Britain Yearly Meeting – En-joying myself

This morning I told myself that  I was going to put behind me all the worries I had and start enjoying myself.  I went down to breakfast and there were several of us, which was very pleasant.  I was delighted to be able to arrange a lift into the campus, as my back was really bothering me, even though I had taken painkillers.

We joined Meeting in session and listened with interest to Meeting for Sufferings report.  There were three projects which we heard about (as examples).  The Friends of the Family project works with families  in deprived circumstances, and the work they were fascinating, but the one that really engaged me was the one that works with asylum seekers.

Whilst in silent worship today I was suddenly aware of joy in being with so many Quakers.  The thought that came into my head was that I was en-JOY-ing myself, and perhaps that was OK.  Meeting is a source of joy and joy is so powerful.

Next was the forum discussion group.  I had been looking forward to meeting people that I had spoken to on the forum, and I have already spoken to Kath, Peter and Tone, but had not met Alice or Jo.  Both were there today and it was truly delightful to meet them and also Alice’s daughter, who played hide and seek with my chocolate bar. (a lovely child!)  I think Alice was mortified, but I really had forgotten how inquisitive children are at that age.

We really need some seasoned Friends to use the forum, in order for the forum to reflect a more Quakerly viewpoint and this was one of the key points that came out at the forum discussion group.

The committed relationships session had six members relating the stories of their relationships, and I found myself appalled that we as Quakers have not challenged the fact that same-sex couples do not have the same right to enjoy a religious ceremony as part of their wedding that opposite sex pairings do.

What seems to me to be far worse is that we do not record the commitment ceremonies as weddings in our documentation.  This is disgraceful.  It is both dishonest and unequal – two testimonies broken at once!

I had intended to meet Jo for tea but the break did not really happen so I stayed on until the response group –  and took part in that.

I think Anne would be surprised to find me so silent – I am not speaking much in the discussions, and have no intention (unless led, but I doubt I will be) to minister.  I am in listening mode.

After home group I wandered back to base and started to cook.  Kath said she would eat pasta  and so I prepared to cook.  Majk came in with some veg and we had a meal fit for Quakers with gooseberries and yoghurt for afters.  Wonderful.  I am so happy, not just that I am not eating alone, but that I can share time with such lovely Friends.

I made the decision to drive to the hall tonight – I didn’t think I could cope with walking.  I was looking forward to the Swarthmore lecture, I was pleased to hear that Peter had been a member of Blackpool meeting – I must ask if anyone knew him.  One of my housemates fell asleep – we are all tired it seem s- during the lecture, and I was finding it difficult to concentrate due to my backache, which was causing my leg to twitch alarmingly.

I have found myself sauntering along today, doing things leisurely, and getting much more out of everything, instead of rushing as I did yesterday.  I wandered round the bookshop, bought a fairtrade bar of choccy to replace the one that Alice’s ‘Friendling’ found and devoured and then saw Sally from Morecambe, so went and had a hug and chat with her.   I am en-JOY-ing myself, going where them Spirit leads.  I am so much happier.


good night, sleep in Light.

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Britain Yearly Meeting Gathering – Monday

Last night I was feeling really fed up. I was tired, a little lonely, stressed about having still not got an internet connection and worried about the amount I was spending.

This morning I felt more positive. I rang the computer service and they were sure that they could fix the problem if I took the notebook to them (up by the supermarket – a long walk with a heavy bag again). Once I got there it was sorted in no time, it was simply a matter of knowing their settings, so I am now typing this on my own notebook in my bedroom.

Then, knowing that I would be late for the start of the session, I went to find the worship tent. Set by the side of the lake it is a tranquil and lovely place, and I could have sat there all day. I will return, but not tonight. Then to business, refreshed and calm and in the right frame of mind to prayerfully take part. I arrived, as I had planned, during a break, and then took my place in the hall in time to hear the reports of Trustees and also Stewardship committees.

It was followed by the introduction to committed relationships: a thoughtful and moving talk by (oh, I need to make better notes) a father of four. I am looking forward to the rest of this subject.

This time I queued for my lunch of soup (with a mere ten minutes to eat it) – my sandwich having been squashed into in-edibility by my laptop, etc.

The next session was purely for personal interest. The geek I am could not resist a session on the new Quaker org website. It was being presented by Peter, who I have been talking to online re the forum, so I took the opportunity to grab some time with him. He gives good Hugs!

Next we had another introduction to ‘creating communities’ – given by a female speaker in front of some interesting photos of Yorkshire. I confess to getting a bit lost at one point – I think I was concentrating too much on the photos and the screen – voice recognition can be funny at times – and not listening to what was being said. I was also very tired and in the five minutes of silence at the end I very nearly nodded off.

