Friday 22nd October 2021

Unusual*. Here’s Time Part 2* Instead. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek. 115/2021.

Unusual*. Here’s Time Part 2* Instead. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek. 115/2021.

Rather than go with the word ‘unusual’ for the optional prompt, it’s Part Two: Time…and this is a post from my husband Bernard who recently wrote ‘on prompt’ Time here. 

For those who may need a refresher about Bernard, his first post for the blog is found here. 

Thank you Bernard for offering more of your thoughts, experiences and wisdom.

Can you believe how much TIME had passed since we did this trip back to Tamworth? No, me neither. Enough chit-chat.

Bit early…Celebrating 50 years since we met: October 2020.

 

Part 2: The Time Is NOW

 Thanks for re-joining me in this moment of time.

Time has many metaphors. Lydia talked about the very interesting wheel of time. I like the metaphor that sees time as a never-ending and continual flow of water such as the surf. At any point, by dipping your hand in the water, you experience the drops of water at that time. Those drops represent the moments that you have available to you at that time; the only moments. You notice that they can be very difficult to hold onto and how quickly the water flows on never to be experienced again. They symbolise the ‘ah-hah’ moments in our lives.

 

This experience sets of a “ah-hah’ moment as you realise just how precious and limited your time is.

This really impresses you. It is a lightning strike moment. It is the NOW effect (Goldstein)!

 

Well-known holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Dr Victor Frankl  talked of the space that exists between stimulus and response.

In that space you have the power to choose your response. This enables our personal growth and freedom.

Elisha Goldstein, PhD., talks of this as our NOW time, sometimes described as ‘ah-hah’ moments that can change our lives.

For example, you may hear of a friend’s death.

At this time you are reminded of the love you feel for family.

Or hear that your part of the world is to be shut down because of nasty viral pandemic.

Whatever the stimulus, the NOW space turns our minds and hearts to what we really value in life.

There’s the argument that, in the fullness of time, we will come to realise how it has had the Now Effect of re-focussing us on what we really value.

 

So, what are the possible outcomes of this ‘ah-hah’ moment. Hopefully that:

 

  • You understand your life is a constant stream of stimuli and responses.
  • You realise that, by attending to the present you can take full advantage of the space to change what is not currently working for you in your life.
  • You understand that the significance of your life is not tied to the acquisition of material things and social status. That it is totally about the quality of the relationships you have with other human beings, especially those closest to you.
  • You realise that attending too much to past events is detracting from the present with the added deficit of possibly sending you down those old rabbit holes and causing distress.
  • You realise that, what is now history, is NOW, no longer within your control.
  • You are aware that worrying about what’s going to happen in the future sucks as you cannot control it either.
  • You understand the only moments you can control, albeit, with varying degrees of difficulty, are those that you are living in right NOW.

 

Views on time.

William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) believed that “ time was what we most want and yet, use worst”.

While I tend to agree, I also believe that it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, it’s fair to say that there are many people who would feel a little offended by the statement.

People, such as those who have taken the conscious decision to organise their present moments with a view to living their lives most efficiently and effectively. In so doing, they maximise their feeling of contentment.

 

In all likelihood, these people will tick most of the following boxes:

 

  • They understand and welcome full ownership of their allocation of time.
  • They accept that those moments will contain ups and downs but are happy to take what’s on offer.
  • They also understand that that time is THEIRS to control as they see fit.
  • They look forward to the opportunity to spend more time in the NOW space.
  • When triggers occur they take advantage of that space to respond thoughtfully with generosity of spirit and kindness of heart, rather that react with negative emotion.
  • They understand that the pressure time can create is minimised commensurately by their level of efficiency in the use of their time.
  • They understand the need to take time away from their ‘doing selves’ to just ‘be’. After all, we are, first and foremost, human beings!
  • They understand that their quality of life is enhanced by paying attention to every moment with curiosity, openness and flexibility.
  • They understand that living mindfully in the present is key to enhancing quality of life.

These realisations – ‘ah-hah’ moments – emanate from being present and engaged. They come from seeing ‘doing’ and ‘being’ as mutually important in their lives. Living mindfully in the present is not difficult. However, like learning to play a musical instrument, it requires practice!  Try the exercises below. They just may help.

Being present and engaged exercise …

 

  1. Take thirty seconds to sit back, relax and simply notice all that you can hear. Firstly, focus on your own breathing and any of your movements. Then, expand your awareness to sounds around you appreciating them as a musician appreciates music noticing differences in volume, pitch, rhythms, harmonies, diminuendos and crescendos.

