Monday 25th March 2019

What Is Kindness? #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2018.7.

What Is Kindness? #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2018.7.

I wrote about kindness in January last year and I have to say, seeing the word above where I write via my computer reminded me many times over to BE KIND…both to others and myself. I did not know then of course, that the pain in my mouth would be diagnosed in May at cancer and that my life as I knew it till that time was O.V.E.R. Yet, I also did not know back in January and through until that awful day in May 2017 how much my life would be impacted by:

                                  I                 E       S

From the news I shared on-line and via friends and family I was the humble recipient of so much kindness! It blew me away. I wondered why and that was my own inner voice of inadequacy and lack of worthiness ruling my thoughts then. When I let that voice retreat to the back of my mind I was calmer and then more understanding of how many people wanted to, and did, express their kindness towards me.

That kindness came in many forms: phone calls, texts, private messages, comments on my blog and FB pages, letters, gifts, flowers and visitors. Why did it take me some time to absorb this?

I guess, like most, I am more comfortable with GIVING kindness than RECEIVING it.

It became something I needed to learn, and quickly too, as if I was to continue to take part in my cancer treatments, mostly surgeries, I would need to be a FRIEND to MYSELF and speak both GENTLY and KINDLY to me.

Self-c0mpassion and adjusting my self-talk has become a lesson I have learned, and am still learning in my life as I move into this year’s cancer surgery and more.

Recently I asked this question on Facebook “what is kindness?” and received a great list of responses. Each person’s initial is next to their response. I was blown away with the readiness of people to do this and that each answer had a varient of sorts.

It’s a mixture of generosity and consideration, wrapped in friendliness and delivered with an open heart. A.W.A.

The selfless elevation of the needs of others above your own, an extension of empathy, generosity and care. B.K.

Thoughtfulness, unselfishness, empathy. A.S.

It’s not wanting anything in return. K.L.

Listening without needing to have or provide the answers. Empathy without necessarily intellectually understanding. J.W. 

Thinking of others and how you can make them smile. S.C.

Performing an act of selfless generosity, anonymously. M.W.

Kindness is doing something to brighten someone else’s day – unasked and without expectation of reciprocation. It’s about thinking of what you can do for others, rather than what others can do for you. R.B.

Tolerance, respect, generosity. A.O’B.

Helping others in time of need. K.M.

Kindness to me is noticing. B.M.

Kindness is the gift of someone’s time. It’s being listened to, cared about or just simply being made feel of importance. It’s about being ‘seen’. It’s a selfless act with no expectation of anything in return. M.G. 

A friendly, open person who treats others with respect, consideration & empathy. P.D. 

Kindness is strength. It’s often mistaken for weakness, but it is far from that. True kindness has boundaries, AND compassion. A.H. 

In short supply. L.Mcl.

My image and words:

 

I went to find quotes from others too. It would seem kindness is not only very important but necessary today as always. I will finish with the words from these people too. I trust that you have found the topic of KINDNESS as interesting and as universal as I have!

 

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

~ Amelia Earhart

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do. ~ Helen Keller

When words are both true and kind, they can change the world. ~ Buddha

source: http://www.spreadkindness.org/kindness-quotes

My image and words:

What will you do today to be kind?

How has someone’s kindness affected you?

Tell us more in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for her Open Slather link up.

Join in here today for #LifeThisWeek 4/52.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week is the FIRST ‘PHOTO PROMPT’: 5/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS  29/1/18.


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NEWS: Share Your Snaps! Part of 2018 Link-Up. #LifeThisWeek 2018. 2017.114.

NEWS: Share Your Snaps! Part of 2018 Link-Up. #LifeThisWeek 2018. 2017.114.

In the past few years I have really enjoyed linking up to Photo link ups.

This year, however, saw most of those I linked up with regularly no longer continue for various reasons. Blogging is like that as we all know. I too have changed the frequency of my blog posts in 2017 from almost every day to twice a week. For the chance to see more blogs and to visit them too, I link up to a number of people’s regular link-ups.

Mondays: mine! Alicia’s here on One Mother Hen called Open Slather and here with Kell on her blog All Mum Said for Mummy Mondays.

Tuesdays: Kylie’s at Kylie Purtell here called I Blog on Tuesdays

Thursdays: Leanne’s at Deep Fried Fruit here for Lovin’ Life.

