A fanfare for harmonicas… 

After struggling with depression and anxiety this morning, I planned to spend some time this evening playing my harmonicas, just seeing where the music took me.

My default setting for the harmonica is the blues, I mean, harmonicas just make me think blues straight away. Most of my favourite harmonica players are blues musicians, and slow blues and heavy rock seem to be the kids of sounds I make.

Making music is great therapy, whether alone or with others. Playing music gives me a great lift, and the upset of this morning was blown away like autumn leaves whilst I came up with riffs and solos today. I am much calmer and happier now.

I came up with a couple of pieces this evening, one a more rolling bluesy track, the other riffing on my favourite composer, Aaron Copland, and his wonderful piece ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’. Copland is a family favourite, our mum loved Copland, and we played some of his ‘Appalachian Spring’ at her funeral earlier this year. Copland also scored the 1930s film version of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece ‘Of Mice and Men’ (another of mine and mum’s favourites – I still have her copy). Lots of connections.

I plan returning to ‘Fanfare’ later, blending Copland’s score with a bluesy touch, but for now, here is my first take, I hope you like it…

https://soundcloud.com/ruke-622656462/fanfare-in-g-take-1 

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Tripped up…

Mental health is a tricky bugger. One day you can be fine and on top of the world, the next, down in the dumps wondering how you will ever get through the day. 

I am fortunate to know that my depression and anxiety aren’t so bad that I cannot function at all, but my brain will sometimes get caught in a negative spiral, with logic and illogic chasing each other’s tails, making concentration and happiness elusive. On the whole, I am okay most of the time, but small worries can easily mutate interest ever larger ones, and depression and anxiety can take hold.

Take returning to college, for example. On the day my mum died earlier this year, I made a decision to get back to my counselling course, get qualified and become a really good counsellor, working preferably with children. There are certain things that need to be in place before returning to college, BACP membership, insurance, and most importantly, placements. I knew about these things, of course, but this year has been tough, and getting my act together has been hard. So, when my return interview didn’t happen last week, my brain spiralled down into panic overload, and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get things sorted and return to my studies. 

Stepping back, making a list, and taking some time has allowed me to overcome my anxiety, and I have now got a referee in place; drafted my letter asking for placements; and have applied for my insurance. I also have someone in mind for my sponsor, and feel more positive about my return to college in September. 

As I write this, I am calm, centred and focused. Onwards…

Zen and the art of till jockeying…

Today has been a bit of a rollercoaster, with the morning seeing me slightly out of sorts and snappy with my lovely supportive wife. I wandered off to catch the bus to counselling in a bit of a haze of unsettled feelings…

Clearly tired, I half read and half dozed through the journey, trying to stay focused on what was going on around me. Still, I made it to town and appointed session in good time with a clearer head. Sleep helps sometimes.

Counselling today gave me time and space to explore and examine the feelings I’ve had over the last few days, trying to work out why I’ve been feeling so unsettled and out of sorts. I like the time I have in counselling, as I feel as though I am thinking on a higher level, able to clear my mind and understand my thoughts and feelings.

So after a refreshing coffee and a late lunch, I caught the bus home in a much clearer frame of mind, able to focus on the days ahead and what needs to be done.

Yet, it was while I was putting in my hours at my part time supermarket job that a sense of real calm and awareness came over me. Suddenly, life made sense and I had a real understanding of my place in the world. The feeling has stuck with me now, and everything seems clear.

Om.

Back on board


Has it really been over a year? Gosh. Mental health really battered me last year, and its only now that I feel more myself than I have for a long time.

A lot has happened in the last year, which I’m sure I’ll talk about later, but for now, let’s talk about skateboarding…

I’ve skated on and off since my mid teens, with the last big blast around my 40th birthday. Now, at 47, I’m taking skating on again, having just bought a new board last  week.

I’m happy to say that my basic skills on a board haven’t deserted me, having rolled around my local park, pulling kickturns and rolls, and today have started conquering my fear of dropping in, which has always been the big one for me.

I found a really good video which went through the basics, and that really helped me today, as I can now drop in from the small fun box… still a way to go, but it’s a great start after not skating for years.

Cue happy face!

 

Cycling makes me happy!

Today was college day, almost the end of the first year of my Counselling Diploma (man that has gone quick…), and it was really cool to cycle in.

The afternoon saw me plummet into a tailspin of tiredness and depression, and even though I had a good chat with an old friend that helped, cycling home really lifted my spirits and brought me back from the pits of despair.

I bloody love cycling!

elsa
Elsa – my trusty road bike

 

Flat Cats

A short vehicular excursion along country lanes a few days hence allowed me to purchase the missing piece for my beloved old BMX.

Refuelling with freshly brewed coffee whilst installing my new sprocket and the freshly procured half-link chain brought my ancient steed back to fully functioning life once more. My goal of riding flatland was achievable!

After the elements had done their worst with wind and rain, the park seemed quieter than usual, which suited me, being the sensitive soul that I am. (I do not like an audience when I’m learning…)

A deserted car park was just what I needed to practice rolling into a bar spin, then being able to effectively ride my bicycle backwards. I’m sure the sight of a grown man rolling downhill with on leg over their handlebars was slightly amusing to some!