 

  1. Now, take thirty seconds to look around and notice five things that you can see. Notice each image’s shape, colour, texture, shading, shadows, reflections and highlights. Look at each with the curiosity of never having seen it before.

 

  1. Now, sit up straight and notice the position of your body. Push down firmly on the floor, straighten your spine and relax your shoulders. Take thirty seconds to scan your body from head to toe noticing the feeling in each part. Do this with curiosity of a radiologist looking at an x-ray.

 

  1. Finally, take another thirty seconds to flexibly focus your attention, moving from your body to what you can see and then to what you can hear.

 

 Reflect: What did you notice happen? Did you become more present; more aware of your body and surroundings?

 

Some Simple Ways to Be Present

Strategies to practise daily that centre you and connect you with the world around you; especially when you find yourself hooked by thoughts and feelings.

  1. Take Ten Breaths
  • Take ten slow, deep breaths. Focus on completely emptying your lungs as slowly as possible. The, allow them to refill by themselves.
  • Notice the emptying and refilling sensations of your lungs. Notice what happens with your rib cage and shoulders.
  • Try to allow any thoughts to float down the stream or come and go as passing cars.
  • Expand your awareness to simultaneously noticing your breathing and body movements. The, observe all that you can hear, see, smell, touch and feel.
  1. Dropping Anchor
  • Plant your feet into the floor.
  • Push them down noticing the feel of the supportive floor beneath you.
  • Notice the muscle tension in your legs as you push down.
  • Notice what is happening in your whole body.
  • Look around and take in what you can see, hear, where you are and what you’re doing.
  1. Notice Five Things
  • Pause for a moment
  • Look around and note five things you can see.
  • Listen carefully to hear five
  • Note five things that you can feel in contact with your body, e.g. watch against your wrist, trousers against your legs, air touching your face, back against the chair, feet on the floor, etc.
  • Now, do all the above simultaneously.

 

A final offering from one of the very wise Buddhas.

‘Do not dwell in the past, nor to dream of the future but, to concentrate the mind on the present moment’.

What better way to illustrate this than an image from Bernard’s daily practice of adding to a challenging jigsaw puzzle.

Thank you once again for a post which is of great interest to us all. I know I needed that refresher and I promise fewer questions and sharing from my social media while you are mindfully engaged in your jigsaw.

Denyse.

Link Up #258.

Life This Week. Link Up #258.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

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Time. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 103/2021.

Time. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 103/2021.

Bernard’s 70th Birthday Gift.

By popular demand, today I welcome back my husband Bernard to share his thoughts with us on TIME. Before getting to his words, I want to say this:

  • he is wise
  • he married me (ok, that was mutually wise)
  • he wrote this and I…..
  • did not really understand it
  • he said ….you will need to read to the end to find out.

Thank you Bernard.

This image taken by me, as an example of time. Others’ feet who had gone before me. Little and Big. Last week.

 

Tempus Fugit – Or Does It?

Poor old Father Time … He and we have been butting heads since the moment he was conceived.

From that moment He has copped so much abuse and, yet unaffected, marches inexorably

 

  • I would have finished if only I’d had enough time!!!’

HSC student who has assigned more time to just hanging out when he ought to have been studying.

 

  • ‘Yer never gave me enough time. How’s a bloke supposed to do a thirty minute job in fifteen minutes?’

Angry mature apprentice  reacting to an incompetent boss.

 

  • ‘Every day’s delay costs me money. I need to buy some more time!’

Worried builder under pressure to meet an unrealistic deadline.

 

  • ‘Bein’ in the clink feels like time has gorn to sleep or it’s jus’ standin’ still!’

Woman incarcerated for life for the slaughter of her cheating husband.

 

  • ‘The faster I work the slower my progress seems. It’s driving me cray-cray!’

Anxious dressmaker working on a wedding gown for a precious princess

 

This old guy has not a nasty bone in his poor body.

Since he began interacting with humans, he has been the object of relentless criticism and abuse having been laughed at, jeered at and generally flung dung at for just doing his job.

How would you feel being accused of a robbery that you didn’t commit? Plenty distressed I should venture to say!

However, he is not so pure and innocent as to not seek and gain revenge. Just look above to see examples. Who among us can say that they have not felt ‘time is standing still’ when we can’t wait to see what Santa has bought us? Or, that ‘time flies (tempus fugit)’ when we’re having fun. And, the more fun you have the faster it goes. Correct?

 

We encounter challenges with TIME for we are fallible folk.

We allow our decisions and actions to define whether IT is our enemy or ally.

Whatever the case, we seek to take control of our time as a means of living our own lives and getting the most out of them. Can’t blame us for that!

