The title of the new blog is simply a metaphor of me as a lone wolf breathing words into the blog. My writing comes from a very deep part of me and this seemed appropriate. It will allow me to have more variety of material to write about, as I found with this blog being so obviously attached to my counselling career, it was distracting from my writing here, and comments on other blogs.
For the next few days I will be transferring blogs I like from here to my new blog: Lone Wolf Breathes and then kicking off with some new blogs. I am looking forward to the freedom of commenting it will bring, and not be intimidating to others hopefully.
Please do follow me over there, and I will continue to follow your blogs. If you have any other blogs I’m not following then comment below for me to follow.
This cactus came from a family holiday in Lanzarote as a tiny sprout. It has been cared for since then, watered, fed, changed to a bigger pot, and has sunshine shining down on it, when it is actually sunny in Northern Ireland… Some people may still just see it as this spiky useless thing. They may not see the tiny, intricate, beautiful flowers it has produced.
I know a lot of people who on the outside may look quite scary and sharp; sometimes us who happen to ride motorcycles may be looked upon as loud, scary and rough. As with the beautiful flowers on my cactus, it is for the beholder to see what they wish.
So what are the spines (spikes) for? They are not thorns, rather they are modified leaves, and keep some predators away from the water inside, but also help on a misty or foggy night to trap some water, which then falls down the smooth cactus to the ground and is able to be absorbed by the roots.
So if you think of people who may be protecting themselves in this, sometimes, dry and arid world, devoid of empathy, they may use defenses to keep people away. If you look closely at a cactus it usually has a beautiful smooth surface behind the spines. If we cared enough to really see a person we may see the beautiful smooth stem, the spines all designed so intricately to protect, and the fruit that it produces, for this cactus it is the stunning flowers.
A person behind the spikes could be a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend or any number of very kind things to many people. Going with the bikers again, I know most bikers have very big kind hearts and do many things to help people, maybe a charity bike run to raise money for little children who need some sunshine to shine down on them, and raise money to help them.
As both a biker and a counsellor I am privileged to know a lot of people who may on the outside have a lot of spines to protect themselves, after being hurt in this world. I know that behind these spines is a beautiful soul that is very kind and helpful to others, despite what has happened to them. I know the fruit they are producing and how they help others to flourish.
As you can read I look at a cactus very differently, and it means a lot to me. I find comfort in the spiky spines. It is a reminder to me that spiky people may be a lot different behind that defense. It reminds me if someone is spiky to me that if I negotiate them spiky spines carefully, the smoother, calmer person is there. The beautiful flowers this cactus produces twice a year, reminds me how a person can flourish, if they recieve the correct care and attention we all require in this world. Thanks for reading, Stephen.
Mindfulness can be practiced in so many ways and places. Just now as I was driving home from work, in the dark, on a busy road with roadworks, I was approaching my turn off. I noticed running at the side of the road a tiny little brown field mouse. This is through being aware in the present moment of where I am in the here and now. I am not that keen on mice, but, in this moment it was a beautiful thing to behold.
Amongst very large machines, cars and roadworks, this brave little mouse is still going about his or her daily life, among all the hustle and bustle, usually unnoticed. How much can we feel like this mouse at times… I don’t know what this mouse was doing, but he could have been making a huge difference in his little world, feeding his family, going to the mouse shop for a treat for his wife, after she had a hard day with the baby mice, rushing to help another mouse have the confidence to cross the road home to his safe house…
Humour, but, when we feel small and insignificant, mindfulness can allow you the space, time, and kindness, for yourself to slow everything down, and allow the feelings of compassion and significance to come back which you deserve for what you have done today. For example, if you smiled at one person today that has the power to change their world.
I also changed my route home tonight just so I could drive quietly and slowly over a dark mountain and see the bright stars from the darkness of that mountain road. It was calming and peaceful. How many people could have travelled that way and not stopped and noticed the creation all around us?
