A Catch Up
It has been a while since I wrote one of my ‘chatty’ posts and so I thought it was time to have a catch up ~ this time, a letter of sorts.
With Spring, in the northern hemisphere, came a sudden rush of visible activity outdoors – leaves popping open, blooms appearing by the day, winds going crazy, frosts threatening to fold spring bulbs, and talk of much climate change … but no heavy and lasting snow this time. For me, indoors mostly, April 2019 vanished in a flash of internet speed and lots of learning about all manner of things and now, as I write, we are at the end of May.
Somehow I have managed to slip in the odd occasional post on my blog, which many of you will also receive by email, and thus you will know that I have not altogether disappeared! My focus has merely been on a range of different projects and my learning slopes have been steep.
When I began writing this post, I had just come in from the garden, after speaking with Richard, the loyal and stoic local man who has been doing the lawn mowing at our home for about nine years. He was telling me of a number of things that had ‘gone wrong’ for him this week, and that he had been battling all sorts of pressure in the areas of car tyres, mobile phones, mowing equipment, and the antics of some very challenging people ~ those who simply do not perform their jobs with competence and mindful skill.
I have so much admiration for this man, who has overcome intense health issues over the course of his forty something years. It is not like him to share his woes at all, however. Richard usually gets on with his work quietly, with determined strength and dedication, doing everything in mindful order and with the greatest resilience and calm that I have been privileged to witness out in the sticks.
We agreed that sometimes it is the very people whom we depend on to do a job, who get in the way of our progress and for that to not disrupt our lives entirely, all we can do is manage ourselves …. breathe … be calm … meditate … direct our own thoughts … focus our own actions … and protect our precious bodies and brains from the negative stress.
What have I been up to, you might ask, that has taken me from my more frequent or conversational blog posts – indeed, from posting much at all on The Holly Tree Tales of late? What is some of the latest news that might be of interest? For a start, in March and April particularly, there were endless issues with internet provision and speed in our locale. May vanished, along with its stop starts, as I have attempted to catch my tail, to catch up on many projects and to achieve new targets and goals.
Living and working in the countryside, as I have done for several years, communications are often more challenged than in the city or suburban areas where broadband is fast, reception is reliable, and smooth operation ‘a given’ most days. Here, all can go extremely well, comms utterly smooth, if slow … until a power surge … and then everything stops … If and when the internet gurgles, more churning takes place in the wheels that I am trying to oil and if email provision ceases … well, of course, all types of hell break loose … I lose my flow … and others even wonder where I am.
Nobody knows the acrobatics … no one would guess at the swings and roundabouts … with my hair in place and my make up on, whether at home or when I go out, nobody would suspect that I’ve just done cartwheels, deep breathing, and headstands in order to achieve my calm … and in control … efficient … friendly … in flow … facade. I love to be real and being authentic in every way matters greatly to me, but sometimes it is necessary to fool even ourselves. How? By caring about our appearance and making the effort to at least look as if all is under command.
Remember this …
Back to the Spring …
With internet issues, emails disappearing, servers / hosts changing et al, some who have waited to hear from me might translate a certain delay or lack of communication as rude …. but I have had no time whatsoever to stop and contemplate that! I shall catch up with all, somehow. Meantime, the wheels of life need attention and the daily challenges have been coming thick and fast – so has resolution, clarity, project evolution, awareness, growth, thank goodness. Most of the growth is behind the scenes and with the longer term in mind as I press on.
Sir Winston Churchill famously said “Never, Never, Never Give Up!” and so I shan’t. We are definitely of a singular and very like mind. I shall soldier on, regardless of the pitfalls, potholes and obstructions … like the little engine who could … and the summit will be reached, and then the next taken on. That is, after all, what life is all about for the adventurous, yes?
Those who have followed my journey for the past few years, will know that I have had to push through with sheer determination, to recover from a debilitating breakdown in 2006, which has taken me a long time to get over and to grow to where I have my confidence back. This journey has been full of setback and increased pressure too, but I am winning and that to me is what matters the most.
