Guest blog from a village teapot…..

I love WordPress.  I love the connections it helps me to make while stumbling around focused on key words as a guide.  One lovely sunny day I stumbled upon The Village Teapot blog written by a relatively new blogger – Michelle.  Michelle and I share something as we are both home schooling mums but when I explored her blog I could see many more connections.  Describing herself as ‘young at heart, ancient in thinking’ is a wonderful way to look and interact with the world.  I see wisdom in her words and I check back often to see what she has added since my last visit.  Readers of Scottish island mum are incredibly loyal and it is not often I invite another blogger to post here……so you will know I am very impressed.  Please support Michelle.  xx

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Remembering Solitude

 “We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart… and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together…. I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.” ~Helen Hayes

Post written by Michelle L Morgan

On a typical daily basis, we spend more time faffing around with social media, than taking some quality time to reconnect with ourselves. It’s not rocket science really, it doesn’t take much effort to organise some quiet time to unwind, revitalise, check in with our mental well being, and clear away unwanted inner debris.

Whilst it is wonderful that we have a wide variety of ways to connect to the outside world, it’s also sometimes a hindrance when you want to switch off. If you really try to disconnect for a while, you find yourself running from room to room, finding more and more technology buzzing away. Just how many mobile phones, laptops, computers do we need, in order to stay tuned in…and for how long?

“The question is, are we routinely using the computer and television to find alone time without really realizing our unfulfilled alone need? Or are we becoming incapable of living in the moment except in technological time-outs like the computer”~ Ester Buchholz

I’m sure social media can live without your ‘like’ clicks for 20 minutes of bliss in a warm bubble bath.

I find that I can disconnect quite easily, be it with a favourite book or magazine, whilst sipping tea. Writing an all important chapter of a novel, or an article, just scribbling away, completely unaware of my surroundings for a while. Gardening is a passion of mine and although I’m a novice, I can lose myself in a session of weeding away quite happily. Or taking a long stroll over the hills, feeling the wind on my face, for me there’s nothing like taking yourself off into nature, finding a quiet secluded spot with shade, sitting and just being.

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The way in which we devote so much time to being connected, is the way in we should treat ourselves to solitude too. Scheduling ‘me time’ is a huge necessity and a beneficial one.

 

Switch Off

“Solitude is a form of meditation.” ~Terri Guillemets

The art of solitude is a tough one to master at first. We find the time, we find the space and we settle down, expecting to instantly switch off and relax. But no, it’s not that easy.

There’s that inner voice in your head to quieten down, asking all the questions about the here and the now. “Why didn’t I do that?” “When will this happen?” “How will I find the time for this?” We can’t help thinking we may be missing something happening right now, do we check in? The urge lingers for a while.

Once all the mental trash has been bagged and binned, we realise that it’s so pointless to worry about things that won’t change within the next hour. Life really is all that simple, if we just let it go for a while. It’s a scary thought, but a truly profound moment. You realise that the beauty surrounding you, is somehow over looked and not entirely appreciated.

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It must be like this for the Buddha’s. Seeing life through rose tinted glasses, appreciating life’s small pleasures. The more we soak up this blissful feeling, the more we can improve our lives; we can see the things that clutter it up and tone them down a bit.

“We visit others as a matter of social obligation. How long has it been since we have visited with ourselves?” ~Morris Adler

We realise just how much of our ‘free time’ is spent watching or reading other people’s lives on social media, whilst our own time flies by in the chair.

I’m no social media phobic, not by far. Technology is brilliant for many reasons. It has helped improved lives and saved lives. Many a celebrated writer has been made using technology. But there really is a time and a place for it. I’m sure it’s certainly not every 10/15 minutes a day.

Just imagine how de-stressed you could be if you took the time to attend to your own rest, your relaxation, your quality time.

Imagine the tasks you could complete if you switch off from technology for 20 minutes a day.