I was naturally concerned then that I would not make it through the response group and home group, but strangely by the end of the response group I was wide awake. I found myself in a group of five with me being the person with the longest membership or attendance, and actually sharing something profound.

Home group – well, it isn’t going well, I think.

I had intended to go back but my neck and particularly my back are painful tonight – down to carrying that big bag round today, I think. The Jazz sounded interesting, after the stewardship one, but I am not up for it. I was invited for a beer, but not on painkillers, I don’t think!

Fiddling while dinner burns

I am cooking, as I write, a pork casserole.  The recipe comes from the ‘eat-right’ site, but I have modified it a touch to meet our tastes. Whilst it was in the oven I thought I would play with my website, so it now includes my flikr site and a different header.  I don’t like the black on white text though.  I prefer black on a cream or tinted background.  That is the reason for typing in bold, just to see how it works.

I didn’t go to meeting. I felt horrid today: achy and tetchy, on the verge of tears for some reason (perhaps hormones). I slept badly because my back was hurting. I tend to notice *after* I have sat badly for hours, rather than it giving me notice beforehand. I took a couple of painkillers and later felt a bit better, though my back still aches.

I decided I needed to do something to change how I felt so I coloured my hair.

I am not particularly successful in the colouring – it is always a hit and miss affair. Last time I tried to do it a reddish colour and it came out like dark chocolate – though it was rather nice. Once I tried to do it a nice golden colour and it went orange. This time I tried to do a dark red and it has gone rather purplish, but a little streaky. Of course it will be assumed that I wanted highlights so it will not be too bad. It has hidden the grey which makes my dark blonde seem very mousy and dull, and now it looks vibrant and glossy if a little darker than I expected.

I wish I wasn’t so vain but I have little enough going for me at the moment and I have some un-Quakerly pride in my hair. I am dismayed that at 50 I suddenly seem invisible.

I am pleased to say that the bathroom does NOT look like there has been a massacre in there.

Physioterrorism and physiopacifism

OK, so forgive the title – I am trying to be too clever by half this morning!

My colleague at work has a partner who is a physiotherapist and it was he who introduced me to the term physioterrorist, it is apparently borne of long painful ‘torture’ sessions.

Yesterday I couldn’t see the reason, today I can.  I had my first session with him yesterday in which he put me through the mill – asked me to perform all sorts of weird actions.  I felt great at the time but after a few hours I started to ache.  I now feel as if I had been kicked by several mules.

I have been given a load of exercises, all but one printed out for me.  The thought of them, yesterday was exciting – today it fills me with dread as I am already in pain. The difficult part will be getting onto the floor and then after all these exercises getting up.

Now to the spiritual part in all this.  I have often commented that my body is no temple, more like a carpet discount centre that was once a church.

However about a month, ago we had a Quaker fellowship day in which there was a ‘movement’ section, in which the woman running the session introduced a yoga-based series of movements.  Now years ago I used to go along to a yoga class with my boyfriend and his friend (reader I married him, the friend that is) but I don’t remember Yoga being so spiritual.  Suddenly, at that Quaker gathering, I saw the point of it.  I saw exercise could be part of worship.

So I have decided that in my new exercise I will try to take that mindfulness, that meditative process, that concentration on listening to God to the new exercises.

So that the physioterrorims becomes the exact opposit -physio-peacefullness.

Back to work – or perhaps not.

I have been given a sick note revoking the last one  which allows me to go back to work part time.  This is the worst of all worlds.  I lose my full pay sick pay and only work part time so only get part time pay.

I feel absolutely gutted.

Tried ringing HR to check my facts and they are permanently engaged- either that or they have the phone off the hook.  They cannot be on the phone for half an hour.

Have spoken to my supervisor – she says it is all or nothing, the big boss doesn’t want me back until I am ready to go back full time.  I can’t do with this at all.

The only way round it, if HR tell me I can only go back part time, is to take two days holiday for the next two weeks.

What I have achieved today

I am amazed with myself because

  1. I went down two flights of stairs
  2. put the tax disc in my car
  3. stood and talked with a neighbour for a few minutes before l had to lean on the wall
  4. Went back up two flights of stairs
  5. emptied the dishwasher
  6. Washed up a few non-dishwasher things
  7. washed the kitchen floor
  8. vacuumed the lounge carpet

I had to have a break  after each task of  course, but my recovery times are better and at this rate I should be on course for going back to work next Monday.  Well, I can hope!

(I also sorted through the solicitor’s letters. I haven’t done what I need with them yet)