That is it! I no longer link to US-based or predominantly US blogs as there is not a lot of connection back to the this blog.

But, here’s the thing. I miss my chance to link up photos. I know some link-ups are called Wordless for the fact that they are all photo-based and that’s cool. However, I could rarely add mine without some sort of explanation.

So….I am not introducing a new link-up as that is both a cost to me in terms of money and time so I am doing this:

Each 5th Week on my Monday Life This Week Link-Up will be titled Share Your Snaps.

Snaps of course being an old-fashioned word for photos!

If you have some photographs to share, then that’s your chance OR continue posting that week what ever you planned . As you know Life This Week is prompt-optional!

I chose each week ending in a 5 or a 0 so I could remember….

So, I hope that if you are a blogger who also likes to share your snaps, then the place to do that in link-up form will be every 5th week in the Life This Week Link Up held here in 2018.

The first week for Share Your Snaps will be Monday 29 January 2018.

I would love to know what you all think of this idea. Happy to hear your suggestions too!

Denyse.

On Tuesdays I link here with Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays.

On Thursdays I link here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life.

 

 

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15 Years Ago & Now. 2017.104.

15 Years Ago & Now. 2017.104.

Fifteen Years Ago.

As I have written before, and is part of my bio, I was a K-6 School Principal in a N.S.W. Public School from 1999-2003. Before then I had been a relieving principal in two schools from 1994-1998. In 1999 I was appointed, by merit selection, to this school. The brief, once I was appointed, from my boss, the District Superintendent was “Denyse, I want you to bring this school into the 21st Century.” He was correct in that. It certainly was stuck back in probably an era two decades earlier. When I began in January 1999, replacing the former principal who died in the September school holidays earlier, I literally had to start the school’s organisation and planning from scratch. Why? Because the person I replaced trusted no-one and kept all leadership matters to himself,  and died with all the school passwords and information for getting things up and running. I took over a mess.

But I love a challenge and there were some good people who wanted to come along on this journey into the century we were on the cusp of entering. The school executive team was keen and wanted to learn more and  I could definitely help them with this and we formed a good group. Until the end of that first year. It really was a change that I could not stop and is part of what happens in school systems anyway but it made my job more challenging for sure. The school was unique in the area at that time with: mainstream classes, a special education unit of 3 classes, 2 O.C. (gifted and talented) classes and an Autism Satellite Class. Two of the people who were part of the executive team sought and got promotions elsewhere. Yes. I would encourage that of course. However, it left a hole for a bit which I was able to carry myself until I could get some new staff appointed.

Over the next 2 years however, this plan started to waiver. I had appointed a person to an executive role who was not up to the role. I take responsibility for that but it was a most unpleasant time as his continued absence from school due to ‘illness’ meant I had parents (and some teachers) calling for action. In the end, my district superintendent moved this person on and I could fill the role internally. I was relieved for a little while but then my best and most competent person in my team had to leave to have her first child. This was lovely for her and her husband and I wished her well. The remaining executive member who was my age decided to take Long Service Leave for the remainder of the year.

This meant I had NO fully qualified person holding an executive role in my very busy and varied school community.  But what did I do? I appointed people who were staff members who said they would like to learn more about the role and support the school  by taking on relieving roles for the remainder of 2002. This worked in some ways but I needed to take on more of their responsibilities myself or guide them step by step. It was as if I was doing multiple roles. I could sense how much I had taken on in June that year when I ended up writing a casual teacher’s class reports!

 

I did not know what this was doing to my mental health although I probably should have read the signs. I sought time out from the school to attend meetings and to meet with colleagues but at NO TIME did I actually tell my boss what it was like for me. In fact, I had said farewell to the District Superintendent who’d appointed me at his retirement and he was replaced by someone in an acting position. And, it still is the same now, a principal is meant to handle anything and everything that comes up. Well. Maybe in 2017 there might be greater awareness of principals’ mental health but not when I was becoming unwell. Even though I did not know it. I can look back now and see I was quick to anger and showed my displeasure when people did not comply because of their own incompetencies or my ‘view’ of how they should behave in the role. This led to….the following:

On a September evening in 2002 I received a telephone call at home from one of my relieving executive staff. She told me that there would be a delegation of staff coming to me the next day to make a complaint about my manner and behaviour. She said they had contacted our union and that person would be at the school. She also said that there was a rumour it was because of me that the school population was declining and that as that would mean at least one staff member would have to be transferred then I needed to step up. I could and did dispute this as the reason as schools’ populations change for a variety of reasons but instead I reacted personally.

