Category Archives: Review

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye-Part 2

Well, a happy new year to y’all, lovely readers.  I’ve been itching to blog for the past week or so but haven’t quite found the time.  I find myself in-between jobs (a glorious thing!) but I am sooo busy that I’m struggling to fit the things that I want to do but don’t have to do.  I don’t make hard and fast resolutions any more but I always have a sense of the things that I want to achieve in the coming year.  One of these things has to be to say ‘no’ more and leave space for those ‘want to do’ things. Any way,  when I wrote Say Hello, Wave Goodbye-Part 1, I was aware of wanting to finish 2014 on a positive note so I wanted to share the things that had brought me pleasure; that I felt proud of.  However, there’s always a flip side, right?  So I made a commitment to write a Part 2 which would talk about some of the things that have been a challenge or that I have struggled with.  So here goes, in no particular order: 5 challenges I faced in 2014 (and as it goes, beyond that as well!)

  • The murders to Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice

In December 2014 I wrote a blog which was triggered by the decision of a grand jury not to indict the police officer who preformed an illegal choke-hold  Eric Garner, which killed him. I struggled to watch video footage of this man’s last moment will, they are so upsetting. This came in a succession of almost unbelievable news stories of Black men being killed by the US police, where the officers responsible would walk away from any responsibility for their actions.  This hurt.  Really badly. As I watched what appears to be open season on Black men in the US, I have struggled to comprehend how we live in a world where this is acceptable.  I have struggled as the parent to a son who, although born in the UK, will probably experience more than his fair share of hardships due to being male and the colour of his skin.  I am struggling to  comprehend what appears to be obvious; that black lives don’t matter.

  • Terrorism

This sounds broad, right?  How can I talk about this in a couple of paragraphs?  My caveat with this one is that I I recognise that there are many socio-political points to be made around the rise of these kinds of event.  And maybe I will try to have that discussion as some point.  But not today. So that being said, the murders by ISIS of journalist James FoleyUK aid worker David Haine and the US aid worker Peter Kassig were brutal and shocking, as they were meant to be.  There are many more than have been killed by this extremist group but these are the particular deaths that drew my attention to the horrors being committed by this group. The kidnap of over 2000 Nigerian school girls by another extremist group, Boko Harem, in April of 2014 is simply terrifying.  The parents of those girls still don’t have their children back, let alone know where they are; if they’re alive or dead. There are many angles I could go down here but simply put, I have despaired and continue to despair over the way human beings treat each other.  It is terrifying that anyone can have such disregard for another human life.  Being human and feeling empathy, it is hard to get my head around how this is even possible. And as anti-Muslim, anti-Islam rhetoric continues to build, I am concerned at the inability of many to separate the actions of a few individuals with the peaceful Muslim communities with share our lives with. And it would appear there are no easy answers to end this massacre of innocents.

  • Saying goodbye

In Part 1, I talked about this from the other side of the mirror, the positive side of ‘letting go’ but in letting go, there are always goodbyes.  As I rapidly approach 40 (a spring baby, I will be saying goodbye to my 30s in April), there has been a  sense of things shifting over the past 18 months.  A shift in perspective; a shift in relationships, in shift in my place in the universe.  I don’t mind this. It’s a process and I’m happy to be in it, but it is interesting to be in a process whilst reflecting and observing it at the same time.   It almost feels like clearing space for the next phase, whatever that will be. So there is an awareness of having made and continuing to make conscious decisions as I say ‘goodbye’ to some things.  But I know there are other things that I am in the process of saying goodbye to that I haven’t even got a clue about! And it is a challenge. It is difficult to accept change; that things are no longer what they were, especially if those things are much-loved and in perfectly decent working order! But change is inevitable, so bring it on.  I will continue to struggle with some of those goodbyes, I also know this is growing and learning and being.

  • Sitting with things

I am naturally ‘push’ kinda person.  I always have been.  I am a 1st born child, only girl and I am used to striding forth into the great unknown to do whatever I think needs doing at any particular moment in time.  This has (nearly always!) served me well.  Up until recently, I would never have really considered doing things any other way.  That is my way.  I accept it. Except I’ve had to question ‘my way’. Not in a ‘have I got this all wrong??’ kinda way.  It’s been more of an experiential thing.  I have agonised over making important decisions about career and family that, at the time, it felt crucial that I make a decision; that I knew what I was going to do and then I could get on with it.  And then life happened.  Having time to reflect on those events, I have come up with a few things that seem to be a constant:

  1. I am capable and resilient.  Even when I find myself in ridiculous situations (usually created by me), I will find a way of making it work.  It will work out fine.
  2. I have an incredibly supportive network of friends, family and colleagues around me.  This network will always offer at least part of a solution.  Trust it.
  3. Sometimes doing nothing is ok.

All that adds up to a ‘me’ that is trying to push less.  Or at least understand when I should push and when I should just sit.  Something that my neglected yoga practice always teaches me.

