MY REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST YEAR OF BLOGGING
I have reflected back upon completion of each post, learning from mistakes made in the hope of not repeating them again. Longer-term reflection allows more of a ‘drone view’, setting my thoughts against the backdrop of a longer learning process in a realistic, and hopefully largely positive way though not side-stepping the negatives.
My main feelings associated with this are achievement, and pride. I have to admit that it has taken many years for me to be able to say things such as this, as, when growing up, the message was that saying positive things about yourself was being big-headed, conceited, so not a good thing to do.
When I first began, to be honest, I was unsure how long my writing would continue for. Would I quickly run out of things to say, would anyone actually read what I had written, when would I fit in the writing, have I actually got it in me to string enough words together to form a readable piece of writing?
Well, I didn’t run out of things to say and have a list of future titles and ideas lined up. I have got into the habit of having a note book with me at all times, including by my bed at night and jot down ideas before they float off and are forgotten. I spend time searching for the images to tie in with the posts, but this also serves as a source of future ideas if a picture sets the grey cells firing with ideas. According to the wonderful Tom (who sorts my web site for me, comes to my aid when I have queries, and floats ideas by me for further development), people are reading what I write – thank you so much. I mean that most sincerely. Having said that, I have to admit that I have a couple of specific people in mind who I am sure do not read what I write, but I would dearly love for them to do this and maybe even send a quick ‘good for you’. Breath is not being held! As for fitting in the writing, suffice it to say I haven’t missed a week in the past year. If I know I have a busy time ahead, I get a couple of posts and podcasts in the bag all set up ready to go on a Monday morning, and I still get a feeling of ‘yes!’ when I press that publish button.
I admit that writing quite a few of my posts has been cathartic, allowing me to ‘get stuff out’ that probably saw no other way of escaping the hamster ball of my mind. Personal stuff, some of which has been presented as such, whilst other, presents in a light disguise. On reflection, I got rid of quite a bit of negative angst! Something that I had not until now fully acknowledged.
The podcasts, well they evolved over Christmas. I spent the holiday beginning at the beginning and recording. It has been a cause of frustration, humour and on occasion a whiling away of a good portion of time that maybe wasn’t actually there for the whiling. I STILL haven’t worked out how to stop if I make a mistake and record from the previous paragraph end. Honestly, I’ve tried, but to no avail. So it’s quite a few naughty words, delete the whole lot as sod’s law it rarely happens within the first few minutes, a few gulps of water and off we go again.
I have been disturbed by planes – including an RAF Hercules checking that my chimney pots were in order, wood pigeons right overhead cooing and even mating, a postman hammering at the door, a very noisy scooter revving up even more noisily outside – and of course, my neighbour’s dog. No matter what time I decide to try to record – often early morning or late evening, she will come and stand under my window and woof and woof. I don’t think that her dulcet tones, followed by a tirade of ‘Penny, why don’t you just shut up!!’, of course, presented in, shall we say, a slightly more colourful format would add in any positive way to the recording. Note that this is from someone who won a prize at uni for being the only person that had got through the year without anyone hearing even a ‘damn’ coming from then. Most impressive has to be the Red Arrows winging their way homewards after a week-end’s display flying. Good, nay great, to see them, but half an hour earlier or later would have been even better.
I can eliminate the chances of phones or lap top making any sound and prevent my cat from trying to join in, but, unless I move to a desert island I guess I will have to take the other possible sources of unwanted noise on the chin and wonder what next the universe may choose to throw in my direction?!
I have learnt that my mind is crammed full of information that I had simply forgotten I knew until I began to write. Material from past courses, books read and simply from life lived. Things that family, friends, clients, pupils have talked about with me. It surfaces and expands and fills me with a feeling of wonder about how the human brain works. When writing I have been led to do a lot of thinking about my ideas, biases, core beliefs and that can only be a big positive as far as my self-awareness is concerned.
As stated in last week’s post (TIMING AND TARDINESS), I really don’t like being late. I now also know that I no longer respond well to working under pressure, especially time based, either. I have therefore had to be quite strict with getting material prepared and set up ready to go ahead of time, thus allowing leeway for any publishing snags. This has only happened once, and the wonderful Tom came to my aid. The world would not have stopped had Monday’s post not popped up on my web site, few would have even noticed, but I would have. It’s called standards you know!
