Patronising?

Have you noticed this word is becoming more common every day?

“Don’t you patronise me!”

“I feel patronised.”

Are just two of the most common.

 

But what is the real meaning of the word and where are we taking it out of context?

Over the last few decades, even the dictionary has changed its mind.

In the Oxford Dictionary from 1980 the definition is;

pa’tronize. v.t. 1. Act as a patron towards, support, encourage. 2. Treat (person, thing,) as if with consciousness of one’s superiority.

But in 1996 from the Oxford dictionary it became;

patronize v.tr. (also –ise) 1. Treat condescendingly. 2. Act as a patron towards. 3. Frequent (a shop etc.) as a customer.

For me, the first definition makes sense for the real meaning of the word.

Let me illustrate with a story.

Someone I know who runs a business mostly online had a customer who complained about a product that he sells continuously and is an expert in that product.

When he went to great lengths to explain the nature of the product and why something had developed, which to the customer appeared as a fault, she accused him of patronising her.

But he was simply carrying out his side of her patronising his business. He was superior in his knowledge of the product.

But, we have now developed the habit of using the second definition. Many times when people mean well, such as giving up their seat on the bus, or helping someone in some way, many of us decline that help because we see it as being treated condescendingly.

If being patronised then;  is someone giving up their seat for me, or helping me on with my coat, or asking if I am ok, I don’t mind being patronised.

Perhaps we all need to ask ourselves in what context we are using the word. The next time we feel “patronised,” are we feeling condescended to? If someone gives up their seat for you, are they coming from a position of superiority? Or kindness?

The world is becoming a place where many people seem to be on the defensive. You may say this is because Planet Earth is becoming a very dangerous place to be.  Maybe true or it may not be more dangerous than it ever was. But we do seem to be feeling that we are living on the edge of a precipice.

But how about being the change you want to see and start with making a change in your corner of the world? There are all sorts of things we can change and to be aware of some of them is a start.

Perhaps the original use of this word in our vocabulary will be the first step. Because once we are aware of peoples true motives and don’t immediately go down the road of being or feeling “Patronised” we can help to spread a little kindness. In turn that will lead to us all to not being afraid of showing kindness, for fear of being accused of patronising the other person.  

 From little acorns mighty oaks do grow. 

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A Time to Give and Receive

Christmas giving.

 

It is more gracious to give than to receive. Yes? Is this what you were taught and always believed?

I hear people say; “I love shopping and buying stuff for Christmas presents. I love to see their faces when they open them.”

But have you ever thought that it could work the other way around?

Ask what this would mean for you.

Say it; “It is more gracious to receive than to give.”

Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Did you realise that it can be just as gracious to receive as it is to give?

How can that be?

Well, what does it feel like to you when you want to give someone something, and they refuse to accept it?

It can be a compliment for example. “I love that dress.” “Oh this old thing, I think it’s horrible, but I have to wear it to keep the peace.”

Or; A present that you have shopped carefully for. And the person just tosses it to one side and doesn’t even thank you on Christmas morning.

Or; A neighbour or friend who you see is in need. You may offer to help or do something, but all you get is a rebuff such as “I can manage quite well thank you.”

Or; You offer someone a seat on the bus for all sorts of reasons. And they say “No thank you. I’d rather stand.”

Sometimes you can end up feeling foolish, hurt or that your gesture was something that you will think twice about in the future.

My experience of working with people in need, such as Older people, sick people, Mums trying to take care of the kids, has shown me how important it is to know how to receive.

Older people can be so obstinate, and many of us have to stand by and wait for the disaster waiting to happen. Sick people can be in denial of anything being amiss and will resist any attempt to persuade them to see someone who may help them.

Mums taking care of kids can be so independent and think that they know best. Even when others can see the struggle and just want to support them.

Yes, it does depend on how they are approached. Yes, sometimes it can be seen as interfering. But I wonder how many times we think that someone is interfering, or being patronising, but we would be so much better off receiving the support and making our lives more comfortable and making their day a pleasant one because they know they had a chance to give something.

I have decided that I am going to make life easier and more pleasant for those around me as I grow older. Accept what support there is, ask for it if necessary.

One reason why I have decided this is because I know many people who are struggling with taking care of their parents, who in turn just keep saying that they are all right. Even down to the point of not allowing much-needed carers to come into their homes, and will just shut the door in their faces.

