High emotion

Emotions are running high.

As we progress with our plans for starting to reopen our church buildings, emotions seem to be running high with some people. We’ve been subjected to some over-the-top reactions which I’ve put down to a form of PTSD caused by the last eighteen months. Is it extreme to call it PTSD? I don’t think so. Trauma is defined as ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience’ and I think that is exactly what we have all been through. Some people are reacting by wanting to stay as we are, and others are going to the opposite extreme, wanting us to open everything up ‘just as we were before’. We’re walking a cautious middle way.

So go easy on each other and yourself. Practice some self-reflection. Work out what may be setting off your own alarm systems and work out how to talk yourself down.

Swirling

Swirling thoughts.

These swirly shapes showed up on this page and they really do seem to depict the way my thoughts go at the moment. Curling in all directions, not complete, but a colourful explosion.

Menopause brain fog isn’t often talked about. The menopause isn’t talked about much full-stop! This means it hits women completely unexpectedly. The sudden wide range of symptoms can be confusing, bewildering, or even devastating. One of the things that is helping me through is knowing all the strong older women who have been through it and come through to the other side. This is a phase to be lived through and is survivable.

So I’ll bear with my swirling thoughts, not fighting against them, knowing that this isn’t forever.

Unexpected

Those unexpected moments.

Things can turn around with those little accidents we certainly hadn’t planned for. This page was doing okay and then I managed to fumble the tube of ‘tropical water’ paint and got it all over my fingers. How best to clean them off? Wipe them on the page, of course. And that produces lots of unexpected marks and imperfect application of colour. Just what I like!

And don’t those little unexpected moments happen in other areas of life as well? That chance meeting with someone who was able to give you a leg up in your dream career. That turn of conversation that led somewhere completely different than you thought it would. That little accident that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Look out for those unexpected moments and embrace them.

Both ends of the spectrum

I find my pages at the moment are either thick with layers as I work through the messy middle, or they are like this one – more spartan and ‘clean’. I don’t seem to produce anything in the middle lately 🙂

It feels a bit like life – the messy middle is where I feel I am. But the messy middle is not the end. I can leave something early on and be happy with the simplicity, or I can wade on through, not being content until I’ve worked at it right to the end. The thing I don’t want to do is quit in the middle of the mess!

All things

Taking all things into consideration.

Going into lockdown was easy – there were rules to adhere to and they were pretty easy: go out once a day for exercise; wear a mask when you shop; everything else is closed (more or less).

Coming out of lockdown is much harder. There are guidelines, but for those of us who want to keep those in our community as safe as possible, there are still lots of things to consider. We are allowed to not wear masks, but is it wise? We are allowed to not distance from each other, but is it wise?

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Receive and give

Receive… and give.

Sometimes you just manage to throw together a page that you love, and this is one of those. I like the ‘scrappiness’ of some of the paint, where it’s imperfect, as if it has been weathered. I love the imperfection of the application of yellow, where some is opaque and other bits are transparent. I love the layering.

And it’s one of those pages where you hit a certain point and it speaks, and you can’t get past that. This one hit that point when I put the yellow marks on it – some come down and others go across. It spoke to me of receiving and giving. Those that come down originate from the large yellow circle, which for me symbolises all the gifts I receive from God. There are always more of those than the marks moving outwards in generosity of giving. There’s no point letting all the gifts just pile up inside. They need to be shared. So let’s work out how we can give out of our abundance.

On your heart

What’s on your heart?

As we move back towards a more ‘normal’ way of life I’m sure many of us will have had a rearrangement of our priorities. Lots of people have re-skilled and moved to new areas of employment, or taken that hobby and turned it into a career. Working hours have changed and working from home has become less unusual. Some people have found that they want to spend more time at home, that they can manage with less money because the benefits of more leisure time more than outweigh it.

So now might be a good time to work out what is really on our hearts – what do we want our own new normal to look like?

Head, meet wall

When it feels like you’re banging your head against the wall.

There are times when, no matter how many times you say it, however many ways you find to say it, you’re just not heard. Even when what you’re saying is for the person’s benefit, you can’t guarantee that it will be taken on board.

Working out when to stop and to let the person fall is hard, but there comes a time when that is all you can do.