The future looks so much brighter now, than it did a few short years ago. I would not, however, wish this type of journey on anyone. It is an invisible battle that few understand unless they have been broken too … and it takes many tools and strategies to conquer, made much harder without support or consistency and the security that one needs, in place.
Once we push through what holds us back, and we get to the other side, our empathy and our compassion come out of the experience freshly washed too. This is the reward, this is the flower, this is the tree that others admire and wish to learn from or take refuge beneath. It makes the whole hellish ride a hugely valuable gem, one that can shine wisdom and insight onto your path ahead, to light the way for others as well.
If you have not yet seen them, I would encourage you to read my blogposts called “Brain Health Meets The Innercise Book” and “Innercise Book ~ A Review”, and to invest in the book by New York Times bestselling author, John Assaraf, who applies all that he has written about, himself. Read and learn from the book, write in it, note the jewels of neuroscientific insight, journal what you discover about yourself and absorb the concise content of the book, so that it works well for and enhances the quality of your life. I recommend this book as an invaluable tool, for every person who would like to upgrade their lives by upgrading their thinking and improving general brain health. I have special links to the book, which is available on Amazon.
For UK Orders: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1947637827/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=hollymmb-21&linkId=9e18bf02e2a13f686d9ea362dbec4104&language=en_GB
For USA Orders: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1947637827/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=hollymmb-20&linkId=b1f231f499f07b5db8ffcc63312d4f36&language=en_US
Please note: I shall soon be increasing the number of links I can offer, specific to orders in other countries as well. Hopefully one or other of these two links will work for you in the meantime.
If you have been following The Holly Tree Tales for a while, you might have noticed that I have been interested to know if and how one might grow healthier and stronger, in our mental capacity particularly, as we grow older – indeed to thrive rather than to ‘go downhill’ with age. I was therefore thrilled to learn a few years ago that it is entirely possible to re-flex our brains and that our lives can improve as we increase in the number of our years.
Now an avid ‘student’ of the NeuroGym programmes and part of a growing community of like-minded others, I am loving learning about and growing through what we are being taught about neuroscience. There are regular rescreenings of what is known as The BrainAThon, if you are curious to discover more about this most wonderful organism, your brain, and how it might be used to enhance your life, please do register soon to attend. They are usually screened at the weekends and run for several hours. Click this link, to take you to the registration page: http://www.myneurogym.com/go/?p=JAAFF7992&w=LBAT2017REG
Part of the reason why my regular ‘blogging’ has taken a bit of a back seat, too, is that I have been studying, as if at university, and have been learning many new skills, never attempted nor in some cases even heard of before. Those who have been Readers of my blog and subscribers by email since its inception in January 2015, will know what a massive leap it was for me to tiptoe into the waters of the blogging world. Now I am attempting to leap and to fly beyond even the blog.
Before I began to write on The Holly Tree Tales stage, I had no idea what a blog was, let alone how the whole thing was supposed to work, nor obviously how to drive the steam tank … it has been a slow slow slow slow process to gain momentum with my blogging prowess, which this year is picking up speed, as I gain expediency with the proficient working of my brain as well. This is a relief and it is a remarkable thing all round. I have created a number of new parts to the blog and am learning a range of up-to-date skills in the digital age, alongside. It is such great fun, combining REAL LIFE with the wonders of the internet and all the technology that we have at our disposal.
What is helping to shift the mental blocks? Brain training, innercise, focus, determination, organising my time, intention, awareness, breathing mindfully, learning something new every single day, sharing insights in community online, doing something every day towards my various goals. How am I achieving this, when previously everything was so very hard?
The answer would have to be – given the nearly 11 years of uphill struggle to make progress back to my usual self before that:
2. being fed up with being limited and thus determined to break out
3. my regular attendance at WordPress MeetUps since December 2017
4. attending a WordCamp and absorbing a lot of new information that way
5. attending a couple of leadership conferences by Alpha International , as well.
All of these and more have been stretching, stretching, stretching me – all the time breaking down walls and growing back into myself, almost back to being the person I was when I first arrived in the UK in 1985.
