Glad it is over…

You might not believe it but I am actually glad the festive season is all over… For some reason I have never been very keen on it. Probably because I live here with no family of my own and my original family is in France – for the best. I haven’t been back home for Christmas for about 3 years and I don’t miss it, for the simple reason that any time I spend with my family always ends up with me getting upset and wanting to run away. In that case then it is best not to go in the first place as it saves me a lot of tears and money. So I always end up in England relying on my friends to look after me… Although this time the festive season turned out to be a disaster too and without any input from my family…

I have been questioning recently the value of my relationships both with my family and some of the friends I have made in this country. I feel I need to do some clearing out, which I am still struggling to do or, when I do, it doesn’t happen in the right way and it ends up being painful… To be perfectly honest I don’t think I really know what I am doing. I know what I don’t want and I say it out loud but it doesn’t always come across in the best way. I think I still need to work on that. The problem is that I am so scared of saying it the wrong way that I don’t say anything at all, I bottle things up and end up being the one suffering from it without getting anything sorted, until it all comes out like a bullet…when it is too late. So my new year’s resolution is to work on this.

The consequence of this was that on Boxing day I ended up visiting one of my best friend at the crematorium, which was probably not the best thing to do to cheer me up. My friend Pete committed suicide in the summer of 2013 after suffering for many years from bipolar and more recently schizophrenia. Despite his difficulties Pete had always been there for me, he was my rock as a friend, reliable, helpful, funny. I felt for him and what he was going through and was not really surprised when I found out about his death. I wish I had been able to make a difference in his life but I couldn’t, which is hard. Then I went to see his parents, which is even harder…

Anyway… that’s why pettiness and narrow-mindedness really gets to me, especially around Christmas… I’ve had to battle against both a friend and some neighbours, both before and after Christmas. I even had to call the police due to rude neighbours who have no manners. As a result I ended up almost having a nervous breakdown. Happy new year everyone! But as soon as the festive season was gone I was able to cheer myself up again, ready to face 2015 challenges, hoping it will be a much better year than the last thanks to the efforts I will put into improving myself, as there isn’t much I can do about others. I can help people at work as it is my job and they want to be helped, but I cannot help someone who can’t even see that they need help.

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Les Perles De Ma Vie

I wrote this poem about 5 years ago after a birthday meal with my friends:

Mes amis sont les perles de ma vie

Des amis rencontres au fil de ma vie

Au detour d’un chemin,

Au detour d’un chagrin

Cueillis en bordure du chemin

Choisis et pauses au creux de mes mains

Avec eux j’ai joue’,

Avec eux j’ai pleure’

Grace a eux mon coeur s’est panse’

Grace a eux mon coeur a chante’

Sans eux mon collier serait casse’

Perles une a une ajoutees

Mon collier desormais est entier


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French lady wandering around England…

I feel very inspired to write at the moment. Probably because I am on holiday and have more time and energy to do so. Also because so much has been happening in my life over the last week or so that I feel there is a lot to reflect on. I have also started to share this blog with my friends and it has been great to see their interest. I honestly didn’t think that people would be that interested in what I have to say but who knows, I might be able to help more people than I thought by sharing my experiences. I have been getting some advice from a very good friend of mine who suggested I add pictures to my blog. I think it is a great idea as it will break the monotony of the text. I will now take my camera with me every time I go out on a walk or a wander and hopefully it will emphasise the messages I am trying to put across.

There are some beautiful places around the country and I must admit I have fallen in love with the English countryside, which is probably why I became a keen walker. I went for a wander in the New Forest on Sunday as I love this beautiful location. Burley is one of my favourite villages there. I also went to Brighton on Christmas Eve and that was some experience! I did take my camera with me this time and managed to take a few pictures. I wish I had been able to take pictures of all the lovely people I got in contact with while I was there but you never think about taking pictures of the people you talk to, or if you do you probably think it would be rude, so best not to… Well, I did think that, although I really wanted to take a picture of the four drunkards who got on the train and chose to sit next to me…Brigthon Christmas Eve 2014 015

I was trying to read my book but soon realised that there was no point as they were so loud and willing to communicate that I had to give up on my reading. I thought for a minute shall I keep ignoring them and miss an opportunity to get to know these people, shall I behave like a little so and so and feel superior to them or reach out to them, listen and learn. I chose to let the barriers down and meet them at their level. And what an experience that was. I eventually found out that three of them were actually homeless and they were on their way to Brighton to pick up another homeless person there in order to spend Christmas together. I was really touched by that and the genuineness of these people. They all had a heart of gold and I couldn’t help wondering what had led them to lose everything and end up sleeping on car parks… I didn’t have enough time to get to know more, which I thoroughly regret.

