Monday, 26 April 2010

A walk with my Grandad...

....or should that be one of my Grandads?

Firstly a bit of background. One of my Grandad's I knew, he was fantastic and I knew him well despite the few hundred miles that separated us until his death. My other Grandad I never knew (or at least never met) as he died years before my birth. Even though I never knew him I have always felt a connection with him. To say that they were and are both important influences on my life would be an understatement.

Anyway back to the walk.

Last night I went to bed and fell asleep in the much the way I do every night (or day when I'm on . Whilst asleep I dreamed. Nothing unusual there, I seem to be a "dreamer" but this one had a lot of residual echo when I woke.

Last night I took a walk with my Grandad, the one I mentioned second above. I know it was him. The man I walked with was like my Dad (who is alive and well btw) but not him. His aura was different but familiar, his voice different yet familiar. We walked on a street I didn't recognize but seemed to know. It was dark and misty but where we walked was lit, dimly yet clearly. We talked as we walked. Talked in the relaxed way old friends and close family do. Talked a lot. But I can only remember the bit where we talked about my current worries and troubles. The bit, in effect, I needed to.

When I woke I felt more than remembered the dream.

It's been a long time since I dreamed like that about anything and I've never been visited by an ancestor before.
Normally the residual echos are fuzzy, fast fading and hard to revisit, this time it wasn't.

I liked it.
To me my family has always extended beyond those I am directly related to by blood and also those I am separated from by death. It would appear they feel the same way. :)

For me this has been one of those moments where my personal outlook and beliefs have been vindicated.
It's a nice feeling.

Live well friends, be safe.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Update on the thing in my head.

So as part of the ongoing management of my OCD, my Therapist has encouraged me to conduct regular reviews of "life" to see how I'm doing and help me get a clear picture of the flow of things.
Now as something of list maker this has never been a problem for me and whilst doing my regular monthly checks today it occurred to me that I've not blogged about how I'm doing with my condition.
Those who know me know that the last 5 years, since being formally diagnosed, have been a trial for me, and those around me.
There have been times where I've been going backwards rather than forward, where the darkness just wouldn't give way to even a shimmer of light and when the hill seemed too steep to climb.
Conversely there have also been times of unbridled triumph , where I basked in the light that sent to shadows scattering and when I've done nothing but gained momentum on my way down the other side of the hill.
Anyway today proved something of a milestone.
I had to attend quite a serious meeting at work today which involved me, several members of senior management and quite a large does of anxiety.
Now anxiety is something that I suffer with really bad. In the past it has been one of the main triggers for some of my worst episodes and up-turns in compulsive behavior(repetitive list writing, agonising over choices to name just two symptoms).
Anyway, over the last few days my daily anxiety levels have risen as the meeting approached but I've managed to keep it at bay. Yay! Even in the final hours leading up to the meeting I managed to keep my marbles in their bag, as it where.

  • by monitoring my behaviour and not allowing the beginnings of "faulty thinking" to bloom into full blown all encompassing internal crisis's.
  • by remembering to breath......slowly. Simple but easy to forget when flapping.
  • practicing mindfulness.
I want to talk a little bit about mindfulness, as it's been something of a revelation for me. At first I didn't get it. When I was first introduced to it a few years ago at group therapy I couldn't get a working mental image to allow me to remove me from my thoughts and view the process from a position of calm detachment. Then,about 18 months ago, I was having a series of sessions with a student therapist called Madelaine. The subject of mindfulness, and my struggle with it, came up and she suggested a simple mental image to use that, for one reason or another, has worked for me. The image is this:

Before you is a series of boxes. In to each box goes a thought as it occurs to you, without you analysing it - just recognising it was a thought and putting it in the box. Once a box has a thought in it, it goes on to a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt winds its way to a hatch at the far end of the space before you. Once the box containing the thought goes through the hatch it is gone, it cannot come back. Other thoughts upon the same subject or emotion may occur, they may be identical but they are new thoughts.

Using this scenario/mechanism/ritual/strategy (call it what you will) it is amazing how quickly I can "get a grip" and calm down, effectively clearing my head and then "starting again" from a mindset I choose rather than the one created by reaction to my faulty thoughts.

It's worth mentioning at this point that there are as many of these scenario's as there are people, anything that works for the individual is fine - but the one above works for me. :)

Anyway back to today. The meeting went well and resulted in a positive outcome which I didn't fully believe it would but it did. Thank the Gods. :)
Not so long ago a meeting like this would have caused panic attacks and days (and sleepless nights) of obsessively compulsive acts.

I would like to think that this may help another who, reading this at a dark time, may see that there is hope of getting on top of things.

So in terms of review, things are going well. Not every day is easy and not every day do I succeed. But the difference between a lapse and a relapse are huge and a lapse can be coped with. Using the above methods I have found a way of living my life the way I want to, not the way that my OCD drives me to live.

There is hope.
You can win.

Science and Magic.