I am a Soul surrounded by a rental of skin and bones. I use Prayer, reading the Bible, mindfulness, nature, my Bride and my Sons to connect with my Soul and its Creator. My Soul is the only part of me that will last. What ripples I leave behind in helping others in a safe way is my goal. It feels good to check in to the real me, inside, which I wish to shine out. No matter what others may TRY to ‘do to me or make me feel’, my Soul is the part they do not get to easily, I will protect my peace by any means. Stephen.
A few thoughts just after World Suicide Prevention Day. In Northern Ireland more people have ended their life on Earth through suicide this week.
It is vitally important if your thoughts get to the point of resignation that you seek professional help. You can live on. You can change so much else in life if it has become so hard for you to hang on living. You cannot come back to life after you have killed yourself, only Jesus accomplished coming back to life after dying. Life can be very good after overcoming this dark period of suicidal thoughts. Hang on. Get help. Believe in what you can still accomplish in life.
I would like all precious people to consider who they put their trust in regarding suicide. I as a Christian put my trust in God, but not every Church has a trained professional to help you through depression, anxiety, ptsd, suicide… I am a man of Faith and believe in the healing of the Holy Spirit. A Pastor or Minister is an excellent person to go to for guidance and counsel for your precious Soul, and I highly recommend it, as you will be taking your Soul wherever you go after here… I just wish you to consider if you are putting your trust in a person in a Church or Chapel, as a few wrong words from someone could be the tipping point in activating your suicidal thoughts, into actions… It is similar with some other places in towns which profess to have ‘professionals’ to help you with your suicidal thoughts, they may not be trained.
Try anywhere you wish for help, but if it is not helping, do not stay there, go somewhere else, and get help from somewhere else. Do not allow yourself to stop fighting, do not allow yourself to sink further into the darkness and lies of depression and suicide. If you do not want to see me that is perfectly fine, I just wish you to get help, with someone who can help you. I wish to see you tomorrow, next week, month, year… I wish to look into your eyes and say you made it, well done, what a fight you had. Survive. Pray. Believe. Ask God to help. Psalm 91.
The WEIGHT of grief is not talked about much. The thoughts, feelings, emotions are known and expected. Some moments you may be fine, then just overcome with grief. It is like waves… However the weight of grief can be overwhelming. Getting out of bed. Getting up from a chair to get a drink. Going to lift something off the floor and ending up just sitting on the floor beside it wondering why you cannot get up.
Do not underestimate the weight of grief. It will ease in time, your time, however long you need.
“Rising Cairn” a 4,000 lb stone sculpture is the work of artist Celeste Roberge. Roberge says that she didn’t necessarily intend to depict anguish in the piece but doesn’t mind the alternative reading of her work. “I imagine her in the process of rising up from her crouching position…when she is ready,” she explains. “I am not disturbed by individual interpretations of the sculpture because I think it is really wonderful for people to connect with works of art in whatever way is meaningful to them.”
Can broken love be strong enough?
This is a question with no ‘correct’ answer. It could depend on: circumstances, both people, dependants, finances, past experiences, support network, trust, Spiritual Faith, guilt, shame, mental health, etc.
The tension of our lives are in this picture. We all have a heart, all nations, cultures, colours and religions. How do you listen to your heart? What happens when a negative event occurs in your life? When you get the thoughts that you are worthless, useless, or whats the point in trying, when your shoulders droop and your head goes down. Do you allow your negative experiences to crush you or make you stronger? I decide when that happens to use the negativity as fuel to motivate me and push me on. The thoughts come to all of us, but it is how we listen and use them that is the key. I get negative thoughts and that is my key to use them for motivation and realise my body sensations at that time, e.g shoulders drooped, head down, and know it is time for positive thinking, using all that negativity as the fuel.
How do you cope in that tension? How do I? The learning is in the tension. The growth is in the tension. It is part of life, and it is a choice we need to make. So many people have given up and just stay in that negative thinking, with so many somatic symptoms (feelings in the body, e.g. sore head, shoulders, neck, joints, sick stomach etc.) which may be coming from their negative thinking. The tension is hard to negotiate, but would you rather be stuck in a negative cycle? The tension in your heart, like in the picture above, has many issues to negotiate in everyday life, but it can be healthy, and work with your mind to keep you happy and in control. Enjoy the tension.