However, if we are honest – or a member of the Anti-Vaccination Klan – we would admit that attempting to control what is essentially uncontrollable is a fruitless pursuit that can only result in frustration and heartache!

 

As I see it, the problem is a universal one among our varied and extremely complex humankind.

Nobody really understands him –  that includes your author, even after many, many long years of being closely restrained and guided by him! I now know how a dog on a leash feels! He’s way ahead of us.

 

  • He is enigmatic (Batman wouldn’t stand a chance against him)!

 

  • The scientific community would say he’s a fourth dimension.

 

  • We think we see, hear, touch the old guy passing on by and yet, if we had the grave misfortune to have no functioning senses, we would still have a mental experience of IT through our changing thought patterns. Bit spooky that! Perhaps our brains possess a special faculty for processing time.

 

  • Can any of us really declare any greater understanding than he is a measurable perception. That’s why we mere mortals need to personify him.

 

  • It seems this ever-present phenomenon comes in two quite separate perceptions. There is the objective perception, Persona one,  that removes the gender from him and presents as a clinical measurement, informed through clocks, calendars, etc.

 

  • Persona two is our subjective perception that emanates from our need as humans to connect and form a relationship with him. As is our wont, we just have to give time personality, don’t we?

 

  • And, of course, when the world was a place when only the male of the species had the authority and importance (albeit, self-) to make such monumental decisions, he was assigned the male gender. This is a bit like trying to understand the concept of God. She’s always been referred to as masculine. But now we know differently – don’t we girls!

 

So, it seems to me that, in order to change and enhance our relationship with the old bugger, we need to accept that understanding him is a bit out of our reach and probably unnecessary.

I mean, how do we experience something that is odourless, tasteless, invisible, soundless and without substance? You can’t sniff it, lick it, eyeball it, hear it or feel it. That really makes understanding him very challenging.

 

What we can say is that time:

  • stands, beacon-like, as the only perception we cannot perceive through any of our five senses. Yet, our ‘experience’ of time suggests it has an overwhelmingly, controlling presence in and of our miserable lives.

That’s just great, Bernard! Thanks for telling us in a roundabout way that which we already know!

 

The author on left with 2 of 10 male siblings.

The author, 4th from left, back with 11 of 12 siblings.

 

Sorry … Okay, so rather than expending a great deal of precious energy trying to understand something we so obviously can’t, let’s just agree that we experience time through that miraculous organ called the brain.

The brain enables our awareness of time through its relationship with more tangible objects that can be more easily perceived and understood, like the sun! Life in this magical universe is based on relationships.

So, we can get a better appreciation of time by thinking about him in relation to more tangible things. My wife, Denyse, helps me grasp the concept of time better. She, like Time, waits for no-one.

 

A favourite photo of 2 grandkids: siblings.

 

They “tried” to re-create this some years later!

 

And, that’s about as deep as we need to go in this Part One of a two-part post. Seeking to further unravel what it is and how it works is not as valuable as seeking to understand how IT influences our lives and how we can return the favour in order to make our lives keep in time with Time.

 

We look forward to that, Bernard as I noted in the introduction,  …..you said you are none the wiser either about time.

Do leave a comment or even a question for Bernard. He is writing Part Two for the blog in a few weeks.

My image to close: more from the sands of time…  the beach.

Thanks for sharing your words, Bernard.

Denyse.

 

Link Up #254

Life This Week. Link Up #254

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: 35/51 Share Your Snaps #7. 30 Aug. Link Up #255. 

I will be posting Telling My Story May-August 2021…which is mostly via photos too.

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Gratitude. A Word & A Feeling. #Head&NeckCancer #Recovery. 82.1/2021.

Gratitude. A Word & A Feeling. #Head&NeckCancer #Recovery. 82.1/2021.

I occasionally add a post in between planned ones as I am doing today, 6th July 2021.

The reason is how grateful I am feeling and wanted to express this on the blog as I have already shared via my social media updates.

Today is a special day in my life.

6th July 2021.

It marks the 4th Anniversary of the first, and very complex, surgery for the cancer in my upper gums and under the top lip to be removed, along with ALL of my upper jaw and palate.

Yes, what an occasion. Oh, and in case you did not know, I also had a reconstruction in that same 11 hour surgery which harvested my right fibula, flesh and skin from my right leg and added those to make me an upper mouth. Much more to it than that, but I am here to tell the story that it did, for me go well.