A few examples:

Read a few more chapters of a good book,

Learn a new language,

Take up tap dancing, Yoga or Pilates,

Take a long soak in a bubble bath,

Bake a cake; prepare a meal ahead of time, to freeze,

Pot some window plants,

Make something crafty or arty,

Watch a favourite old movie,

Carry out some tasks in the garden,

Paint a picture, or even a wall,

Write a letter (support the Royal Mail).

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The possibilities are endless. You really could re-invent yourself in that short time each day, or re-kindle a love affair with an old hobby. Life could be enriched with small pleasures that you once sacrificed for social media, mobile phones and constant unnecessary interruptions.

After your time of precious solitude, you may appreciate your surroundings more than you previously did. Whether you want to log back in after your golden time, is up to you. Did they really miss you that much? Is social media crying out to know what you’re cooking for tea?

No, didn’t think so. Now…back to finish that chapter. But first, I must stick the kettle on.

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Page Attributes – http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199802/the-call-solitude

http://www.quotegarden.com/solitude.html

 

 

STV’s RBS Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes Community Champion of the Year 2014

Sometimes in life we meet a person who shines so bright that we can only stop and stare. When I met Margaret Gibb at the RBS Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes award ceremony I instinctively knew why she had not only won her category – Community Champion of the Year but she had also won the overall Scotland’s Real Hero award for 2014.  Margaret is a force to be reckoned with and also a kind and compassionate lady.  For almost 40 years she has run playgroups, play schemes and holiday clubs for local children who had nowhere else to go.  When a large housing estate sprung up in Bellshill and children tumbled out of the doors Margaret knew something had to be done.  From her very first playgroup Margaret grew the provision year on year and she now helps others do the same.

This considerable commitment to local children and their parents has now been recognised as it should. Imagine giving over 40 years to help others?  When talking to Margaret I could see the humour that she had shared with the entire audience that evening.  But I could also see the compassion.  I believe that we all like to think we are compassionate beings but in my experience only very few people really embrace this.  To be compassionate requires a loving kindness for fellow human beings that knows no boundaries.  Margaret’s compassion knows no boundaries and this is clear for all to see.  Despite living with serious illness herself she continues to make a huge difference to her local community and it is for the rest of us to acknowledge that.

Margaret had wished that she hadn’t been nominated because she doesn’t do what she does for reward; she does it because she loves it. I could feel the nerves despite the humour as she took to the stage to accept the first award.  She is a funny lady and that guided her through this moment with a real charm.  I watched Margaret re-enter the auditorium after she had received her award to take her seat.  I also saw the beaming smile on her face.  She might not have needed the nomination but she was proud of what she has achieved and, I believe, very happy.

The smile just got bigger and bigger as the night went on and when she was awarded the overall award of RBS Scotland’s Real Hero 2014 she was bursting with pride and joy and so she should.

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As generations of children have passed through Margaret’s compassionate and loving hands they have been touched by her contributions to their own lives. Margaret enriches the lives of others and I am not sure there is any greater legacy.  This very funny lady took her moment with her daughters right by her side.  I felt blessed to meet Margaret that evening  and see that smile light up the room.  I spent 10 minutes chatting with her and in that time I could see what others see on a daily basis.  Every community needs a Margaret Gibb – a very real and inspiring hero.

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Project Poppy Salutes…

It has been an honour and a privilege from start to finish.  When Scottish island mum first muted the idea of creating memorial pieces to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War 1 she couldn’t have known….

She couldn’t have known how dedicated and committed people would be to the project and this is, perhaps, how it should be.

I think all of us involved realised that this was our chance to create something unique and special to remember all that had lost so much.  Memorial Day is about all service men and woman and their devoted families and this year is just as important as all years.  So, all that is left to say is a huge thank you to everyone who has shared this journey with Scottish island mum.  It has been both humbling and inspirational.

To find out more about the people involved and the work they created go to the Project Poppy page.

I end with a fitting and unique tribute to all who have lost so much in combat through the years but we have a special place in our hearts for those young men who lost their lives in the horror that was World War 1.