Saturday, 23 February 2013

Looking back to look forward

Crocus in beautiful Glasgow
I had a moment this week reminded me of when I first started work with Breakthrough. It was just me and blackberry at that point. And after an afternoon of trying to connect a printer wirelessly with my laptop in a grotty office ,which has since been knocked down, I sat down and wept. I had tried traditional methods such as swearing loudly, kicking it, going for a walk around the block but my undoing was when a friend phoned and asked how I was. The silence at the end of the phone was me trying not to sob!

And so I know it's normal that  when we make a change or transition there is a point where the obstacles just seem a bit too many to face and there will always be that moment but it will pass. So after a bad day, failing to speak to an actual person in a bank about setting up a new account, the swear box was a bit fuller. But now I am gradually getting new systems in place and let's just say everyday is indeed a school day...

I was recently asked to take part in a letter to your 14 year old self and I must admit it was quite liberating. I hadn't at that age reached my Leonard Cohen fan stage or grown my hair very long ( aging hippy..yes you guessed). I was fortunate not to have too many spots as a teenager but I did carry other teenage  burdens of self doubt and shyness which could isolate me at times. Oh to have had the knowledge then that I have now, mostly knowing what  really didn't matter at all. That process of looking back at  how you have changed and developed really is helpful. But how often do we do that or get the opportunity to capture it. There are photos that are moments in time but how reflective are they of the whole time?

Blogging has been really my only experience of capturing feelings and experiences and its been helpful on so many levels. There is no doubt it's cathartic at times, it helps me process my experience and I hope will perhaps help others.  But what it also is , is my own journey, reminding me of how it felt at different points and how I have also changed through this process. It's collected my reasons to be cheerful as well of course. I understand better what inspires me. I have seen my moods wax and wane . I have seen my anxieties come and go. I have seen a life in turmoil find a different rhythm again. I have learned yet again that this too will pass.

If you are reading this with your own life going through change, your own turmoil, maybe try capturing it in some way. My experience is that it will help, you will recognise more how things have changed over time. You will understand your self better and see your resilience  and maybe it makes the next bit, however it's going to be, just a little bit easier. I read a quote this week that said within the deeper truths there is often a paradox . I think there is a paradox inherent in making or going through change. Facing into the darkest parts makes it easier to see the light would be the one I recognise from my experience of blogging.

Reasons to be cheerful
It's been a beautiful week, cold and crisp and bright. The best kind of winter weather but with crocus spotting to brighten the day. And this week too has been about reconnecting, with friends and colleagues. In particular I spent time with the inspiring Dr David Reilly again learning more about his wonderful work helping people back to health,The WEL programme. Its a whole person approach that transforms individuals, practitioners and individuals alike. The paradigm shift that our health care approach so needs.
I also have a timely day of mindfulness to look forward to this weekend and an opportunity to touch base with friends. But Cara has been a little poorly as this photo suggests so fingers crossed she will turn the corner and we can enjoy some beach walks too.
I want to be alone...


  1. Hi Audrey, I absolutely agree with your estimation of blogging as not just a way of expressing our feelings and making sense of the cancer experience, but as a useful tool to examine how far we have come on the journey and how the path changes at different points on this journey. Marie (JBBC)

  2. It's the wisdom of hindsight in part and affirming too hopefully. Also when you feel you are stuck or regressing , it can be reassuring to know you got through it before. Not just for the challenges we have faced but others too I'm sure.


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