Why does the existence of Science have to invalidate magic?
Just because some things that, in the past, have been explain by magical thinking have now been explained by science does not mean that it cancels it out. The way I look at it science and magic are part of the same thinking, and just because science cannot explain or measure some of the things possible by magic does not mean it does not exist. After all not so long ago (in terms of the existence of human kind) science said that the world was flat and that the Sun orbited the Earth not the other way round.
I'm not point scoring for either side here.
I believe in the qualities of both schools of thinking and have a world view that happily sits science and magic alongside each other. At times they compliment each other, other times they are at odds.

So just because you can't measure something with scientific equipment don't just dismiss it.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

UK General Election 2010 - Interesting information.

I know that there are many people in the UK who , on election day - 06/05/10, will not vote. They will justify their inaction by saying such things as "it makes no difference", "they're all the same" or "I'm not interesting in politics, it doesn't effect me" or something similar in that vien.

To these people I would like to make something known.

If, on election day, you attend your polling station and collect your ballot paper and, rather than making a deliberate mark in one of the boxes, do a nice scribble all over it, fold it up and post it into the ballot box - you're paper will be counted.


They are a PROTEST VOTE - a way of telling ALL the parties from the big 3 right down to the extremists that they do NOT speak for you, that they are not offering you the solutions you want and that things need to change!
Not voting tells them nothing and lets them do what they want.

If this years election is won by spoiled papers then it will really shake things up and will help start the ball rolling and get real change in this country.

I'm not going to try and tell you who to vote for but PLEASE vote or spoil you paper.


Friday, 9 April 2010

When life gives you lemons.....

Life's given me a lot to muse over since the start of the year. I won't go into too much detail but between the drastic changes in my family's domestic life and the emotional upheaval that came with it and the changes I have seen in the lives of my friends has made me realize a few things.

There is no plan.
This whole idea of there being some great big master plan to all "this" is a myth. Things happen because they do - cause and effect. The universe began and the ball keeps rolling from there on.

We are not defined by what happens to us.
We are not defined by what happens to us. We are defined by how we deal with what happens to us. How we react and deal with an event in our lives, even the smallest of things, is the important thing. By looking at life from this point of view you can make the best of even the worst situation (although this can take some time - distance and perspective also have a big part to play).

Things do sometimes work out for the best.
On occasion, when the things you "wanted" to happen don't and you have to "settle" for something else, things can work out better than you expected. The trick appears to me to let fate take you were it will.

Family is not defined by blood.
Whilst it is true that blood is thicker than water, the last few months have taught me that blood ties can often mean less than those that are formed through friendship. From my point of view, there are people that I consider to be in my "family" that are not blood relations to me and there are also those who are blood relations of me that I do not consider part of my "family". I suppose really in place of family I should use Clan but as we are geographically separated Clan doesn't always feel like it fits to me.

Growing old sucks.
Now I don't write this from the point of view of someone who is old (I'm only in my 30's) but from the point of view of someone who has watched people who I care about, and who cared about me, grow old (I'm talking 70's, 80's old here) and be ravaged by life, have their spirit drained and left without any of the things that they cherished and work damn hard to hold dear. I'm all for living a long time and experiencing life for all it is but there comes a point where life turns around and well and truly bites you.

So then there's a few of my conclusions from one of the most eventful 3 months of my life.....

Rock on people.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Scopolamine - SCARY STUFF

Scopolamine could possibly be one of the scariest drugs I have ever read about (and hope to never experience)........

VBS news have an article on it here.

Another informative article from

Basically Scopolamine suppresses the victims freewill and leaves then completely compliant with no memory of what they did/what happened once the stuff wears off.

Nasty, especially in the hands of the more sinister people of this world.

Be careful outhere people.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Why don't my glasses do this?

Saw this and thought....why don't my glasses do this? After all I went to

The idea of augmented reality is really cool but the way I see it is there are two possible flaws with it:
a) there is still a hit and miss nature to mobile internet coverage - which they would definitely need to utilize to get augmented reality into mobile devices (well duh! G talk about stating the obvious)
b) the cost. Advances in technology are rarely driven by anything other than someones desire for profit (after all neither Apple, Microsoft or Intel [ other technology companies are available] are exactly charitable non-profit organisations are they) and that means that there will always be a hefty price tag on new tech. The more companies involved in getting the service to the user the more expense to the user. It's going to be a while before the bundle becomes enough for people start to look upon it as a convenience rather than a luxury.

All that said.....I WANT ONE!


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

It's been a while.....

Hello out there!

I know it's been a while since my last post 31/12/09 (seems like a lifetime ago) but I'm back and this is the beginning of a new surge in catherdingforbeginners activity.....( really...what do you mean I've said this before?!?!)

So then what shall I start with?
Well today the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the date for the next General Election.
On May 6th this year the nation will go to polls.
I'm not going to hammer on about it too much but I am going to say this.....

Please exercise your democratic right and vote
please vote responsibly (not for extremist, facist or communist parties).

Take care people.