This sure was a bolt out of the blue. But then again, I actually could see how my behaviour had changed and recognised that I was fast losing my grip on being a leader. Within moments of the conversation ending, and letting my husband know what had occurred I broke down. In tears and physical distress I knew I had to protect my health/self and I could NOT face such a meeting. I could not reach my boss and had to wait till the next day. I did not sleep and went to my G.P. as soon as I could that morning. It was very unlike me not to continue to be at work.

That day, 4th September 2002, she declared that I was suffering from anxiety and depression  due to work overload and that she would start the process of a work cover application.

I never went back to that school, that role or saw anyone other than my boss and the local district HR staff again. It was final and I NEVER  could have seen me, a competent and dedicated teacher, finishing my career JUST.LIKE.THAT.

Now.

So much time has passed and yet this time of 15 years ago remains very clear. It is imprinted upon my mind as ‘the time when I failed to do the job I was appointed for‘. Then again  as was  the culture of the time it meant I could not share how I was managing with anyone. Mental health management  in the workplace is hopefully becoming more recognised but there is still a huge stigma attached and shame as well. My shame is decreasing each time I tell my story. It did take courage for me to start to tell my story a few years ago because I did not want to admit my so-called ‘failings‘ as a school principal. I am the one who labelled these, no-0ne else.

The upshot of what happened to me impacts me still in some ways. I did have the claim for workcover met and was paid accordingly. However, as in all workcover matters many steps need to be followed as the recipient and these include ‘return to work’ plans. I simply could not do that. My GP was adamant that I NEVER return to that school nor to the role of principal. Interestingly when I was first on leave I could not even attend my grandchild’s school without a great deal of fear and anxiety.

I was treated by more than my GP. I had to attend meetings with my employer and work cover and to see a psychiatrist and psychologist but what they all wanted me to do I could not. I could not even drive on the road that would lead me to my old school. I was scared!

If I knew what I know now about myself I think I may have been prepared to expose myself to the experience of coming to work at the local district office instead of refusing (avoiding) because I felt such fear and shame. I also think with the knowledge I have now about my mental toughness and resilience that I could have stayed employed.

But no, as I found in early 2003, I HAD to resign my role and give up any rights so that I could, hopefully gain my superannuation lump sum. I was in a scheme which did not medically retire (sadly I had taken myself out of that scheme when we were first married) so the action was to leave under circumstances that were never envisaged by me. Then came an even tougher time when the Superannuation people interrogated me and tested me and declared I was fit and able to return to work. This was disputed by my medical team and it took the lawyers from my union (free for me) to gain my benefit.

For all of 2003 I took time out to explore my creative side, I volunteered at the Smith Family and I met with friends for coffee. I had many appointments to continue my self-styled rehabilitation after I declined to take part in any more of the WorkCover requirements. In early 2004 I needed more. I needed to be with people again and to teach!

There was much more that was good to happen to me from May 2004 onwards which I did for myself by returning to a teaching role in friend’s school and having no executive responsibilities. I was happily engaged in that work from 2004-2009 and had to be careful to not take on too much as I was only to work part-time. But I got my sense of being a teacher again.

So why tell this story?

The stories relating to stress, work overload and anxiety in the workplace need to be shared widely. I now know my personality  type and management style is that I need to be sure of things and want things to be done well and correctly. This was not happening in 2002 but I also held onto the notion that a principal deals with everything without telling the boss how it actually is. I have wondered how it may have worked if I had had the courage to tell someone. I did not even tell my husband.  I became unwell mentally and emotionally because I did not reach out to others and when I was finally diagnosed I was not to return to the workplace. I wonder now, if maybe things could have worked out better for me if I had the resilience I have today.

But we shall never know. I hope that by telling this story I could encourage others to speak up and share if the workload is too much. Tell someone. I know I should have.

Does anything here ring true for you or someone you know?

Denyse.

Joining in with Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne here for her Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

 

 

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I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery#1 Part One. 2017.91.

