Good News Story

I love this story which I found on TreeHugger, a site that I check out every now and again, I like the fact that you get good news stories there, there are enough of the other kind (like my last post for instance!).

This story is about a young fella in the USA who got so frustrated at what he saw happening around him that he had to take action. Apparently GWB, the almost EX-president of over-there (how I love saying almost ex) decided in his unlimited unwisdom to sell off the leases on thousands of acres of Utah wildland – “After receiving complaints from the National Park Service, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had dropped half of the initially proposed 359,000 acres from the sale” – wow, did someone notice the sellout? This young fella went along to the auction to protest and, understandably, got carried away

Read the story here for yourself, it’s worth the click…

Happy New Year

Blian Núa Shona Dhuit – Happy New Year to you and those you love. My global wish (hey, why not be ambitious?) is that we all learn to prioritise the truly important things in life and concentrate less on the superficial and commercial.

I had a lovely break over the Christmas, didn’t even check my email for nine days straight!!!

I hope that you all, my two lovely readers 😉  had a beautiful Christmas, as I did, spent some time with loved ones in my family, had lots of great food, some great walks, some great sitting and watching classic b+w films and some great chats.

As for New Year’s Eve – I have to admit that I have never been really interested in all the fuss that accompanies it, even in my younger and wilder partying days I was never into the N.Y.Eve parties, the resolutions that everyone assumed would not last past February, singing and hugging complete strangers etc. Somehow it all seemed a little exaggerated, superficial and unreal.

When I was younger I was not quite sure why I felt like this, it’s not as though I didn’t enjoy partying as much as the next young wild one and I wouldn’t have known a grounded, living-in-the-moment person if I bumped into one, which wasn’t likely actually in the places I hung out! It makes more sense now that my life has changed quite a bit and I have stopped floating through life in a smoky and busy haze, taken the time to challenge some of what I was running away from, dealt with some of the baggage that I was dragging around.

The concept of living in the moment was a difficult one for me to grasp, obviously I knew what it meant intellectually but it was a while before my heart caught up. No surprise there, my head was nearly always in the way. I still struggle with that  but now when I speak of getting out of my head it’s a very different out of my head experience than that of the eighties! Now it’s about taking the time to listen to my heart, taking time out of the rush and hustle of life to slow down and really listen to what it is that I need, what it is that I feel.

For me this is not as easy as it sounds, I really have to remind myself to do it and sometimes I have hearing problems – it can take quite some time before I can clearly hear myself. I suppose that this is sustainable living for me – in order to live a real and healthy life and to have healthy relationships I need to do this, I need to take time out to listen to what is really going on for me.

For me the Winter Solstice was a special time, a time for reflection, to acknowledge the year gone past and a new beginning, the days becoming longer, the sun coming back to us, growth starting slowly under the protection of the soil, promise and optimism.

I hope that this new year brings with it many wondrous and joyful experiences for us all…

With a little help from my friends

I would let you know about my “simple” journey home last night.

All was going well and I was nearly home, I had seen no ice or frost on the roads although when I was about an hour and half from home I had noticed that it was already starting to freeze so I was going easy and taking care.

It was already dark as I passed our neighbours house below us on the last hilly stretch and I did wonder if I should just leave the van there and walk up the last few very steep hills. I should know better than to ignore my instinct but still I did ignore it and continued up the hill, going through the gears to try to keep my revs low.

I got around the difficult uphill 90 degree corner and could see the ice on the road, remembering all I have been told about driving on ice I did not go the brakes, I kept the revs steady but made little progress, she started slipping and could not grip at all. I braked gently and stopped the van slipping downhill. I let it go downhill a little to where there was no ice and tried going up again but got the same result. Knowing that one definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results I just stopped where I was.

I saw the postman come over the top of the hill from the far side and take the turn for our higher road to deliver our post. I knew that to continue his route he would normally turn down the hill to where I was sitting so I put on my hazard lights to alert him but to no avail, he had already turned down the road when he noticed the lights and then he became stuck too.

I tried going slowly in reverse because I knew that there was a gateway into a field on the turn and I thought that maybe I could get the van into the gate and off the road. I knew also that there was a very deep ditch, ten foot or more just above the gateway and higher up on the bend. The van started sliding as I got near the bend and I got nervous and stopped again.

I noticed lights coming up the road behind me and recognised my neighbours voice when he got out of his jeep and approached the van. He had heard the van going past the house and he knew that it was unlikely to make it up the hill so he came to see if help was needed. My predicament was obvious so no explanations were necessary.

The postman walked down the hill to see what plan we could come up with and he had a hard time trying to stay on his feet. Apparently it had rained the previous evening and then froze and the sun never reached this part of the hill so it never thawed and the ice was really quite thick and very treacherous.

We rang a neighbour from the far side of the hill, the postman had just come past there and knew that he was home. He arrived in his four wheel drive and pulled the postman’s van backwards up the hill and then reversed down to see if there was anything he could do for me.

My neighbour tried pulling my van up the hill but it was not going to work, not even with me driving as well, we were both just slipping. However we did get my van safely down to the gateway with both of my neighbours lighting the ditch with strong torches and giving me the confidence to do it because they could clearly see how best to manoeuvre and gave me instructions on when to turn and when to slowly brake.

‘Twas all quite an adventure for what is usually just a simple journey home. It’s great to have neighbours that care about each other and will go out of their way to help each other out. I feel very lucky to live in an area where people still have time for each other. It’s also a reminder to not ignore my instincts, listen to that little voice, it usually knows better than I do!

Simple can be difficult

I recently had the opportunity to sit in a group and work through some unresolved tension between some of the group members. The method used for relieving the tension was so simple – good communication.

Everyone spoke in turn, without interruption. People took their time, there was no rush, there was time to think about what you were saying. We all spoke about how we were affected by the situation thus avoiding the “you said” and “you did” elements which can be so unhelpful.

We realised how what we say and the tone used can be so easily misinterpreted. This can cause hurt, which if not aired can fester and lead to resentment.

It is not as simple as it sounds to sit and listen to each other without interruption and without the chance of an immediate come-back – which often just escalates a situation into an argument. The value of speaking in turn is that by the time it is your turn to speak you may no longer wish to say what you were expecting to say, you will have had to time to listen to others speak and this may well have changed how you see things and given you the opportunity to identify what you are really feeling.

There may be many rounds necessary to resolve a situation, you sit with it until it is finished. People sometimes ask – how long will this take? It takes as long as it takes!

It is also not often that people are courageous enough to really speak from the heart, to say how hurt they are feeling or vulnerable or frightened or angry. We are so often afraid to let others see how we really feel, we wear masks to protect ourselves, to hide behind. There are many reasons that we do this, it is a learnt behaviour. Perhaps in the past someone used our vulnerability against us or took advantage of our fear to frighten us further, whatever the reason we can unlearn this behaviour and learn a new way to be. Learning any new skill takes practise and to do this it helps to have people around us that we trust and feel safe with.

I would love for everyone have the opportunity to experience this sort of communication, to experience what it is like to sit through a situation which could very easily lead to confrontation but doesn’t, which allows everyone to speak their truth and to really hear each other.

Simple things can be really difficult – but it is worth it!