Brigthon Christmas Eve 2014 025

Their names were Paul, John and I was expecting the third one to be called Peter but no, his name was Chris. The only lady there was Susan and she was the only steady one with a proper flat to live in where she was going to welcome her homeless friends on Christmas day. They were so kind and sweet, they kept saying I was a lovely young girl, which made my day considering that I am no longer that young… They were obviously drunk 😉 They all shook my hand and wished me a happy Christmas. They were the most genuine people I have met in  along time. They wore their heart on their sleeves and it made me realise how much we miss this in society nowadays. Everything is about appearances and nobody cares whether this is a lie or not. I wish them well and hope they had a lovely Christmas with their dear friend.

I then lost myself in Brighton and stopped on the beach while the sun was setting. It was a beautiful moment and I took some pictures there. The light changed so quickly that from one picture to the next the colours were different. I enjoyed every minute of it and then I carried on walking…

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This is when I started to get lost and couldn’t find my way back to Brighton station and wandered around Hove, which is a beautiful place. I had to ask my way about three times and every time the people I spoke to were very kind and patient, taking the time to explain to me where to find Hove station. I thought this would never happen in Southampton. I started to feel this is a place for me, I could definitely move to Brighton tomorrow if I had a job there. The third person I asked happened to be a policeman and he was ever so sweet, let alone handsome 🙂 As I walked past a hair salon I could see a lit deer in the shop window and the hairdresser saw me looking at it and smiled at me. Beautiful moments like this are precious.

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Anyway, no matter how fast I walked from Brighton to Hove, I still managed to miss my train… So I plucked the courage to walk into that pub near the station on my own in order to wait for my train home. It was a very busy but very welcoming pub and I sat there on my own until a lady came and asked if she could sit next to me. I didn’t think much of it until she started asking me questions and we started talking. She was due to meet up with a friend but was a bit early so, like me, she thought about coming in for a drink. She said the friend she was due to meet with suffered from depression and also from the ‘victim’ syndrome. I then explained that I work with people like this and advised her to try CBT. I did tell the lady about my experience with the homeless people on the train and she said she used to work with homeless people herself through a church. I thought she was a very kind and generous lady. She also suffered from depression and told me that half women in the UK actually take anti-depressants, which I think is rather sad. Maybe we need to spread the word that CBT can help and hopefully one day we will be able to reduce the amount of people who use medication to lift their moods. I think the bottom line is that too many women suffer from a low self-esteem and don’t believe in themselves enough. I wish I could change this… Maybe my new goal for the new year!

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For God’s sake, it is Christmas!!!

Never thought I would get so angry at someone so close to Christmas but I did… I love the idea of Christmas and what it represents. People getting together and celebrating, whether they believe in God or not. But whether people are religious or not doesn’t take away the fundamental idea of Christmas. Being generous and giving to other people. Now when I get confronted with narrow-minded and self-centred people around Christmas it drives me insane. I won’t go into details as it would bore you all to death but I feel very disappointed with the human race at this moment in time.

I never used to think that people were funny, I always used to think I was the problem. But the older I get the more I realise that actually I am not that bad compared to some people who generally suffer from a lack of self-awareness and plain pettiness. Even worse than this – real control freaks! These people need to learn that they can’t control everything and things won’t always go the way they want them to go. Just because we are human beings and we all go through ups and downs. That’s life. So forget about controlling as it will drive you insane.

There seems to be a bit of a theme going on in my life at the moment – control and power. What is that all about? What is missing in these people lives for them to desperately want to control and manipulate. Some of them use lies, some others pure nastiness. Just to get what they want, no matter the means they use or the damage it can cause other people. Selfish, narrow-minded, self-centred people, get out of my life as I don’t want you near me. I have been spending too many years helping people go through difficult times to put up with those who have no idea what going through shit in life means.

What is the lesson there? The lesson is don’t bother with control freaks as they are only interested in themselves and what makes them happy. Don’t bother with selfish people as again they only care about their own happiness. And don’t bother with narrow-minded people as they have no self-awareness and can’t see any further than the end of their own little nose. Clearing is now the new theme in my life. I am starting with people, then I will be de-cluttering my house and my whole life. Ready for a fresh start in the new year. Hurray!!