And then, phoning their children to say that they need help.

Have you heard of the story of the drowning man at sea? His boat overturned and he prays to God for help. Along comes a helicopter and the man sends it away, saying “No God is going to help me!” Then along comes a lifeboat and the same happens again.

The man drowns, and when he gets to heaven, he complains to God that he had prayed for help, and why did God let him drown. God replies, “I sent a boat and a helicopter, what more do you want?”

I heard a story about a Buddhist centre and the head monk was very old and ill. Everyone enjoyed taking care of this gracious old man, and he allowed them to, he accepted all the care he needed and died peacefully knowing that he had given to his carers, by receiving the love and care that he needed.

So, remember this Christmas, that you can receive support, gifts, help with the shopping and cooking. Even if it does not seem to be happening, don’t just feel sorry for yourself, but ask for it. I am sure that if you swallow your pride, those around you will be only too delighted to help and support. And by receiving that support you, in turn, will give them the pleasure of receiving and giving at the same time.

It works all ways you see. It is just as gracious to receive as to give.

Happy Christmas everyone and I hope that you will see the blessings of both giving and receiving this year.

 

 

 

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Who are They?

025The Elderly are not they.

Children are not they.

People with different colored skin are not they.

People from other countries are not they.

The rich are not they.

The poor are not they.

Disabled people are not they.

Beautiful people are not they.

Ugly people are not they.

I could go on with many categories that seem to seperate us all. But the point to remember is that they are us!

We are part of the whole. Part of the Universe.

Each of us has been placed in our corner of the world. Some may move around, others may stay in one place.

Some may be in the limelight. Others may go about their lives in a quiet way and only known and recognised by a few.

When we talk about people, or refer to them as “they,” remember that we are all one body. All one piece of a massive energy.Galaxy

We were all once babies. If we survive illnesses or remain healthy we will be old one day. We could become disabled.

Our perception is the only difference in how we notice the colour of our skin or whether we are beautiful or not. We may consider ourself rich or we may consider ourself poor.

 Everything is relative, everything is part of a whole.

We were all born and we are all going to die.

None of us knows what tomorrow, or even today will bring. Anyone of us could suddenly become “they” and things can change in an instant.

Or if we don’t become they, we could grow close to someone and be a huge part their lives and no longer feel seperate.

Therefore we need to love one another as we love ourselves. Not judge others, but put yourself in their place and try and understand what it would be like to be in their shoes.

You may be in them tomorrow!

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Help! I’m over 65 and Ageing.

 

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Have you noticed that on any forms you fill out, they have a box for 20-30; 30-40; 40-50; 50-65 (or similar)

When it comes to age 65, we are counted as +

What does that mean to you?

What it means to me is that society, in general, dismisses the over 65’s as a number when everything becomes indefinite.

Over 65’s, in general,  have become indefinite, written off, uncertain about the future, invisible.

But I am working on making certain that any of that will not apply to me.

Over 65 is an important passage in life, and in these modern days, we could still live another thirty or more years. That is a lot of years to dismiss eh?

What about you?

Is it time to change all that?

After all, if the Government want us to work until we are 70 or even more, why put 65+ on forms, some of which are important to our welfare, such as insurance.

What can you do as an individual? Could you be a spark to the fire that helps to change that thinking?

We will show them that there is no such thing as 65+

We are still an important number.

Many people in my circle are still coming up with visions and new enterprises for the future at age 65 +!

There are some Facebook groups that you could join, to help start the ball rolling. Ageing with Vitality and The Silver Tent are just two of them. There is also one called Humorous Ageing if laughing about it takes your fancy. Here are the links.

The Silver Tent for women over fifty.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1755706121345418/

Ageing with Vitality

https://www.facebook.com/groups/113172222365276/

Humorous Ageing

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1485161444859745/

Come on Baby Boomers, do your stuff, work your magic.

 

 

 

 

 

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Transformation in Ageing.

flower fairy Florence

I have just been through a vital transition in life.

Through the last six months, I encountered “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A time when I was brought low and was forced to look at my life; where I was going, what I was doing. What was working and what was not.

There are times in our lives when we need to go through these dark nights. It is as if the Universe is saying “You are not listening to me, and you need to.”

