British Summer Time 2014

Seasonal Change

Those who live with the experience of mental distress, often find seasonal change affects them, sometimes positively, at other times less so. I am no exception. Fluctuating mood change can be exacerbated by a lack or an excess of light, and warmth. Seasonal change, particularly Autumn to Winter, when British Summer Time ends, and I’ve turned back my clock, is a time of reflection.

This year Autumn was mild in temperature and without strong winds, enabling the ‘last of leaves’¹, in all their multicolored glory, to remain clinging to their branches. Making way for a slide show of every shade and hue.

Changing colours

Changing colours Sue Margaret

Evergreens, gold, fuschia, magenta, copper, lime……fruits and berries ripen blood red and burnt orange;

Berry ripe  Sue Margaret

Berry ripe
Sue Margaret

Shiny horse chestnut fruits, rosehips. Natures harvest, a time when the old harvest festival hymns may drift to the surface of my mind. Memories of garnered wheatsheaves inspire  to indoor crafts, and remembrance of my earlier years when household grated fires were commonplace…..’all is safely gathered in’².

The Autumn always touches the wistful parts of me, and thus affects my wellbeing, mostly in positive ways. Initially at the change of season I may feel a twinge of mourning for the passing of the lighter and warmer months.Temporarily I go in to hibernation mode, feeling uncontrollably sleepy,  pj days become more frequent. After the initial adjustment to the seasons change I enjoy it’s mellowness and ‘faint blue mists’³, which tap in to my ‘foggy ruins of time’.¹ It’s  ‘carpet of gold’¹, with fungi and the earthy smells of decaying foliage, evoke feelings that are hard to grasp or write about. I give them freedom to ripple through me. Although every season has it’s charm I think Autumn is my favorite because it keeps me in touch with the transient nature of all things, and my recognition that there is beauty in change. Fallen leaves that have withered and dried or turned soggy, form their own lovely patterns.

Dry withering & soggy beauty

Dry withering & soggy beauty by Sue Margaret

Now in the Autumn of my life I find I’ve physically slowed down, (the mind still races!). This together with ‘retirement’ has given me more time in my daily routine to ‘stand and stare’. I frequently dawdle to admire all the fleetingly gorgeous scenes of seasonal change, and talk to any little furry or feathered creature that crosses my path. During the summer I also had some lovely chats with people over their garden fences, and in addition  glanced more frequently above street level. One mid-summer evening with the sun sinking fast I paused to watch and photograph. I wasn’t sure the dimming light would allow me to get a good shot of Kirkgate Market’s spectacular Kremlin like rooftop. I was pleased with the result my Bloggie snap camera made of the fading blue and tinged pink sky of sunset. This Lower Eastgate vista will soon disappear permanently as it becomes hidden by Victoria Gate, indeed within a few days of taking the shot, cranes and diggers had moved on site, marring the view. Actually I like cranes and diggers, and often stop and watch them, pondering about the amount of design, planning and sheer slog which goes into any building, and the lives of those who regardless of the season labour outdoors.

Bloggie disappearing skyline

The pleasurable warmth and light of this Spring and Summer’s seasonal change and experiences, linger still. As the color show of Autumn fades and the season descends into the stark contrasting shades of Winter, I anticipate with pleasure its glittering hoar frosts, when frozen grass will crunch beneath my feet, and the icy air make steam of each person’s breath. Wellbeing for me involves adjusting gracefully or otherwise to seasonal, physical and emotional change, embracing their darker side.

Sue Margaret

¹ Bob Dylan ‘Lay down your weary tune’: Mr Tambourine Man’ & ‘When the ship come in’

² Henry Alford ‘Come you thankful people come’

³ Seigfreid Sassoon ‘October’

Patch

Silence in the snow, the rain
Silence in the sun rays and darkness                                                                               Then gently, things start to happen…

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One person plays football
The other walks by
One person talks to friends
The others have snowball fights.

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That patch of land sees more than we’ll know.
Now, a cat comes by
Unaware of the foxes to follow far behind.

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To a place that is part of history
hidden in the wake of actions
of people and animals that pass.
And on into extinction.

That patch of land stays the same
Through millennia and century.
Animals evolve and the earth turns.

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Romans have walked where
Greeks have wondered where
Dinosaurs have pounced

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And all on this land you call home…

By Amanda Lynsdale

Photo sources:-

1. Seattle Municipal Archives – Boy kicking football, 1920 – Item 31106, Ben Evans Recreation Program Collection (Record Series 5801-02), Seattle Municipal Archives      – accessed 22.11.2014

2. Dan Nguyen – Nemo, Times Square Snowball Fight – https://www.flickr.com/photos/zokuga/8459013754/   – accessed 22.11.2014

3. Daniele Oberti – Cat walking on a shadow – https://www.flickr.com/photos/deadstar/2465290950/  – accessed 22.11.2014

4. Mary Harrsch–  Bronze greave Greek – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mharrsch/5612118/    – accessed 22.11.2014

5. Loren Javier- Dinosaurs from the Disneyland Railroad – https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/3894071555/    – accessed 22.11.2014

Please Don’t Take Things To Heart

Image for Milan's post Nov 2014

We ‘depressives’ are prone to taking what others say too seriously. And if taking what they say too seriously flips us into depression, then it’s just not worth it.

Those who are prone to despair, for whatever reason, I give the short label ‘depressives’; I am not an advocate of psychiatry. It is just a convenient label.