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Sometimes it takes a whole life to learn to walk…

I read another amazing book recently. One of those spiritual books I bought on my way back from France at Bordeaux airport after a stressful week with my family in the summer… After a year of working and studying towards a Post-graduate Certificate in Mental Health Studies and having just finished my final exams, which took place just after a painful relationship breakup, I thought I would go and visit my dad for a week’s rest in the south of France, looking forward to spending some time on the beach or by the swimming pool to reflect and heal my wounds. It didn’t exactly go as planned as my dad’s wife happened to be in a foul mood and chose me as her target, using my dad as a weapon. Very bad combination and the consequences were disastrous. So as we often do in difficult times, I was in search of some answers in the books that presented to me in the airport bookshop.

This book written by Antoine Paje is called “And he told me about cherry trees, dust and a mountain…”and tells the story of Paul Lamarche who doesn’t know where he is going in life due to fear. The story tells us about how sometimes it takes a whole life to learn how to walk due to fear getting in the way and how sometimes meeting one special person can actually change our life for the better and help us let go of fear. This guy kept meeting people who were like little gravels to show him the way and little by little led him to meet with his soul mate, one of these people who don’t need to show externally what they are made of. They are rocks from which little gravels can be dropped in order to guide others, at least those who are willing to pick these little gravels up.

This is where once again I found another answer to what had happened to me and the explanation as to why what happened hurt me so much. The main character explains how good people find it difficult to accept and simply understand that some people can just break them for no reason. Every time they get humiliated and broken down they wonder what they did to deserve it. Absolutely nothing. The problem is not inside them, it is inside the perpetrator, this tyrant who is scared to death because unconsciously he/she knows he/she isn’t up to the level but tries and reassure him/herself  by crushing other people (the good ones) down and dominating them. They are sociopaths and their fear feeds itself with their feeling of powerlessness, but we become powerful when we are not scared any more. When fear disappears we can walk, we can live, at last…


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Spiritual or Material Gain?


I have been wondering lately about the value of my life against financial criteria. Looking at my life from that point of view is not going to provide me with a great sense of achievement since my salary is far from matching the amount of support I provide my patients and the energy I spend in order to make a difference in their lives. As a lot of us know, working hard for a big organisation only usually benefits those at the top, enabling them to earn more money and get all the credit for the hard work of employees on the ground. The ultimate goal of meeting targets in a public organisation has never been to increase its employees wellbeing or standard of living as hard work is never rewarded in any way, either via monetary means or recognition. Ultimately employee’s lives are limited to desperately trying to make ends meet and recover from an exhausting week at work.

So what is the answer? Going self-employed? I guess this would be the answer provided one has the skills of a sales person, which are usually the gift of the gab. Not everyone has those skills so this could make turning one’s life around quite difficult. I can’t help but admiring those who have managed to make that move but I have been confronted recently with a very successful person who turned out to have no idea of the difference between truth and lies, being so used to playing with the truth in order to get their own way with no bad conscience whatsoever, hurting people in the process. After spending quite a few weeks beating myself up by comparing myself to such a successful person and putting myself down for not being as financially secure as them, I accidentally – or not – found the answer to my conundrum in a book called “Petit Traite de Vie Interieure” written by a French philosopher called Frederic Lenoir. Suddenly everything fell into place. The author, by using an example from real modern life and Socratic questioning, demonstrated how the lure of gain can take people away from honesty and integrity.

Here is the story. Jacques Seguela, a successful French advertiser, said the following on a live TV show: “How could anyone have a go at the president for having a Rolex? Everyone has a Rolex. If one doesn’t have a Rolex by the age of 50 they most certainly have failed in life!” This comment raised  a lot of criticism from the French public, which led Mr Seguela to apologise for saying something really stupid, showing poor communication skills, as unexpected from an advertiser. Frederic Lenoir used this example in a Socratic context by making up a dialogue between the advertiser and the philosopher Socrates:

“Seguela: Did you see that Socrates, I admitted making a big mistake! You can be proud of me!

Socrates: Yes I heard you Seguela. You did indeed admit making a mistake but you never said you had told a lie or something stupid. What you regretted was to have said the wrong thing. So your regret is about the way you presented your thought rather than its content.  I don’t blame you for saying the wrong thing as it happens to me too. I only blame you because you said what you shouldn’t have said in order to keep looking good in the eyes of the public opinion. Whereas I expected from you to regret having told us a lie, as a virtuous man would. Forget about your image for a minute and answer this question with sincerity: what is for you the sign of a successful life? Is it about showing external signs of wealth, have a good reputation and a lot of money? Or is it more about internal signs such as having true friends, a peaceful soul, a happy knowledge of Truth, Good and Beauty, a virtuous life, respectful of oneself and others?