I do not believe that the Universe, or God or this higher power, whatever you may like to call it, makes us ill, or depressed because I believe that we bring it on to ourselves. We think that we know best. So we will go on working, doing and striving, and wearing ourselves into the ground, or bed or onto pills, simply because we are not listening to that still small voice.

And that applies to anyone of any age.

Even those who say that they are living their purpose and carrying out what they know they are here on this Earth for, can be so busy doing, that they forget to be still, forget to listen, forget to notice things synchronising or not, and go ahead thinking that we know best.

I came to a place where I was forced to listen to that still small voice, and during that time I became quite ill, physically and mentally, but thank God that I still held on to my Spiritual life.

I realised that I had not been listening, I had been striving and worrying and pushing ahead, doing things that I thought I was meant to do.

I had a family problem to deal with, and although it was settled in a way that we thought was not possible at first, at the end of it, I had a meltdown. Not because I doubted, not because I was weak in any way shape or form, but because I had failed to notice that I needed to go through a transformation in my life. A passage of life that has taken me into my fourth age.

I run a group on Facebook for Ageing with Vitality. I blog about ageing. I talk about how we are still vital, but I had not taken into consideration that the physical body does age, whether we like it or not.

I was proud that I had reached the age of 72 and am still active, vital and healthy, but was finding the lower energy and the ability to multi-task, difficult to come to terms with. Along with a visual impairment that I now have.

We hear so much about staying active; keep exercising, keep walking, keep doing things, keep your brain active and on and on. But we can sometimes, be, so hell bent on doing those things that we ignore this important passage of life. Which is transforming into an older person, but one who can still have a good quality of life.

It may happen at different ages while growing into that fourth age. Some are ready to relax at sixty, while others will still be working at age 70, 80 or even more. But the important thing is that we do need to recognise that there will come a time for transition. It may not be an obvious one, but we need to be mindful of subtle changes.

I don’t mean that we wake up one morning and find that we are suddenly old, although for some who are taken ill this may happen of course. But I am talking about looking at why we are feeling more tired than we used to.

Is what you are doing working for you and the other key people in your life?

And I certainly do not mean that we have to “give in”. What I mean is that like a teenager who has to make the decision whether to go to Uni or the twenty-year-old who decides that life is going to change, they have left their teenage life behind and now have to settle down to life. Or the person going through a midlife crisis and decides that they want to change careers. We need to look at what our purpose is for the rest of the time that we are here.

For me, my transition has shown me that my purpose does not look like what I have been striving after for the last six or seven years. Even though in that time I have been more aware and conscious than ever before.

But I am at peace, and simply want to serve.

Nowadays, when I have a decision to make I ask myself what purpose it will serve?

I am so grateful that I do not have to work for a living now. I am grateful that I have accepted a simpler lifestyle and do not strive after belongings. My income is modest, and I love having no responsibilities.

I am healthy and do eat a healthy diet; I love walking and make sure that I walk at least an hour most days. I stay active; I love the Internet, Facebook and the groups that I belong to on there. I love the women’s group “Damsels in Success”.

I belong to a Women’s over fifty group “The Silver Tent,” whose purpose is to raise the consciousness of the world.

I love going to the Macular Society meetings with others who have sight problems. We have a laugh and obtain lots of important information.

I love eating out with friends and my beloved husband. I love writing and reading. Most of all I love my times with God, in quietude and meditation. Listening to the music of Taize, Snatam Kaur and other inspirational music.

My life is full and rich again after spending the last few months in transformation and healing. The transition into being a Wise Elderwoman.

Look out for regular blogs again now,  about Ageing with Wisdom and Vitality, Death and all that it encompasses, (I am a Funeral Celebrant) and the eye disease Macular Degeneration and what it can be like to live with it. I will also still dabble in eating healthily and supporting people with issues around food and their eating patterns.

It is good to be back again renewed and with a fresh vision.

How about you? Are you listening to that still small voice that may be telling you it’s time for that transition?

 

Life is a beautiful cycle

 

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Extract from Hunter Gatherer to Baby Boomer.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Hunter+Gatherer+to+Baby+Boomer

(I will post the link for Amazon.com tomorrow when it will be 0.99c)

This book is available today Sunday, June 11th, especially between noon and 5 pm on Amazon UK. Special promotion to get the sales up on this intriguing and unusual take on our food crisis.

