Peace

The word I’ve chosen for 2016 is peace.

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Peace:
noun
1. the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
2. (often initial capital letter) an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism
3. a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations
4. the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security
5. cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension.
6. freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.
7. a state of tranquility or serenity

Interestingly, as I sit here writing this, my neighbour is very loudly drilling something.  I can’t begin to imagine what because the amount of drilling that goes on up there surely means there’s nothing left which doesn’t have holes in…

But that I guess is helpfully illustrative of my word.  For me, this year, my hope is not that everything around me will suddenly become easy and quiet, but instead that I find a way to handle everything around me and be at peace even when my neighbour is drilling.

2015 feels like it’s been one of war.  Fight after fight.  For basic stuff.  For a house to live in which doesn’t make me housebound.  For a wheelchair.  For the ability to get to work, to get around work.  I wasn’t asking for the moon but I still had to push and push to get anywhere.  It’s exhausting.  I can’t do it any more.  I am all out of fighting spirit.

I need to cultivate peace instead.  The fighting is unlikely to go away.  I can’t change that.  All I can change is my reaction to it.

(I’ve just had a email alerting me to a new post on a friend’s blog, coincidentally her word is also going to be peace)

What tools, tips and techniques do you suggest for living more peacefully?

 

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Audiobooks

2015 might be the year I finally got to grips with audiobooks. In particular, kindle whispersync. This let’s you switch between reading on your Kindle or kindle app and listening to the audio version. You can follow the text with the audio so i think it would be really good for early readers. One of the reasons I struggle with audiobooks is loosing my place and with this, you can flick through the text which I find much easier than trying to rewind an audiobook. Often when you buy a kindle book, the audio version (if available) comes at a reduced price.  Also, it lets you read, then listen then read so you can choose whatever is most appropriate at the time.

I’m sure you’re all aware of audible but if you aren’t fussed about having a linked text and audio book, check out your local library. At lot now offer ebooks and audiobooks which you can download at home straight onto your device.

There are also charities who lend audio and e books although I haven’t used any yet:

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Ps. I’m loving Robin Hobb at the moment!

Branding!

I finally have branding!

*drum roll*

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Business card back final

Thanks to the awesome Meg at That Hummingbird Life.  I sent her the vaguest ideas and concepts and she created such a lovely design for me and was patient as we bounced it between us a couple of times.  but right from the start she had got the idea spot on, just leaving a bit of fine tuning to be done.

Not only is she awesome at design stuff, but you should check out her website as well as her sunday weekly self care check in emails.  She is actually the first newsletter I’ve ever replied to.  And she was so friendly when she replied that I was inspired to reply to another person (who never replied…).

Also she’s included me as a guest post, even more reason to check out her site!

My blog will be updated with the new logo etc once I’ve decided on a new layout as this one doesn’t look right with the logo…

December Reflections

It’s been a bit quiet around here but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been getting on with things… I’ve been working with the wonderful Meg from That Hummingbird Life on branding for my blogs and my shop (eek!), I’ve also been taking part in Creative Courage and art journalling etc.

I’m also participating in Susannah Conway’s December Reflections.  Admittedly, not quite in the intended way.  Instead of taking a photo a day, I am looking back at my photos from 2015 and choosing one from there instead.  I’m posting these over on unlockingimages if you want to follow along.

I think so far, the biggest thing I’ve realised is that 2015 has gone by incredibly fast but also so many things have changed for me.  Back at the end of February I was embarking on a trip to Cambodia, sitting at the train station with hot chocolate on my own.  Now, I can’t leave the house without someone with me to get the wheelchair out and lock up.  I’ve gone from desperately not wanting to move out of my flat to wishing for any goddamn accessible place to live.  I’ve gone from working full time to struggling to work three days a week.  It’s been a year of change, that’s for sure.

Not all my carers are bad!

I just wanted to balance out my recent carer related posts.  They aren’t all bad.  Within my care team at present I have one crap carer, one ok carer and one really good carer.  I also have a really wonderful ex-carer who unfortunately had to leave because the hours she was getting were completely incompatible with her life.

But I still see her.  She popped round for coffee this week, bringing with her flowers and thoughts about going Christmas shopping and to a spa together.  And the really good carer is amazing.  We’re really in tune, we’ve talked a lot about my mental and physical health stuff and having her with me, regardless of what we’re doing, is really comfortable.

Getting the right carers can make a huge difference to your life and I know that without any care, even bad care, I would have no quality of life any more.

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Unlocking images hits the marketplace!

So the time has come to unveil the unlocking images shop…!  At the moment, I’m focusing on Christmas cards but in the new year I’ll be opening it up to include more general photographic and art cards as well as prints and other surprises!

In the run up to Christmas, 50% of the profit from any purchase will go to the Violet Chambers fund.  This amazing fund lets children and young people who are looked after in York apply for funding for a meaningful and memorable experience. Previous applications have included spa days, a trip to a show in London etc.

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Everyday Feminism

We can all take action, however small.  Small actions add up.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

― Margaret Mead

A tiny change today brings a dramatically different tomorrow.

– Richard Bach, One

There are many many excuses for not doing things, but there’s one huge overriding reason why we should.  The world is unfair and unequal and without action it will not change.  It is not in the interest of half the world’s population for things to change.  And when you include the women employed in industries which oppress women, the number who have financial interest in maintaining gender inequality increases.

Think of the people involved in fashion, beauty, magazines who spend so much time telling us and showing us that we are lesser citizens.  That we have to work harder, show up painted and adorned before we can take part in society.  It is a tool of oppressors.  And the more they think we are at risk of fighting back, the louder their message will be. If we start to question, they will amp up the volume.  Send out more and more messages which crush self worth.  Instead of rising together as a movement, we are beaten into our own, individual battles with ourselves.

Think of the power we have that we use to oppress ourselves and others, what if we used that differently?  If instead of repeating my own messages of self hate, what if I turned that out and used that voice to bring down the patriarchy?

Everyday Feminism: A small, everyday act which contributes to the aims of feminism and/or supports women.

I ran a workshop about this at a conference yesterday and some of the ideas we discussed were:

  • Replace gossip magazines in waiting rooms with magazines about something be it science, wildlife, cooking, writing, photography, anything with substance
  • Sticker over sexist graffiti, adverts etc
  • Use twitter and facebook to complain to companies but also to congratulate companies who are carrying out good practice
  • Boycott products with sexist advertising or packaging
  • Turn magazines with offensive covers round in shops
  • Mix up magazines, books and clothes in shops where they are labelled as “mens” and “womens”
  • Compliment someone on something other than their appearance or compliment them about about something different to the norm – great haircut in a fab shade of grey etc
  • Reframe problematic language
  • Tell people you are a feminist
  • Leave leaflets in books, public places, blu-taked on toilet doors
  • Be mindful of our own negative thoughts and behaviours
  • Don’t belittle yourself – “I’m just a…” “Can I just add something small to this debate…” etc
  • Do not apologise for yourself

If you have any other ideas, let me know.