I have reinforced my belief that age is just a number, and with reasonable health, you are never too old to embark on something new. How I admire the stories of women older than me embarking on marathons, triathlons, jumping out of planes. By their standards, my achievements pale to insignificance. But I did it!
People ask which is my favourite blog. In all honestly, I don’t have one. Some seemed to flow very readily during their writing, whilst others required greater nurturing and much shuffling around when I had thought the piece was done and dusted. Neither of these affect my feelings around the finished product. I have enjoyed being able to include photos of my son and two granddaughters which I am pleased about. It adds to the feeling of my posts being a very personal offering to my readers.
MY PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST YEAR
The blogging has proceeded against the backdrop of seeing clients, trips out with friends, keeping my garden as I would like it to be, sawing wood – and more wood – to keep my wood burner going during the colder weather. Oh – and the minor issue of having damp course work carried out. Oh boy – it went on and on as had to clear rooms and move contents (including many, many books) upstairs – exhausting. I also had to shuffle furniture into the dining room and pile it there, then begin stripping wallpaper. I lived in my bedroom, along with a, by then somewhat neurotic, cat for around three months. First the din of plaster being hacked off, then the damp of new plaster, a pause for this to dry – with no radiators on – then re-decorating still in a cold home as the boiler died! Just in time for Christmas, I finished, had heat and got up the Christmas tree. Yes! In all, lots of toil, and no place to see clients, but again proud of having achieved the decorating and getting a house back to my home. My reflections around this – largely, the feelings of being cold, being knackered, being filthy dirty and being used to going to bed at 5 as this was the only warm place for far too many weeks. Keeping reminding myself that I had the strength and knowledge to carry out the necessary tasks and I was grateful that this was only a temporary condition, whereas others could not so readily escape their poor circumstances. AND I KEPT UP WITH MY BLOGGING!
USING REFLECTIVE PRACTICE
This is seen as a way of looking back on what happened, how you felt about what you did and it’s something that I have used previously both in my teaching years and in my therapeutic work, hopefully leading to an accentuation of the positive and elimination of the negative.
It usually involves much more critical, in depth aspects than I have used in my simple reflection of the past year. More evaluation leading to forward planning. For therapists, talking through our client-work with our supervisor is very much part of this reflective practice. Good to have a fellow professional as a sounding board, one who reflects back at us bits that we may not have noticed, or may be actively avoiding.
Reflection helps identify areas requiring development, maybe requiring training, changes in time management or general organisation. It is also an effective method of self-training providing you are honest with yourself and allow a true comparison of what you know to be good practice.
It helps you to plan your training, courses that you need to take in order to maintain high professional standards, keep up with current development in your chosen field even if you ultimately reject what you learnt as not being suitable for you and how you work. Still learning. Having said that, it is often found that bits ‘stick’ – well they do in my brain – and these bits could well influence how you work. It is a technique used in therapy, with the therapist doing very much the same thing as my supervisor does for me – getting the client to reflect and flicking things back at the client and checking out those missed blind spots.
In non-professional areas, the use of diaries and journals can lead to a similar result if you look back through what you have written – and especially if you included how you felt at the time and were honest with this. This allows for current personal learning and future personal development. Many people have used diaries and journals in this way for many years, but it isn’t a practice that ever caught on with me, so any personal reflection is carried out with only memories, therefore harder to accurately include as much detail, especially with the passage of time.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
My reflection has taken me back to the words of Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist whose work was an essential study during my teacher training. I told you my brain stores all sorts of things!! He suggested that reflection is needed for learning and connects with action. So my future action? Well, short term, to continue with the blogs and podcasts but also to develop a bank of recorded affirmations which will be available for download; to be followed, slightly longer term, by a selection of hypnotherapy recordings. Oh no – will I have to do those in the middle of the night to avoid any superfluous sounds?
Again, a big thanks to those who have read my blogs – and a gold star to anyone who has read all 52! I promise not to test you on them! If I can help with therapy - either face-face or via Skype, do get in touch via this web site or through my Facebook page.