I thought that you may like to see an extract from chapter 5 about the way we ate in the 1940’s and 1950’s when Baby Boomers were in their infancy;

So let’s take a look at a list of foods and the amounts that people ate during the forties and up until the early 50s.

A list of the weekly (not daily) rations looked like this;

  • Bacon & Ham 4 oz. (113 grammes)
  • Meat ½ lb (226 grammes)
  • Butter 2 oz (50grams)
  • Cheese 2 oz
  • Margarine 4 oz
  • Cooking fat (lard) 4 oz
  • Milk 3 pints. (Around 1 and ½ litres)
  • Sugar 8 oz
  • Preserves 1 lb a month.
  • Tea 2 oz
  • Eggs 1 a week.
  • Sweets/Candy 12oz every four weeks

Imagine that you can only have one piece of cheese the size of a match box a week; The size of one piece of cheese to have with your biscuits for your dessert these days!

When my mother got married in 1943, the neighbours all collected their rations of dried fruit, sugar, butter and flour and pooled them and gave them to her mother to make the wedding cake!

White flour was in short supply, and brown wholemeal flour used instead. Vegetables and local fruits were in a reasonable supply because people were making an effort to grow their own.

In a PDF called European food and nutrition policies in action. Page 19. (Euro. who. Link below) the WHO said this:

“To everybody’s astonishment, when stillbirth rates or children’s weights and heights were monitored and when the disease patterns of adults were checked, it became clear that the people of Europe were often better fed during than before the Second World War.”  From this report, I think that it is remarkable how much the government was taking an interest in people’s nutritional needs.

However, things were not as rosy as they seemed. Some children born in this era were suffering from malnourishment. I will discuss this in the next chapter about the 50s.

Recently, people are taking an interest in how people ate during this time because obesity was a rarity. Even doctors lost interest in the subject and people were a lot smaller in stature and girth.

For research purposes, there are not even any obesity statistics around for comparison.

Then, in the 1950s after fourteen years of this way of eating, things began to change. There was more food around, and as a result, people were getting bigger in stature as well as girth.

It may be worth noting that the so-called Baby Boomers generation, those born between 1948 and 1960 are the ones who have seen the biggest changes in history with diet. They have witnessed eating nothing but real food to eating the Frankenstein foods now being produced. And now in the 2010s, we see a vast change in health and well-being. But it is never too late to change your lifestyle, and if you are among this generation, there is still time to do something about it.

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Staying Vital as You Age?

Pair of red wet cherry fruit on stem with green leaf isolated on whitecherry blossom

The blossoms are the essential part of the progession to the fruit; and the fruit is just as vital.

Have you noticed when you are filling in a form, they put the age brackets into such an order that when you reach 65, it just becomes 65+?

Society spends a lot of time, worrying, fretting and resisting the very idea of ageing.

But as we evolve as humans in the 21st Century, isn’t it time for us to embrace the idea? Especially as many of us are living for another thirty to forty years after retirement.

We still matter! Because as long as we have breath, we are still vital.

Illness and disease can occur at any age, so why do we think that old age has the monopoly on it?

Yes; our bodies do wear out and become weaker and frailer, and the chances of succumbing to degenerative disorders are stronger.

But being Vital in our older years is still as much a part of life as when we are younger. There are many younger people who don’t realise how vital they are to society, so why do we insist on giving old age the honour?

The word vitality is being used too loosely these days. It is used to promote products, and ironically anti-ageing foods and creams. Consequently, we think of vitality as something that is easily lost and associates that loss with ageing.

Some of the synonyms for the word vitality are; Liveliness, energy, animation, spirit, passion, sparkle and vibrancy; the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things; Vital force or energy.

If you study those words and bear in mind that we are all made up of Mind, body and spirit, you may realise that you can retain them.

Liveliness can remain in the mind and spirit, along with vibrancy and passion.

Every one of us, from birth to death, have something to contribute to the world. No matter where you are, where you live, the state of your mind or health, the state of your finances, whatever your intellect or culture you have a VITAL role to play. At any age.

You may not ever become rich, a writer, an artist, a teacher, a celebrity or earn lots of money. You may even be thinking at this moment that you are not successful because you haven’t reached a goal that you had in mind. You may have just been diagnosed with an illness or condition that you perceive as a road to failure.