  • Accepting that accepting time is not elastic

This one makes me grumpy.  I admit, I have a problem with the concept of time.  I like to think that it bends and can manipulated by my wants and needs. I tend to fill my time up, constantly.  I have an interest in lots of things and I like to be engaged in the world around me.  This leads to a number of things:

  1. Over-committing myself
  2. Lateness
  3. Stress
  4. Me and the 5-year-old falling out in the morning due to nearly lateness

Now, on one hand my approach to time means that I get LOADS done.  I am able to juggle lots of things fairly competently and for me, this means I get to satisfy my many interests.  When I shuffle on this ball, I don’t want to regret the things I haven;t done. In the other hand, I do too much.  And time is not elastic.  It does not expand to allow for the one last thing I tend to do before rushing out the door.  It just means I am gonna be late or very nearly late. So, those are the things I struggled with in 2014 and am still struggling with.  Some of the big, depressing topics that I could only touch one.  Some of them very personal to me, little bit funny but very much part of my ongoing struggle to find balance. So, a hugely long post, which I don’t have time to edit down any more else I will be late for yoga.  And today, I am not going to be late.

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye-Part 1

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s about the time we all get a little bit reflective about what has passed.  The end of this year has certainly been a roller coaster for me and my family and I’ve been thinking about how to reflect that in what will be my final post for 2014.  The traditional way to review the year is unusually a ‘Top Ten..’ type list so I think I’ll stick with tradition and do the same (except as a ‘Top Five’!).

My Year In Review

Top 5  reasons to be cheerful

  • Our son starting school (and loving it!)

This is the year that our son, D, started school.  Those of you who are parents and have been through it will understand what a big deal this is.  The stress of looking at schools; the loooong wait to find out whether your child have been accepted into the school of your top choice; the anxiety of whether they will fit in and enjoy the new environment of ‘Big School’.  Fortunately D has taken to school like a duck to water and the settle in period passed with very little hiccup.  He was obviously ready for it and it is a joy to watch him run off in the mornings to play with his friends, to hear about the topics he’s learning and loving (space was hugely popular…) and to watch his progress as he reads books to us for his homework.  I am beyond happy that this has been a positive experience for him.

  • Taking my career to the next level

Last year, I took a year out to do some professional and personal development.  This was an amazing opportunity (and here I have to thank my magnificent husband for supporting me, financially AND emotionally on the journey!) which opened me up to a whole new network of people, range of experiences and opportunities.  This year has been about using that experience to create my ideal working life.  This has led to me negotiating a 3 day a week role in an organisation that reflects my values leaving me space to explore other areas on a freelance basis as well as more flexibility for me and my family.

This feels like an important step in my career which I have spent the last 2 years working towards.  Feeling very excited and just a little bit terrified!

  • Letting go of the things (and people) that no longer serve me

During my year out, I had access to a coach.  The ‘letting go of things that no longer serve you’ comes for a conversation I had with him very early into our coaching relationship.  This sentence has stuck with me and it often plays itself in my head when I am struggling wiht something that feels familiar or repetitive.  I have found it useful to challenge old, now defunct habits of mine as well as relationships that are no longer satisfactory or healthy.  Moving forward in this new phase of my life means redefining the terms of engagement.   A certain amount of acceptance is needed to really let go and, I can admit, this has not always come easily.  It’s definitely a work in progress but I find myself with more courage to take those steps and make those decisions.

  • Deepening bonds in new relationships 

Over the past couple of days, so many of my conversations have included

“Can you imagine if we never met?!!”

I love these kind of conversations because they are usually an acknowledgement of new bonds and unexpected alliances. Some of that ‘letting go’ I just mentioned has also allowed me to nurture relationships with others that have been at the heart of how I have experienced 2014. It has been a year of true highs but also some personal lows (of which I am not sure I can share on such a public forum).  These friends have laughed with me, shared in my joys and successes as well as holding me in pain and disappointments.  Many lessons have been learnt in the process and I look forward to the adventures to come with these women.

  • Starting and maintaining this blog!

I like to think of myself as a bit of frustrated writer.  It took some courage and gentle nudging to start the blog.  I was concerned about who would read it; who might be offended; how I might come across; the impact on my professional life.  And actually, none of my original concerns have outweighed the sheer joy of having created a space for me to be creative, reactive, challenging, joyful, sad, angry; whatever.  Here I am, claiming my space.  It has been fun to nurture this blog, see its readership increase and move from having solely UK based readers to blog views from South Africa and Russia.  I have particularity enjoyed hosting a guest blog from my fabulous Ghanaian Friend and we have many more collaborations to come, I’m sure. If you wanna see my blog in numbers, click here.

So, as I Say Hello to 2015 and Wave Goodbye to 2014, I have much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to.  Wishing all my lovely readers, inspirations and conspirators a very happy, healthy and wise 2015.  Catch up with me again in January 2015 for part 2 of this blog…..

See y’all on the other side.