I had no idea really how I would go in recovery but the fact that I had complete trust in my team and their planning and their work, and could see that I was in the best place possible for this to happen all helped. Greatly. I am a worrier by nature but over time, learned that with that my job was to keep the healing going, taking care of my emotional health and doing all I could physically to recover. There are many blog posts and they are all here.

Today though is a sharing of my updates from yesterday and today.

5th July Memories.

The day of pre-admission to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for my head & neck cancer surgery & reconstruction the next day. Never forget how it was. A relief in many ways. It had been 7 weeks of waiting. For planning, software & 3D model for my mouth. Not much sleep that night. 4 years ago. I already felt I was going to the best place for what was to happen. That instilled so much confidence in me and my husband having been here for the discussion of my surgery with my Professor and team.

Before AND After Images: 4 years apart.

One very special place I have visited over the 5 years we have lived here is the Bridge over Budgewoi Creek at MacKenzie Reserve.

The first image of of the hair-prepped for long time between haircuts, late June as I contemplated and considered what was ahead. Yes, I was scared but I also knew there was nothing else but to be putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward!

The second image, is from today (I do go here quite often but made a special trip today) to give my thanks for how my recovery and wellness is. I did not smile deliberately as I wanted to show my top lip for how it really is. Smiling of course is better…but I acknowledge that cancer took quite a bit of under that lip and 2x skin grafts have helped.

Today I shared this collage first.

It’s made up of four progress images from July 2017, July 2018, July 2019 and July 2020. Don’t my surgeons do an amazing job? And of course, my prosthodontist and my own body in recovery. Very, very grateful.

Selfies are great for monitoring progress for a visual person like me who needs evidence, as I waited… learning that TIME does indeed heal but patience is also necessary!

This impatient person learned, mostly to be a patient patient over the many months, trips back & forth to Sydney: Westmead Oral Sciences & Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

The person who helped me through these trying times… to learn patience is my husband!

 

Thank you Bernard for your patience & time given to me for “selfies”💙

 

Today we marked my 4th anniversary with some pics & a gratitude letter to my HNC surgeon & nurse… then I drove to Budgewoi to “exercise” but to mostly give thanks. This bridge at Mackenzie Reserve is a special place for me.❤️

 

About gratitude. Again!

I have posted many times about gratitude. I have found it a practice that when I use it, I am helped greatly by finding at least one thing to be grateful for in a not-so-good situation. Today though I feel full. In a good way. Emotionally. I feel well, and I really could not ask for me. It’s a feeling for me. My husband knows I remember days and dates and he wanted to know where today stood in terms of day, birthdays, Christmas etc and I said…after some thought:

Today is on top.

It is the best.

I am so grateful and I am sharing this gratitude in my way here by blogging, telling people I love and sharing as best as I can. From my post back in early 2020.

 

My 2020 Word of the Year. I Still Have It in 2021!

Thank you dear blog readers and commenters too, you all make a contribution to my healing and wellness.

Denyse.

 

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Optimism. 26/51. #LifeThisWeek. 79/2021.

Optimism. 26/51. #LifeThisWeek. 79/2021. 

Bernard, my husband,  has offered to share some thoughts on this week’s optional prompt of optimism. One reason for asking is that I, like many, tend to be more on the pessimistic side and I know his help for me to turn this around at times has been invaluable.

Thank you Bernard.

 

 

What is optimism?

 The prime minister of Great Britain during WW2, Winston Churchill presented as a highly optimistic personality and is notably quoted as saying, “a pessimist sees only difficulty in every opportunity while an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”  The great effect for the nation was the hope that his optimism generated during that tragic conflict.

Most definitions of optimism share common components such as hope and confidence about future positive outcomes. Optimistic philosophers believe that optimism is about good prevailing over evil while the world of psychology is split into two main bands. For some, optimism may be attributed to a belief that experiences will generally have positive outcomes. The second band attributes optimism as having more to do with the way we explain event causes. This is called our explanatory style and its established in early childhood.

Studies tell us that our DNA is more likely to be hardwired as optimistic rather than pessimistic despite the negative bias we also carry around from birth thanks to our cave-dwelling ancestors. Their world abounded with negative experiences and, so, their very survival depended on being prepared for the worst. Decision-making was a little more cut and dried in those days – “Kill the f***king beast before it kills you!!!”

It is fair to say that our levels of optimism are a combination of nature and nurture. Being transmutable, the environment into which we are born and grow up enables optimism to either flourish or flounder. Exposure to risk in childhood encourages the development of a more optimistic mindset as well as creativity.

 

What Does It Mean to Be Optimistic?