You may even be thinking that you are already a failure, let alone when you get older.

You may have just retired or are coming up to retirement, and you see the future as bleak and that you will no longer be a vital part of society.

On the other hand, you may be looking forward to a bit of peace.

Do you have the thought at the back of your mind that it is downhill all the way after the age of 65? Do you think that you must do the things on your bucket list before it’s too late?

Too late for what? Perhaps too late to be able to travel freely, too late for certain activities, yes. But have you thought about what else it may be too late for? Are you seeing the time to come, the “too late” as a time when you are sitting like the proverbial cabbage?

The truth is that; As long as you have breath, you are still vital!

But how can I remain vital when I am too weak or helpless to do anything?

All of us have energy running through us as long as we are alive.

Most of the time we are unaware of it and only when we are active in some way, we become aware. But it is there; how else would your heart keep beating, your eyes seeing and all the other organs in your body stay working?

Collective energy is what you feel in a crowd at a football stadium or when the whole world stood still when we were witnessing 9/11.

We are part of the Universal energy, and what is more, it is Vital to every one of us, it is what keeps us alive. You are part of that collective energy.

Even people in a coma, or under anaesthetic have an energy running throughout their body. And they are still vital to the planet and in turn to society.

And even the person in a state of weakness, infirmity and very old age, have that energy and vitality.

People become “old” at any age. The physical process starts at age 27. But in many peoples minds, they begin to feel old as soon as they see the first grey hair.

We put people into categories or brackets. We have expectations of what we can do at any given age. We use the expression “I’m too old for that.”

The perception is different in all of us. Some may still be playing football or running at age ninety; others may need to stop being physically active at a much earlier age due to injury.

When we run upstairs and forget what we came up there for, we fear that it’s the ageing process setting in. Forgetting that most of us at any age do that. What about the schoolchild forgetting his sports kit, or losing his jacket? Do we ask if he or she is getting old?

We think of the darkest fear that we have with the process of old age as a line of events.

  • We retire; we travel or join things; take up mew hobbies.
  • Next; we expect we will start to suffer from disease which disables us from doing all the things that we like to do.
  • We then expect that it’s downhill all the way to becoming useless, a burden on society, and want just to die.

But guess what? That vital energy is still there.

Remember that the Universe does not centre around you, but that You are simply a vital part of it.

So as you become weaker and frailer, you can have either a positive effect on others or a negative.

Prepare for your older years with the thought in mind that you are vital to those around you at this time, and you are on the road to FEELING vital until the day you die.

Another synonym for vitality is spark or sparkle. Are you going to be the spark that lights people’s fire, even when you simply smile at people around you?

Don’t tell me that you can’t do that when you are old and frail. I know many who do. 

Having the spark that lights people’s fire starts at any age. Think of the effect that even the youngest baby has when they smile for the first time.

Are your family and friends going to be drawn to see you? You can do this by staying energised while you can by listening, learning, reading, writing and creating new things.

If your niche is gardening or craft do it, while you can.

Stay informed, be active, eat well.

Research drugs before you take them. You do not have to just go along with what the doctor says and jump on the roundabout of taking one drug after another that dulls your brain and mind.

Make younger friends, don’t just join the local senior citizens club and talk about the weather or your latest illness.

You have a lot to offer younger people coming along. Only three days ago, I was lunching in the centre of London with a young student from Singapore. How did I get there? I was at a Seminar on making choices with people of all ages.

The turning point for me was when at the age of sixty, a friend of the same age commented that she hated this business of getting old.

I thought “I’m outta here!” No way was I going to join that bandwagon.

Yes, I am ageing, yes time is running away with me, but I changed my thinking to one of “My older years are going to be a time of learning, wisdom and supporting others to do the same.”

I for one will remain vital until the day I die.

How about you?

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Yeh But!

cherry blossom

Are you going to enjoy the cherry blossom this Spring? Not long now. 

Or are you going to say “Yeh but it doesn’t last long and look at the mess it makes.”

There is so much to be grateful for don’t you think? Yet there are many who are griping about the state of the world, or their life circumstances, or anything else that they can think of.

How wonderful that you had a day out with the kids?  YEH BUT… is the reply.

Isnt the weather lovely?   Yeh But………

You came through your surgery alright then?  Yeh But……..