I could call us ‘despairives’ but it doesn’t feel right, so I am stuck with the term depressive. By this term I mean all those who may be doctor-labelled depressives: acute, chronic, bipolar, those ”with some mood disorder”, as I have been labelled.

But back to the main point: it is simply not worth it to take what people say too seriously, whatever it is, if it triggers a period of gloom.

Why do I say this?

Well because most people who say whatever we don’t like, or can’t cope with or who say something hurtful actually mean the opposite. They want to help. The few that don’t should be ignored, because if we take on board their unhelpful, even cruel intentions, then we are fools who suffer periods of doom and gloom. And how many times have we had those dark periods triggered? Is it really worth it. No!

Having said all that, I do know it is not easy to not take offence sometimes. I also know these things people say that trigger our periods of despair can be skilfully ignored more often in future. They can, in fact be totally ignored at some point, when we have enough of the right insights, for our own character. In other words we do not have to suffer so much, and we can never again, be driven by what others say. Our happiness cannot in the end depend on others.

A part of these two latter healthier responses, not reactions of despair, is to own our part in the matter. It takes two to tango, karmically, and we don’t have to take the bait by swallowing whole, or in part, what others say. If we can own how we take offence, whether it is meant or not, we can do the opposite. We can respond in a way that is healthy, whether people mean offence or not, and most don’t! For instance, doctors: GP or psychiatrists may not have the understandings or sayings that help me, but I take their good intentions, and skilfully sidestep the un-useful content.

I have sidestepped the boulder of such triggers more and more over the years, because otherwise I realise I would have wasted more time in despair-land.

In tandem with this I have focussed more on the friends who can and do help me more, and persisted more in communicating with them, however difficult that enterprise of deep communication may be. I hope you will do this and thus be kinder to yourselves, and have more well-being in your life.

(See also “For Better Mental Health, Cultivate Friendship” on this blog)

Milan Buddha Ghosh

LEEDS TREK 2014

Leeds Trek 2014 Flyer UpdatedAIM EDUCATION

AIM Education is a not for profit organisation which has been set up to create opportunities to overcome inequalities and enrich the local Leeds community. This weekend and extending over both Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November they have organised Trek 2014, you can follow the groups activities on Facebook here. The route encircles the entire boundary of Leeds.

You can cheer them along on their trek or follow their Twitter updates along the way @LeedsTrek2014 they start at 7.00am at Leeds Sport Centre on Saturday morning returning there by 2.30pm on Sunday via Roundhay Park,Thorner, Harewood House, Otley, Burley in Wharfdale, Ilkley. Guiseley, Horsforth, Headingley, Kirstall, Rodley,Pudsey,Farnley, Morley,Belle Isle, Barwick in Elmet and Temple Newsam….phew! BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE! Sponsorship and donations are welcome.

AIM Education have promised to take photos of the event and share them with us in the near future.

Sekabo book launch

SEKABO

Chase away any late Autumnal blues by transporting yourself to Scarborough

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for some thrills  2097 style, when it has now become SEKABO, a Provence of China!

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The rather risque lifestyle of one of its family dynasties is uncovered, and the technological advancement of ‘e-spexs’ has become a novel aid to the wellbeing of it’s octogenarian residents, and others who were once preserved cryonically.

You may never view Scarborough in quite the same way again.

The novel is to be presented by its author, Richard Woolley at a FREE book launch  on

Tuesday November 25th 7.15p.m.

at HEART – (Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre) Bennett Road, LS6

Refreshments will be on sale in the centre’s cafe.

The author of Sekabo, Richard Woolley has lived both in exotic and local locations. Headingley and Hong Kong are exotic, as is Sekabo. Richard’s experiences at home and abroad, together with his varied and fascinating work in the arts, are sure to make this an animated book launch. An event not to be missed.

The event is  part of  Headingley LitFest’s  ‘Between the Lines series, with another planned for the 8th December, ‘Dinner with Decameron’ for details of this see here

 Headingley LitFest

Something  else for the future…….in the Spring of 2015 is the Headingley Literary Festival, the organisers of which are busy planning more events for your enjoyment. Look out for the programme due to be published in January of the New Year.

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A little bit of culture does you good

Leeds Grand

What does the word ‘culture’ mean to you?  Art galleries? Museums? To me, it has always sounded a bit posh, and something that I’m not part of.

At last year’s Love Arts Festival, I was involved in some research with the University of Leeds which aimed to look at culture and what it means to us.  It got me thinking.

Maybe culture wasn’t something high-brow and elitist.  Maybe it was something I was involved in already.  At the time I was taking art classes, joining in with the Central Library’s creative writing group annual collection of short stories, in a choir, and making beaded jewellery.  That’s all culture, right?  And I’d be going to the cinema, had a museum visit with the writers’ group, an art gallery visit with my painting class, as well as all the visits and events with Love Arts.
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Five: A Black History Month Event at Leeds Art Gallery

Jude Woods is Assistant Community Curator at Leeds Art Gallery and I heard her speak at a recent meeting of the local arts group Scattered Leaves, where she talked about her work encouraging people who don’t usually go to art galleries to come in and see what there is on display. I didn’t need persuading since I’ve always thought free access to art is a brilliant thing to have in any city. Jude promised to write us a piece about her work for this blog in the near future, but in the meantime sent details of what looks to be a very interesting event coming up, combining art and social history, on December 1st.

One of the speakers, Carol Sorhaindo, worked for Leeds Mind’s community art project, and has run stalls selling her fabulous art work at Inkwell Summer events, so her perspective on ‘art from a post colonial perspective’ will be particularly interesting.

Five Black History Month