My faith helps ENORMOUSLY in this struggle for freedom and flow, hugely fed into by my daily bible reading, prayer and praise, positive mindset, supportive friends, and also the regular intake of enlightened messages via TBN UK tv, which provides unbelievable strength and resolve to keep on when life presses back.
Quite remarkably, given my former nervousness and having to double check everything I did, an uncertainty about my ability to deliver and so much besides, I surprised myself when I gave a talk to a group earlier this year.
Having thought I would put myself forward to do public speaking, very tentatively via my blog, I then grabbed the bull by the horns and stepped up to the plate, offering to speak at one of the WordPress gatherings in Edinburgh. It was a hugely appreciated opportunity for me, a greatly liberating experience to have achieved, and I received many enthusiastic compliments about my talk. I spoke about the role of my blog in my own and in others’ lives, and the blog learning process that I have experienced, the growing agility which has come out of that.
This is me, doing my thing at Code Base, speaking to the assembled (international) WordPress Edinburgh crowd, about being a writer and a blogger with WordPress Dot Com …
I am ready to take on more of these speaking challenges now. Please get in touch, if you would like me to give a talk to your group – about blogging, or leadership, or any of the subjects that feature on my blog.
Those of you who follow my Instagram page, will have seen that many of my posts there have contained lengthy written content and have served as ‘blog posts’ of sorts. I am in the process of retrieving some of the content stashed into written form under my pictures in Instagram, converting them to the blog itself. Please do feel free to follow my Instagram page, if that is one of your places of connection online … tap on the image to take you there:
Also, if you’re following my Instagram, you might have come across a little video that I posted there recently, which was created as an off-the-cuff experiment, to practise being in front of others ‘just as I am’, spontaneously and without preparation nor script. The video was posted onto The Holly Tree Tales’ Facebook page as well.
On Friday 31 May 2019, at long last, I took the leap and landed on the YouTube stage having thought about doing so for some time. This is quite a feat for me and took a fair amount of courage to do!
So, here is my first ever video on YouTube:
All of these things take technical know-how and patience and a great deal of perseverance to achieve, despite seeming so effortless once they are done!
My next adventure is to compile a tiny ebook of poems, which will soon land on the internet stage. I have been preparing for this for months and look forward to conquering it soon!
The blog is continuing to evolve and I have been working on The Welcome / Home page, where you’ll see additional information about the website and blog. I have incorporated a new Testimonials page and have created a Shop / Donate / Affiliate section as well.
If you have not yet come across it, I have created a flexible Reading List for the blog’s Readers to browse and this is added to from time to time. The Reading List had its moment of fame recently, when it was up on the big screen at the local WordPress MeetUp, which was fun.
Philanthropy / Sustainability:
Towards Greener Borders
You will, I’m sure, have been hearing a lot in the news about climate change and the need for leaders in government and business worldwide to take proactive steps towards radical positive change, in how we manage our resources, buildings, farming practices, tree planting requirements, flooding, drought situations etc.
What many do not yet realise, is that there is also a lot of harm being done to our environment and to our and a variety of species’ health, by the spraying of chemicals to control pests and by the use of synthetic fertilisers to grow food.
For true sustainability to have any chance of success, we have to address what we are doing to the biodiversity and to the health of the populace of our precious planet, and to the species of plants and animals that are affected too.
To this end, I set up a page on Facebook a few years ago, to educate and share information about nature, and our relationship to it, as well as highlighting the need to care for health and to stop toxic spraying. Please follow the page, to help it increase its reach further afield and to grow its global community. You will find Towards Greener Borders on Twitter and at its main site: www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders.
Last but not least, if you would like to receive an email when new blogposts are published at The Holly Tree Tales, please click the button to follow the blog and enter your email address. This will also enable you to receive future newsletters.
That brings us just about up to speed, for the moment at least.
Until next time … be mindful and stay on the bright side!
Follow the The Holly Tree Tales’ Facebook page for insights and posts there too.