I hear you have had promotion at work?  Yeh But………..

And on and on.

I have had conversations with homeless people. Others who are bankrupt. Still others who are elderly and infirm.

 People who are ill or grieving from loss perhaps.

In other words, people who really do have something to gripe about in the eyes of society. But somehow they still manage to see the bright side of things. They still inspire the good in others.

One homeless woman with whom I got into converstaion, was grateful that she had a lot of friends who were also homeless. They have good times together, not one negative word out of her. I came away feeling blessed and grateful.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning by someone who needed to attend A & E, but instead of complaining she said that she was grateful for the kind attention of the staff, even though they were rushed off their feet and she had to wait a long time.

Another good example is of an elderly lady whom I looked after, she only had one breast, one leg. one eye and was in a wheelchair. Yet we care assistants loved attending to her needs, because she always cheered us up. She used to say that when they bury her the cost will be half price!

If you are constantly looking for the dark side of everything, or dwelling on the past, then the chances are that you are not living consciously. The chances are also very strong that you will get what you are thinking about and be miserable no matter what you do.

Are YOU unsconcious of all the good things around you?

Do you want to be subjective to these thoughts? Or do you want to live in gratefulness?

It is possible to make the choice.

Are you living an abundant life? Do you know what that means?

Or are you living in a “Yeh But” world and only seeing what you do not have?

 

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My Yoga experience and Ageing.

K.Yoga Retreat.1

In December 2016 along with many others,  I was thinking about my intentions for 2017.

I believe that the Universe has my back in this life.

That does not mean that I expect life to be easy and that nothing ever goes awry. We are in this world to experience everything about being human. But there is a way to make the experience one of enrichment, trust, and abundance, and it all depends on how we perceive life and all that it contains.

A more common way of looking at it is to say that we are either a glass half full or a glass half empty person.

I also believe that long articles or blogs can be very boring. So I will keep this short and easy to digest.

While I was thinking about my intentions, I came across a woman called Jane Oppegard, who with a friend Su Bear, was holding a Kundalini Retreat in Somerset. The retreat called Finding your Radiance for 2017, was about setting your intentions for the next year, clearing out the old stuff that can block those intentions and make way for the new.

I knew that was for me. Having gone through a difficult time with a personal family matter, I was feeling depressed and low and needed to get away. The idea of a retreat alone was very appealing, but somehow the idea of being able to clear away the negative stuff and start the new year with Radiance put the final touch to my desire.

All I can say is; It worked! And I intend for it to go on working!

I felt rather nervous about going, I had never done yoga before and I wondered whether I would be fit enough. But Jane did allow for that and I was able to sit on a chair. I am not in this photo, I was taking it! K.Yoga Retreat 2.

I came back feeling so different, having worked on the chakra system and releasing energy that was holding me back from carrying out my intentions.

So as well as the intentions that I already had in mind, I have now added a new one. I intend to carry on practicing Kundalini Yoga.

Jane is holding a 40 day Transformation online programme at the end of January. This is part of what she says about it on Facebook.

Do you feel that all you do is look after others, work all the time, run around from pillar to post, unorganized, never have enough time for yourself, life stands still and you never seem to move forward?
Do you need motivation to kick a habit? Smoking, drinking, eating, negative thinking?
Do you find yourself repeating the same habits? Such as unhealthy relationships, loosing your temper and getting angry.

If you get stuck in these kinds of life cycles, all they do is create negativity, and illness.

You can find the full details here; https://www.facebook.com/events/411661619224931/

I got back from the retreat last Tuesday feeling absolutley amazing and the rest of the group too. You can see the joy in our faces in the photo above. Jane is wearing the white headress.

So if you want to know more about Kundalini and Jane have a look at the above link.

Sat Nam. (Truth is our indentity) 

Dundon sunrise

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Experiencing Macular Degeneration.

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I thought I would write about Macular Degeneration from the point of view (pardon the pun) of someone who is experiencing it.

This is a condition where the Macula at the back of the eye, degenerates with ageing. People who have the condition lose their central vision.

This results in loss of visual acuity and/or losing the ability to use contrast.

Because the problem is with the central vision, people may not be able to see other people’s features.

