As it is Mental Health Awareness Week I have chosen to write a little about a fabulous woman I met in London on a rainy afternoon in November, just after my son had moved to live and work in our amazing capital city.
I think of her now because she looked to me on first glance to be as mad as a hatter. I was enjoying taking in the Christmassy London scene outside sipping an Americano, no milk or sugar ( how mad is that ?) when in walks, supported by a shopping baskety, zimmer frame, a quirky lady sporting a very amusing Christmas Pudding hat. She catches my eye and smiles. (oops, taught not to do that in London ) ah well too late. She orders Sushi and coffee, mince pie and I’m just about to jump up to help her carry it when one of the staff beats me too it. Full marks to the staff in Pret !
So, trying not to make anymore eye contact with the “crazy” woman, I look out of the window onto the wet but brightly lit London Tottenham Court Road, lost in my over thinking.
I was writing in my journal about my son leaving home and the proverbial nest, when she (Mad lady- as labeled by me)(is sitting directly opposite me) asks me “what are you writing about” – Very forward and slightly disconcerting…… Anyway ask me a direct question, I’ll give you a direct answer. So I tell her, I’m writing about my boy and me having to let go. She looks at me …… Then
She offers to buy me a coffee??? I am quite taken aback but politely accept, she joins me on my table…… (Oh crikey )
My mind goes into overdrive, Is she a clever thief (I move my bag to my other side), thinking quickly I immediately told her how lovely her hat was and she showed me a flashing raindeer brooch attatched to her cardigan… (all going well so far. Compliments warm people to you, so maybe I would be let off any torture – I would hand over my cards and run ! ) My over thinking mind going into overdrive..
Her grandchildren had made her wear that and the hat as a dare right through November and December!!! and for a perceived “Crazy” lady she was very eloquent and sweet. And it was a particularly stylish hat as they go !
She then proceeds to give me some sound advice about letting go of my children, “let them fly, they will find their way” I said it was a difficult thing to do. She assured me that once I had accepted that I had done a good job with my children it was my duty to let go and then live my own life. She glanced down to my little journal and see’s that I was writing a gratitude list, as I was using Mindfulness to help with some emotional issues that I was having.
She explains to me that she is a retired Neuro Surgeon and in London to shop and meet up with her children who all live in and around London.
Then she talks to me about the brain and the powers of the mind, she is speaking all the words I need to hear,
I ask her if you can train your brain to be happy even if you are dying? (I had been diagnosed with incurable cancer) and had already had cancer before.. She told me you can – I really needed to hear that !! (oh I am fine too by the way)
In those few words came a great message to me. Keep going with your Mindfulness and Meditation, keep allowing gratitude to be the focus of my life and let go of anguish and fear that really serve no purpose.
So looks are deceiving, a brilliant person can look like a numpty, a person who looks happy can actually be sad. everyone has their story, ours is not to judge, but to look for the good in people. Expect good, see good and good will appear (I hope)
The messages and inspirations that beautiful lady gave me were totally brilliant – I realised that I was more of a numpty than she has ever been.
* Allow the answer to come to you – Expect wonderful things to happen and they will.
“When the student is ready the master appears” A Zen Proverb – I was ready to hear those words and as if by magic the master appeared.
In essence I went into Pret a Manger with a heavy heart and after a conversation with a perceived Mad Woman, I left with renewed hope and a sense of immense knowing.
I was the mad woman,
…………………………………………………………………..and now I embrace the mad in me
Here’s an excerpt from the Mental Health Foundations web site -Gratitude for all those who help others with mental health issues
Meditation as Medicine for the Soul
“The most reliable and immediately accessible way for you to recognize how you are feeling – and therefore in turn make a judgement call on how well equipped you are to manage the day – is to tune in to your body. Being mindful of your energy levels, stresses and strains and general well-being gives you an indication of what you are, or perhaps will not be, capable of facing. All it takes is some time to train your brain and get into the practice of using your body sensations to guide you. Meditation is the ideal tool.
Situations will be ever more mismanaged if you cannot approach them from a place of being resourced and maintaining a certain neutrality. In an ideal world we would all love to be able to maintain that sense of calm and objectivity – but we are not in control of our external environment. We can, however, have a certain measure of control over our internal environment. So, when we find ourselves about to fly off the handle we have to bring our awareness to the situation and recognize that we have choices. I’m the first to acknowledge how difficult it is to step back and slow things down when your heart and body are surging with stress hormones and adrenaline.
By learning to manage your neurotic impulses through applying what you learn through mindfulness training and letting the noise settle, you will eventually become increasingly open to stillness and silence. I find it amazing that my whole being now yearns for this, and without it I would find it impossible to remain relaxed and happy. Stillness and silence have become nourishing friends, and solitude a welcome retreat.”
This weeks Midweek Visitor from the North West http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/health/mental-health-awareness-week-mindful-9238163
My next Meet up with amazing Empowering people is next week. Hope you can come.
Stay a little Mad – it makes us more fun
Give some time to yourself – So much love for you here 🙂
Positive Not perfect 🙂