Thursday, 18 August 2011

Making connections and choices

One of my speaker colleagues told me that he had secured a booking (that had been Clive Gott's) because the organisers found him on the networking website LinkedIn, a business-related social networking site. I have also heard other people recommend it as a way to get a new job, find business and look for suppliers. So when my friend Andy Preston invited me to attend a training session he was giving on using LinkedIn I jumped at the opportunity.

I have had a profile on LinkedIn for a while now and it has been useful to put the testimonials for my more generic inspirational talks whilst I am considering how to move forward with my website and blog to reflect the 'latest me'.

Andy is very knowledgeable and has an excellent way of training. As delegates we had to work on your own profiles whilst we were there - mine is in development still but have a look at

By the way LION indicates that I am a 'LinkedIn Open Networker' and am happy to consider connecting in that way.

Andy showed us some common mistakes made by people on this site, e.g. having a very professional business profile there shattered by feeds from Twitter describing a drunken, party-animal! He also gave us many tips to increase and improve our usage of the site.

Thank you Andy and I highly recommend his session!

Next was a meeting with my colleague and friend Ann Girling, to discuss the latest mail shot of our workshops on postnatal illness. We have received several enquiries which we are following up. Our flyer is available here - please share the link with anyone who is involved with young families.

Although our meeting was very positive for some unknown reason I could feel my mood slide. I came over all tearful, with no apparent cause. I think I am beginning to be acutely aware that this weekend will mark 6 months since Clive died. That Saturday is still etched on my mind as if it was yesterday yet in other ways it does seem ages away. The loss remains. The shock maybe a little less. The hurt and sadness still massive.

Ann was very understanding and the burst of tears did me good as almost immediately I could feel the wave pass. It really does help to be in the company of those that you can 'just be' with.

I then went to meet a friend of Clive's for dinner. He had only recently discovered what had happened - as Clive knew so many people this is still happening. He had felt not only the loss of a friend but also the loss of the opportunity to say goodbye. Even though I initially felt weary I was so pleased I went to see him. The hours flew by with us both chatting about Clive and ourselves. One thread of conversation was about how we carry on with our beliefs and dreams even when we keep getting knocked down!

I was intrigued that he called me an 'emotion guru'! That's a new one!

Today I was with my sister Claire and little Sophie again. I felt mixed emotions as we passed one of the restaurants that Clive, Dom and I had eaten in last year. I had been so happy at how well they got along together, talking about films, places, nationalities. So much to look forward to! I still have but not with Clive.

Sophie had her first taste of a 50p 'ride' on a Bob the Builder vehicle!

I caught up with one college friend and bumped into another couple who I hadn't seen for a couple of years! Both are still with husbands met whilst at college. Congratulations to those who have passed their A levels today and will be making choices for their next step - look where it can lead!!

Another thing that is playing on mind is the start of the autumn shows of X-factor and Strictly Dancing. The last two years Clive and I had enjoyed them and it was part of our routine to watch them - in 2009 I was recovering from surgery and then last year he was! Clive especially became an X-factor fan and part of the fun he had was with his Facebook friends as the programme aired! An unofficial group was formed and woe betide him by the members if we happened to be out when it was on! There were many comments about this 'ritual'on his Facebook site when he died.

I know they are just television programmes but they are also a reminder of what we have lost. I still am undecided what to do this weekend - do I watch with a bottle of wine and 'get over it' or do I go out and pretend it's not happening? Or do I start it again?

Then today on the news the awful report of the young man who has died due to a shark attack whilst on honeymoon in the Seychelles, has been broadcast. I wanted to cry when I heard his widow's voice. Clive's friend told me last night that one phrase he had heard used to describe the roller coaster of mood in grief was that 'your emotions are closer to the surface'. That makes sense. My heart goes out to that lady as I now fully appreciate the pain and hurt she will now be facing.

Life is so fragile....

That thought lead to me doing a Google search and I found this article

Life Is Fragile . . . Or Is It?
By Scott Osterhage

We view our lives as fragile, we billions of human beings, each like a knot in a fishing net: autonomous of the other knots, yet indissolubly interconnected with all the others. All moves as one, yet the integrity of the net depends on each individual knot. Woven together we form the net of Humanity.

Lately I've been contemplating how the destructive qualities of disease and death seem to come so easily to us. An automobile accident, a bout with cancer, or a thousand other everyday occurrences remind us of the delicate balance of life. Viewed as bodies moving on this earth we are constantly on the razor's edge: a single slip and we are severed from what we know in this world. The knot snaps.

That is what we think we know, who we think we are. However, we are not just this body, this personality. At life's core we are indestructible. The interpenetrating cloaks of our existence extend beyond the physical body we usually identify as our "selves." Our life-force and desires shape the body. Instinct, intellect, and intuition direct and guide us. That shining spark at our core compels and centers us. Connected with all the other sparks, it collects us into the One Life.

Fragile we may seem, easily broken, yet life's tragedies guide us to our permanent and lasting inner home, our very real source of life. Forms come and go, but our constant center remains. The challenges we meet come to us because we set their causes in motion. We reap the effects as we need them, to learn by experience how to live in harmony with the eternal flow of life. If we were separate entities nothing would affect us. Because we are integral parts of all that exists, we feel the ripples we create and through this process learn to live within equilibrium, restoring balance through learning and living — making a different choice the next time. Freshly we live each moment, the only time we can affect the future, for each moment is the only time we can act. The past is gone, and our future is yet to be fully formed.

Together we surround the world and sustain each other. We make a strong net. The more we support others, the easier the load is for everyone to carry. When a tear occurs, someone repairs it. All we are and all we can become is wrapped in each moment, and then the next and the next. Each choice we make changes the course of our humanity, and of the entire world. Let's make every choice count.

That final sentence reminded me of Clive's last posting on Facebook - 'Tomorrow will happen no matter what - make it count'.

The theme of this piece also reminds me of the importance of connections, communication and choices.

So I shall continue to 
  • Connect with others (work on my LinkedIn profile and connections!)
  • Communicate by sending our workshop flyer to more people in order to help others
  • Chose the kindest option for myself to mark this weekend's 6 month milestone
What will you do to make the day and every choice count?

Elaine x

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