I had some feline company whilst I rode, namely an affectionate ginger tom, who I see around the park and have dubbed Ginger. He is a soppy beast, and I was glad of the attention. I like cats…

So I didn’t get the transition from rolling backwards to riding backwards, but after watching young Watanabe Sohana  from Japan (She is like 5?), I was soon back out again… I love this video, she says “I’m happy.” at the end, and that is what riding should make you feel.

https://www.facebook.com/ecobicycle/videos/1060780560613281/

 

That’s better…

I’ve had a rough day today… not feeling too good about myself and my attitude, I spent the morning at college on my Counselling Diploma. This morning, we were working in groups presenting controversial issues to each other and letting the debates ensue. I dug myself further and further into my cave, withdrawing from the room and the ensuing debates.

I presented our groups issue (enforced euthanasia) with sheer bloody mindedness, stayed for the following group, made my excuses and left, knowing that my mood and mental state would not be conducive to learning that afternoon.

IMG_5139
The Pond in late Autumn

After a long lunch and a cuddle with my wife on my return home, I packed up my fishing rods and backpack and headed back to my favourite fishing spot of the summer, “my pond”. Just walking down the towpath in the late autumn sun made me feel better. The canal was high after heavy rain last week, and the trees were mostly bare, allowing more to be seen in the fields around the canal.

 

 

IMG_5135
Rods are out…

Arriving at the pond, the feelings of the morning faded, and a warm smile spread across my face. It is good to be back at one of my favourite places to relax. The pond seemed a little different, as it is not covered by so much foliage now, but it has lost none of its magic calming effect. Being in nature is such a tonic to me in times of distress and upset.

IMG_5134
The Pond in late Autumn

 

After fishing with my good friend Rolf at the end of last week down in Hampshire (I was after Pike, Rolf was after Carp), I was certain that there is a dirty great big Pike in the pond… I had seen it briefly over the Summer, and the lack of water birds on the pond confirmed it to me and my friends. Rolf has kindly set me up with Pike rigs and a bigger landing net, so Im determined to go after the Pike in the pond, alongside fishing for the larger Roach that are definitely in there too.

Here’s to an exciting Winter at a lovely spot, and catching some big fish. It makes me happy.

I Got Stuck In A Website!

Excellent approach to counselling. Honest, straightforward and decent. Good stuff.

Inspired Counselling

I haven’t been on here lately as I was setting up my own business, and in the process got lost in a world I know little about, websites… It is time for me to help people through my own counselling business. It is also time to build this up so that I will be able to ease back other things and have more time with my little sons and bikes.

www.inspiredcounselingservices.co.uk

It has taken a lot of time and effort from my bride and children to help me accomplish this.  We also did the website totally by ourselves, which was very troublesome at times, and made us very thankful that I teach and practise Mindfulness 🙈🙉🙊

I intend to catch up on your posts very soon, in the meantime, have a look at my website and share it or our Facebook page. It all means we get to help people…

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Nurses and Patients Demand Equal Rights!!!

Excellent thoughts and plans. We need more stuff like this EVERYWHERE!

Big Red Carpet Nursing

Ideas, organization, and effort bring power and results! Ideas, organization, and effort bring power and results!

With this post, I introduce a project still in its infancy: its planning stages, really.

Nurses have long known that countless abuses and misbehaviors against us go unreported and unaddressed. Perpetrators are valued sources of revenue and prestige, and much protected. Nurses know from bitter experience: honest reports of real abuses through official channels more often result in retaliatory punishment of the nurse reporters than any accountability for perpetrators harming both nurses and patients. The only savior for such nurses has been publicity. My project aims to help nurses aim this light of day. The usual status quo severely risks patient safety and protects both fraudulent ‘care’ and malpractice. Nurses demand better! Our current path seems to lead ever deeper into such corruption, protected and encouraged by powerful interests that care only for profit, not patients. These interests have largely silenced nurses with ruthless retaliation against any…

View original post 254 more words

No tech.

Wednesday was good this week. I was mentoring Year 10 Business students at the Robert Smyth Academy in Market Harborough on their second Enterprise Day.  The day revolved around the students working together making promotional material and products for music festivals.  They also had to pitch their products to fellow students, teachers, support staff and mentors in the afternoon. 

The really great thing was that students weren’t allowed to use computers at all.  They had to talk to each other and share ideas.  Everything was written and drawn on paper.  When it came to making products, materials came from shops at each end of the corridor of classrooms that were run by staff. There was great excitement and energy with plenty of students bustling up and down the corridor, bartering, shouting and enjoying the day.  Purchase orders were filled out for each item, with budgets being recorded and maintained.  Students used actual thinking and communication skills.  

It was fantastic to be a part of the day and support the students with real world advice and experience, seeing young people talking in groups, making things, drawing posters and working together.  We only used computers to play music throughout the day. 

It proved you don’t need phones and tablets to get ideas, create or communicate.  Now, I’m sure that as soon as they were on breaks students had their phones out, and social media were in control.  BUT, when in the classroom and pitching to each other in the main hall, you hardly saw or heard a mobile.  One student in my room did get their phone out, but that was to use the calculator function. 

Ironically, my phone mysteriously ran out of power just after I arrived at the academy.  I didn’t miss it.  I had really good conversations with amazing people, making genuine connections, which are far more valuable to me. 

Get out there, interact, volunteer, work with others! 

See you next week, Morgan.