I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery#1. Part One. 2017.91.

Hello again!
Today I am listing many reasons I am grateful and am delighted to be back blogging and linking up with dear friends here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky!

Day Before Surgery

Oh, and in case you did not know… I have returned home after my major cancer surgery which removed the inside top of my mouth, gums and teeth (ha! there were only 3 left…and bummer…no tooth fairy coin left either!). When I was in hospital I had PLENTY of thinking and reflecting time so a post about gratitude seems to fit my return to Lovin’ Life today!

This post is live two weeks after my 11 hour surgery on Thursday 6 July. The selected  photos and words are just a part of my grateful list.

I am doing my best to have them sequentially …enjoy!

Wednesday 5 July. Pre-Admission Day.

It was a well-planned departure (I am so that anyway) but I did have a tiny sense of ‘what if I don’t come back’ and sensibly did quite the paperwork tidy-up, prepared official documents so husband and daughter knew where they were, and left my bedroom and art room clean and tidy. The trip to Sydney (by now I had done 3 since diagnosis) so I am grateful that I built up my confidence through challenging my beliefs based on fear of driving on the M1 and ‘getting caught short’.

We arrived in plenty of time at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (pictured)  for a myriad of health checks (all fine and dandy!) at pre-admission and handed over my life in forms…about 10 pages. There was no money to pay as our Teachers Health covered every.single.item*. Always very grateful we were both in it as young teachers then continued as a family always with top cover. The amount paid by them was in excess of  $21K.*not all doctors’ fees but that is ok.

We had booked overnight accommodation (cheap and cheerful as recommended by the hospital) as it was within 10 mins walking distance of Lifehouse. We were not impressed by the spartan set up however kindly the people were who supplied the accommodation so after our LAST night together for a while, B decided to bunk in with the grandkids and our daughter who live an hour away from Lifehouse. In retrospect I was incredibly grateful he did because as he said ‘it was great to see loving family faces!’.

Thursday 6 July. Day of Surgery.

I have no pictures! Fancy that! But I was grateful for a laugh when I got my phone back from B the next day and there was over 3 hours video of the inside of the phone cover which must have started when I handed it to him in Surgical area at 6.30 a.m.

Friday 7 July – Sunday 9 July. Intensive Care Unit.

After 11 hours of surgery I remember one fact about waking in what possibly was recovery but might have been ICU and it was nighttime. I asked ‘no tracheostomy?’ Of course, my brain tells me now I would not have been able to ask the question if I had, but I was intensely grateful that my surgery did not require this as I had been told it was possible.

In intensive care I was grateful each room was private and I could shut out sounds and light as I mostly needed to rest my eyes, not sleep. I liked that I could talk (a bit) to whoever came to check my obs. Loads of obs checks, especially my ‘mouth flap’. This was checked via a doppler ( a mini ultra-sound scanner) and each time I heard the reassuring beats I did thumbs up as I was incredibly grateful it was alive in me. The catheter came out on the second day and it was good to go to the loo (with help of course, as my leg was in a back slab). I am grateful I stopped caring about modesty. Let’s just get better is my motto!

By Sunday I was stir-crazy and when I heard they were waiting for a room to be ready on the ward I sure was pleased. It took a bit of time to do the transfer but I was grateful to say ‘bye bye’ and ‘thank you’ to ICU.

The Rest of My Stay Until Discharge on Saturday 15 July.

To be continued next Tuesday week where I will link up on I Blog on Tuesdays and the next Thursday when I will link up here again too.

I decided to do it this way as I am tiring and I have a lot to say! Who knew? Ok. I did.

Denyse.

Next Monday I re-start my #lifethisweek Link Up: Here are the prompts: They are also on the Home Page.

Mon 24 July: 28/52. Can’t Live Without.

Mon 31 July: 29/52. Winter.

Mon 7 Aug: 30/52. Birth Order.

Mon 14 Aug: 31/52. Ideal Meal.

Mon 21 Aug: 32/52. Selfie Time.

Mon 28 Aug 33/52. Mindfulness.

Mon 4 Sept 34/52. First Car/Bike.

Mon 11 Sept 35/52. Beach or Bush.

Mon 18 Sept 36/52. Taking Stock.

 

 

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