. She was self-sufficient.

But despite speaking up for herself, the trauma of being disrespected and denied the right to be herself, triggered her survival mode. All the things she could do with ease soon became overwhelming. That was almost nine months ago.

Anxiety
Low mood
Mood swings
Isolation
Fear
Agoraphobia
Panic attacks
Loneliness

All symptoms of bullying.

Then Emma’s new puppy, Doris arrived.

 


More mental health support came on-board.  But there are still ups and downs.

She felt lonely a few nights ago but she didn’t deny her feelings. She didn’t hide it. She cried for the loneliness and for the years of denying her true self.  You can learn more about isolation here Bullying & Beyond…A victim’s abject loneliness.

She cried while we were away, only showing us a glimpse when we returned. But a glimpse is enough to show us that she has turned a corner because now she is beginning to listen to and acknowledge how she feels.  She is learning to externalise how she feels instead of internalising the pain. That is a big step and an important lesson!

We can also learn a lesson from her new, trainee Psychiatric Assistance Dog, Doris.

Doris saw Emma’s upset. Doris didn’t deny her. The opposite in fact, Dorris, a little puppy, stretched herself across our daughter’s lap and kissed and licked her. Dorris accepted Emma exactly as she was.

Have you been denied the right to be yourself?  Do you deny yourself? What supports can you access to build your resilience and be your true self?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Gardens… the path of life

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge…Gardens

 

 

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The path of life…

 

Japanese Gardens

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond…Big Boys…

 

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

Whenever our daughter was bullied she would invariably come home upset and tell us or sometimes her upset would become obvious to us after a while, when we took the time to Really Listen!

It was always upsetting to see her so distressed, usually she felt very lonely having been excluded or she was confused and frustrated as to why she was constantly called names and verbally abused. But either way we could comfort her and reassure her that the bullying was not about her but always about the bullies.

However, it was not so easy to offer support when our son experienced bullying simply because you can’t help a child who is being bullied, if you don’t know about it.

For a long time, our son kept the bullying to himself and kept the upset deep inside. I think our son did not want to add to our worries by sharing the difficulty he was having.  I also think another contributing factor to his silence, was social norms. These powerful messages or ways of behaving which are normalised within a society or culture are very powerful and from a young age, boys are conditioned to be tough, be manly, don’t be a cry-baby, a tell-tale, or “a grass,” running with the story to parents or teachers and above all, they are bombarded with the message that whatever you do… don’t cry!

If you’d like an excellent insight into bullying I highly recommend you visit Weeping Pines and read Parikhit’s post which shares his experience of bullying… Boys dont Cry

https://duttaparikhit.wordpress.com/2018/07/20/boys-dont-cry/

If you suspect your son is being bullied, discuss bullying in general while having dinner together.  Point out that asking for help means being strong not weak. An analogy might be helpful such as saying: When you play hurling you don’t do everything alone – so it’s important to have a team around you in life too! It might also help to compare asking for help to being similar to training: A good sportsman needs to practice the things he is not good at or things that are new for him, so asking for help also takes practice.

Have you or your child been bullied?  If so did cultural and social norms play a part in maintaining your distress?

Let’s get a conversation going about bullying! Let’s break down the silence around bullying and change some out-dated social and culturally accepted norms.

Le grà (with love),

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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