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Showing posts from January, 2014

To nurture wisdom

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  The approach to Windsor castle St George's Chapel In recent years my January has been elevated by an annual trip to Windsor. I notice that I always prioritise it in my diary. Even on the Sunday evening as i set off in the cold my shivers are of anticipation. My first invitation was flattering and even though I am now in some ways an old timer, I still go through the thoughts about how did I slip through the net to get the chance to come here! The point the biographies come out is generally another such moment and its hard to be in the presence of such history and indeed historic power not to feel awed. The Windsor leadership dialogue takes place within St Georges House within the castle grounds. The purpose of St George's House is to nurture wisdom and what an honour it is to be there. As well as a rich and stimulating dialogue we heard of the history of the Chapel, saw graves of monarchs ancient and modern and learned of the Order of the Garter, founded around 13

For a' that

January 25th is a special day in Scotland. Even as a wee girl I understood this. It is Burns birthday- our national bard. At school we practised his poetry ( the ones fit for young ears!), we had competitions, we wrote our own in our version of Scots, we celebrated. As 2014 has begun I have had a sense of real awakening about what a referendum on independence might mean for us in Scotland. I have noticed more people are speaking about it, a sense of shifting sands. Naturally as we approach Burns night here we see a drive to link the two. Understandably the claims of what Burns would vote has invited  some counter positions and cries of stuff and nonsense.  I can't see how we can claim what he would have voted some 300 years later but we can however perhaps understand the kind of society he would have called for. Burns was no role model for monogamy but his songs from the heart were not just about romantic love  but also about appealing to our better selves, to our sense of nati

No man is an island-the power of connection.

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I did an exercise on values this week and discovered how important a value connection is to me. So perhaps its not surprisingly this week has been all about connection. I have been part of learning environments where it's notable that the deeper we connect the greater is our growth. I also witnessed a moving graduation ceremony where as individuals told their stories of the depth of their learning it was evident that their relationship with others was the key to their journey to understand themselves. The sense of loss of that connection, their formal journey having ended I could relate to and moved all who witnessed it. Finale with all performers singing Lean on me. The Concert for Carers was such a wonderful evening, sharing the creative talent of so many but each of the performers linked their work to the carers. Some spoke of their own journey as carers, their own tears shed as they told their personal stories. It connected us differently, no longer audience and

To see oursels as others see us?

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This strangely mild January in Edinburgh I have been reflecting on when I worked in a medical practice as a nurse leader, every conference I attended had something on medico legal issues. It was guaranteed to give me at least one sleepless night that week. Here we were in many ways at the leading edge of new practice and any innovation put us at risk according to the advice. I'm surprised we achieved anything new given that- but we did. We worked hard, we looked at the evidence, we consulted with those receiving the service, we planned, we did our best. Any grumbles we learned from and genuinely tried to do better. I was proud of our work, it wasn't perfect but we cared about people and improving the service and it showed.  So when my own father experienced a poor standard of care it absolutely distressed me. I complained because I knew it could be different and wanted it to be better for others. An unplanned discharge caused him extreme pain ( not least when he

Tower of song

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My Mum is staying with us just now and we have noticed her increasing frailty during this stay and that's so hard to witness. But it was seeing her reaction to The Sound of Music that reduced me to tears. Her enjoyment was evident and seeing her sing along quietly to the line "my heart will be blessed with the sound of music" was my undoing.  The film of course reaches down through my childhood. My first trip across the Forth Road Bridge was to see the film in Edinburgh....a big trip, planned in detail by the community I grew up in. As a child too my grandmother had the LP and I listened to it every Sunday we visited, absolutely word perfect as a result. Even as an adult a trip to the singalong Sound of Music was a wonderful cathartic combination of laughter and singing-with a Glasgow heckle to Maria of "Gaun yersel hen" a hysterical high point! So it was both old memories and fear of the future that brought my grief to the fore. The positive rol

This one is for the men who are affected by their partners breast cancer.

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This is a different kind of post for me as its a guest one. I don't normally do this but when i was approached I was keen to pursue it as its some tips for men whose wives have been affected by breast cancer. A much needed source of advice from someone who has been through it. His name is Todd and here are his tips. Do pass them on.The men involved need support too and often are much neglected. Thanks to Todd for his honesty and willingness to share. Audrey   Three Goals for Guys                   Soon after my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer I went in search of helpful information and tips that would prepare me for my role as a support partner. This information wasn’t readily available.   There were plenty of books, magazines and web sites devoted to a woman’s needs (and rightly so), but guides designed to help men were fewer and farther between.                 In short order, however, I began receiving helpful counsel from friends and fami