Optimists are likely to see the causes of failure or negative experiences as:

  • temporary rather than permanent – “It’s just a minor setback. All will be well tomorrow.”
  • specific rather than global – “It’s just that particular group of people. We won’t be involved.”
  • external rather than internal – “What just occurred wasn’t my fault. It was the extreme heat of the day.”

Such a perspective enables optimists to more easily see the possibility of change.

So long as the optimism isn’t cockeyed as a result of engaging in fanciful thinking, realistic optimism is a worldview that gives its owner a greater sense of influencing their well-being. This flows from optimism being generally accompanied by a healthier outlook in relation to the consequences of any actions. Optimists encourage the growth of resilience as they display a tendency to look for meaning in difficulties.

What are some of the benefits of being realistically optimistic?

An optimist can also expect to:

  • live longer;
  • feel the hope that is necessary to ameliorate doubt and despair;
  • be less susceptible the negative effects of illness, fatigue and depression
  • be able to manage pain more effectively;
  • have improved immunity;
  • have better heart-lung function; and,
  • be fitter.

Can optimism affect relationships?

 You bet, if it’s unrealistic! Where both partners are optimists there is a danger that their positivity about their future can lead to expectations that become too high for anyone to fulfil, especially as such a mindset can discourage the growth of problem-solving skills required during difficult. Being overly sure of a rosy future tends to ignore the very real fact that our journeys through life are littered with difficult times. This is an effective way to lower relational quality.

What’s the key to all this?

So, if there is a question mark over being optimistic, maybe we should just resort to playing it safe all the time and be pessimistic. That way, you wouldn’t have your hopes dashed. It is not advisable that you adopt that strategy.

Pessimism is driven by fear of failure. Living one’s life being afraid to take any risk and assigning reasons why not against any and all plans is quite dysfunctional. You miss out on the thrill of chasing your dreams.

Decision-making that has a good probability of having a positive outcome is cognisant of the evidence that informs that decision-making. Research suggests incorporating some Realism into the conversation is the best way to the try line.

Both optimism and pessimism are judgemental biases that on their own don’t make for effective decision-making. Realism seeks the evidence that short-circuits the psychologically painful consequence and encourages the outcome that is most helpful. In the well-being stakes, realists come out trumps. Talking of Trump – he was not a realist!

We currently are endeavouring to deal with the hot topic of the COVID 19 pandemic. As I’ve already said, both optimism and pessimism are judgemental biases and, therefore, shifting sands upon which to base decisions. Either approach can lead to a failure to take appropriate precautions to a potential threat – “Oh, I don’t need to have the vaccine as I never get the flu!” OR “Having that vaccine is a sure way to make you sick!” A Realist will take measured risks and look at the available evidence before making a decision in relation to treatment. The available evidence suggests that observing suggested protocols such as social distancing and taking advantage of the vaccine is currently the most sensible approach to adopt.

Realistic Optimism has been the key to my well-being.

Through not allowing optimism – nor pessimism for that matter – to escape the realms of realism I have minimised the risk of my hopes being dashed upon the rocks of disappointment. As a result, I have enhanced my level of contented living.

Can my child learn to be realistically optimistic?

Absolutely! As you may know, children see the world quite strictly – it’s either black or white, little or big, fast or slow, good or bad, etc. As they grow older and learn the skills of contrasting and comparing, their perception of the world allows for the integration of degrees in their rules. The black becomes grey. So, a child may be likely to be optimistic or pessimistic. The result of an event will be either good or bad. At this time they are also sponges rabidly attempting to soak up the way the world works so that it makes sense to them. Parents are the greatest authorities and what mum or dad sees is indubitably what will occur.

This, therefore, provides you as a parent with an ideal time to temper their hopes by inculcating their perceptions of event outcomes with Realism.

And in my case, as a grandfather to this youngster way back, where I imagined this conversation.

So, Papa…..

“Papa, I’m ‘cited ‘cos the toof fairy is coming and she will leave me free fousand and firty dollars, won’t she Papa?”

“Well, sweetheart, I’m sure the toof fairy will come but I don’t fink she will leave you wif quite that much. That’s a lot of money! Perhaps, $2 is more like what she will leave.”

 

Recommended Reading

Martin Seligman has spent a great deal of time studying optimism and related topics and has written a number of books that you may be interested in. They include,

  • Flourish
  • The Hope Circuit
  • Learned Optimism
  • The Optimistic Child

Thanks so much Bernard, I have learned more about the ways in which we can develop and change our negative biases as a result of incorporating knowledge rather than accept the ‘Oh I am a pessimist’ self-judgement.

Denyse.

Link Up #246.

Life This Week. Link Up #246.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 28/51 Taking Stock #3. 

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