People who have this condition can fall into various categories, they may be extremely challenged and have very poor sight, or they may be just struggling to see what people without the condition can see and take for granted.

People, in general, do not understand this condition; I used to be one of them, and wonder why the sufferer (I hate that word but cannot think of a better one to use) can see some things, but not others.

Let me give you an example. I was in a store the other day looking for a warm cardigan. The cardigan I wanted was hung fairly high, and I could not see the sizes. So I asked the assistant for some help because I have a vision problem.

She asked what size I wanted, passed it down and walked away. I managed to find what I wanted eventually. But I had to keep lifting the various cardigans down because I could not see the sizes. This is to do with contrast. The sizes on the labels were in such small print that I could not see them. The sizes on the hangers were yellow against brown. NO CONTRAST.

When I went to the counter to pay, the unhelpful assistant was standing watching. The assistant behind the till asked if I wanted a bag, and when I looked down there was a five pence piece on the floor so I joked that I would have a bag as the five pence for it had just been supplied, and I picked it up.

The other Assistant, remarked, “Your sight can’t be that bad then if you can see that!”

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to be defensive. So I tried very patiently to explain that there are some things that I can see and others I can’t, and the reason why I could see the silver five pence piece was that it contrasted well with the dark carpet on the floor.

This event is what prompted me to write this. In the group that I attend for MD we are very aware of people’s ignorance about this condition, and because people are living longer now and it is a degenerative condition, there are many more of us cropping who have the condition.

You may see people, like me, who walk around using a symbol cane. There are three types of canes for sight and vision problems.

Most of you will know about the regular white cane or walking stick, which has been in use for generations.

Then there is a cane with black and red stripes, which is for people with sight and hearing problems.

The cane that I use and is coming into popular use is a Symbol cane, or Identity cane.symbol-canesymbol-cane-folded It is to alert the public that I have a vision problem and to be patient if I seem to be slow or getting in the way, or I am asking for help.

This simple little device brings me more understanding and patience from people. Once they can see that there is a problem, because of my symbol cane, most people are kind.

But there are many people who are confused, which I have already mentioned.

The problem caused by lack of contrast manifests itself in a few ways. There is one example above. in my story about the cardigan hunt.

I can see letters as long as they are in good background and lettering colours.

I can see, black against white or yellow or pale colours.

But I cannot see lettering on two similar colours, for example; white on blue or green or pale colours, or black on red, brown on yellow, and horror of horrors two shades of the same colour.

A menu in a Restaurant I visited recently was in lilac lettering on a beige card. I could not see a thing! Even though compared to many I have good sight.

Contrast is also important for steps, bus and transport platforms, and edges of pavements. We already use contrast in our everyday lives for these things because of health and safety for everybody.

For people with MD, good contrast can be essential.

It may be worth while to consider that when you are designing an app or a website for example.

A report by the BBC from 2011 says that there are over 60,000 people in Britain with the condition and the numbers are predicted to rise.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12736988

The condition is not curable, but there are things that you can do to help avoid it while you are younger. Also there are supplements that you can take to help control the speed that it takes control of your sight.

Once again good nutrition is vital http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd-prevention.htm  and supplements which contain Meso-Zeaxanthin as well as Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and copper.

You can obtain supplements claiming to be for your eyes, but the best ones contain the extra Meso-Zeaxanthin.

Eat plenty of green vegetables which contain Lutein.

I recently heard an eye consultant claim once again that it is a waste of money taking supplements for MD, because if you eat a good diet, that should be enough.

But the nutritionists among us will agree with me, that the question is “How many people bother with a good diet?” Secondly, by the time food reaches us, how many nutrients have seeped out, if they were there in the first place with the depleted soils of the twenty first century?

Other contributing factors, as well as the genetic one, are the same as for other conditions, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. My contributing factors were smoking for thirty years, and the genetic one.

I tried to think of a better word than sufferer earlier, because I don’t see myself as a “Sufferer” but as someone who is experiencing the condition. However, it would sound crazy to go around saying “I’m experiencing the condition of Macular Degeneration!”

So please don’t misunderstand and think that I am asking for sympathy, I am simply letting you all know what MD is and what people “Experience” with it.

So, if you see people with a white symbol stick, yet you are wondering why they seem to be able to see, I hope that this information will help you to understand a bit more and shed light on the confusion.

Comments are welcome.

 

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