Seguela: it certainly is the latter.

Socrates: then you are not an idiot, but a liar.

Seguela: the word is far too strong! I only said these things out of professional habit. I am so used to making things up in order to sell objects that I can’t recognise the truth from a lie. I have a difficult job. It’s been a long time since I haven’t thought in terms of truth or goodness but in terms of efficiency and gain.

Socrates: so you are a perfect Sophist, one of those fine talkers obsessed with money and who only look to convince their audience through oratory art, whether they utter massive errors or pitiful lies?

Seguela: everyone has a role a fulfil. You are a philosopher and you are looking for the truth. I am smooth talker and I am looking to make money.

Socrates: You are an honest man Seguela, but the people who listen to you should know that the only truth in your words and those of people like you is profit.

Seguela: You might be right Socrates, let’s have a laugh and a drink as we might die tomorrow!

Socrates: This is the very reason why we should all look for the truth, Seguela. Life is too short  and too precious to spend it in distracting ourselves and accumulating perishable treasures. Let’s rather look to understand the real meaning of life and enrich our souls.”

This was the answer I was looking for, which brought peace to my restless mind. In comparison to that very person who kept lying to me in order for me to see them in their best light, I am very materialistically poor indeed, but only because I don’t lie and live an honest life. That person – whom I am very pleased to have kicked out of my life despite them trying to manipulate me with the power of their lies – is much wealthier than me and so admirable for their financial success. But I feel so much richer for being true to myself and everyone I get in contact with. I would much rather be poor and honest than rich and a fraud. At least I am proud of myself for the right reason, for the beauty of my soul and my clear conscience, not for the size of my house, my car or my wallet at the cost of my integrity.


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What on earth am I doing here…?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I keep asking myself that very question on a regular basis. When you look at your life and compare it to other people around and realise that there isn’t much going on for you, how not to feel down? I have been living on my own since the age of 21 and have been single forever… Well going from one disastrous relationship to another, wondering what I am supposed to learn from all this. Probably nothing more than learn more about myself and my self-worth?

Today is probably not the best day for me to be writing a positive blog as I have just been meeting with some friends in order to celebrate my birthday but none of them has actually asked me how I was or what was going on my life… This is when having a sense of your worth is essential or it could easily draw you over the edge… I have been working on this over the last few months after another yet disastrous relationship with a selfish and manipulative man. I didn’t even know that such men existed. I must have been really naïve. The damage this can do is quite astonishing. How could some innocent creature with so much love to give could be taken on for a ride? Well for this very reason, because I am too innocent and giving. Learn to build the barriers up and not care any more seems to be the answer. Really?

What kind of life is that? Being stuck in a job I thought was my dream and find out it really isn’t, going out with a man whom I thought was a knight in shinning armour and find out that only the armour was shining. How could I be so mistaken? This is what is called discernment…which I am obviously lacking. We learn by making mistakes, but how many mistakes do we have to make before making it right? Maybe the answer is to pack it all up and start again. Start everything from scratch again. If only I could start myself from scratch again I would be very happy but there is no going back to my mum’s womb, it is too late. So the answer is accepting who we are and the mistakes we keep making until we learn that this is just the way we are and we will keep making mistakes until we get it right…one day!

This makes me realise how much the answer is definitely not out there as only disappointment and hurt comes from there. Looking inside and learning to love ourselves is the answer. I feel that no one will ever love me as much as I can love myself so this is where I need to start. I am actually quite happy with myself, I enjoy my own company. I have  a lot of stories to tell myself so I can keep myself entertained for days on end. I can go over all the mistakes I have made over and over again until it makes perfect sense and I can learn from the experience. This is much more enriching that running away from everything in order to avoid facing the truth. It’s about keeping centred and focused in order to learn and grow.

And I don’t care if people find this boring. I guess those who keep running away from themselves probably don’t feel very comfortable in their own company. Maybe there are too many skeletons falling out to their closet. I am still looking for my skeletons. I guess either I have already dealt with them or I am waiting for them to fall out… Sometimes it is good to confront ourselves with other people’s views but I usually find out that I only agree with my own. Is everybody else the same? Does that mean that I am stuck in a rut and can’t see the wood for the tree? Only time will tell or someone who will be interested enough to help me find out…

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