I’m not actually here again this week. I’m meant to be packing to move house but there have been more delays.
This week let me introduce Alison, who’s a writer, tutor and fellow local coffee and amateur philosophiser.
I love her poetry. You can see more from Alison at her blog.
I’m delighted that she’s agreed to guest post this week so I can lie in a darkened room and remind myself that moving house is in the top three most stressful things and it’s not unreasonable to be on the verge of throwing things.
Thanks to Pauline moving (or not moving, but let’s not dwell on that), she invited me to do a guest report this week. Normally I add some comments on the bottom of her posts, which requires less thought. Anyway, here goes:
20 points with a ratio of 4:1 on pleasure to pain.
The three highlights were:
Lost in another life
No not literally, but in a beautiful, gripping and thought-provoking book. I love reading. When I was much younger and I fell in love with a book I’d often carry on reading till the early hours of the morning because I didn’t want to let go. Sometimes, as an adult, a book still has that grip on me, only instead of staying up all night, I make time to read it anywhere. As psychologists say, if we really want something, we find the time. I started ‘The Secret Scripture’ by Sebastian Barry on Sunday and finished it last night. It isn’t a long book (about 300 pages) but still that’s good going for me (unless I’m on a sun lounger somewhere warm). I’ve turned off the TV, I’ve read it after breakfast and before starting work, I’ve forsaken my writing, etc, etc. Last night, with hubby out, I lit the candles, sat in silence and read until the end. Perfect.
In good company
The work one. Saturday I attended a course briefing for a new OU course I will be tutoring on. This is my second course as an OU Tutor. Compared to the last briefing I went to in April, I noticed how much more relaxed I was. I understood the acronyms, I sort of knew what the processes were that they referred to and I had an inner confidence that I would be ok at this tutoring stuff. What made it even nicer was that 2 tutors I know from the other course were also there. And I think overall I had a sense of belonging to something, a community. One of the downsides of being mainly self-employed is that you can lose that sense of camaraderie. This way I get the best of both worlds. Time to be my own boss, work on my own, etc and then other times to belong to something bigger.
Making the most
Mixing work and personal. We’re into October now, the leaves are changing and the nights are getting darker. Miraculously the sun has been out this week and it is actually quite warm. Working at home all week I reminded myself to go out and make the most of it. Cut some flowers or pick tomatoes during my tea break. Yesterday afternoon I took some work reading outside. A squirrel was nibbling seeds under the tree. A blue tit was pecking at the trellis (I think he might have a woodpecker complex). And a ladybird crawled up the leg of my chair.
This week seems to have been mainly about physical pain. Not an unusual occurrence for me. Pain in the shoulder, in the head, in the neck. Yesterday I resorted to strong painkillers. I try to hold off but sometimes that resistance just intensifies the problem. Today though I feel much better. Yesterday evening I went for the full on approach. Painkiller, followed later by pressure point massage with a ball, then lying on something called a Shakti Mat (a modern version of the bed of nails – it is relaxing, honestly) and a hot water bottle in bed. What I’d like is for my body and brain to work in harmony and spot the early warning signs, but it seems to be a very very long and steep learning curve.
The pain I did something about
I was struggling on this one, which is ironic as Pauline said it is important that it isn’t about something that was a struggle. But hurrah, something came in at the last minute. And even more interestingly, it was prompted by reading the final part of Barry’s book (see above). I think good fiction can actually be more helpful to us than any amount of self-help. It provides a way of reflecting on our own situations and our own internal battles. And occasionally pricking the conscience. So, without going into the ins and outs, I decided to email someone where for various reasons our new friendship went horribly awry. I did at the time adopt a very adult approach but this didn’t work, and because I was determined to stay in adult mode, it went from not so great to bad. This situation has been on my mind most waking nights and quiet moments. It is a complex one and there are still a complex set of emotions. However, I realised that not doing anything about was only going to continue to allow those emotions to hold me. So, I’ve just sent her an email. A sort of, how are you, do you want to try again and keep in touch. Maybe she won’t, but I know I’ve done what I can and I made a positive choice to do it. I feel lighter already, though I realise that this is only the beginning.
So that’s it from me. I’ve really enjoyed this experience, so Pauline, if you need another stand in, let me know!