Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The trouble with you is you think too much.

Hi there. 
Thanks for popping in.

“The trouble with you is you think too much.”

How many times have I had that said to me. 
But I thought that was what the brain was for!

I understand though. It was a well intended comment, 
brought about in the main because I so often get caught up in my head about things over which I have no control.
Then I get sad and unhappy. 
But isn’t that a normal reaction?

Like the poor people of Syria,
like the homeless,
like the terminally ill.

Then there are other things which chew away at me when I think about them, or they are presented in the news, on the radio, in the papers, like racism, bigotry, the elderly, the lonely.

So you see, I never stop thinking, thinking, thinking.

Switch off?
Only when I am working or asleep.

I am pretty certain that I am not alone.
It goes round and round and round and round,
incessantly, this head of mine. 
I think about what is going on in the world,
about the carnage, the violence, the chaos.

I can focus on the sunny day and the birds in the garden,
but my head will soon kick in again, thinking thinking thinking. 

Sitting in my dingly dell little farm in dingly dell little Sussex feels uncomfortable when I think about the plight of so many others. Not even that far away either.

The food banks in the local church are desperate and very busy.
The local hospital is overwhelmed.
Drugs and alcohol are pandemic - 
And this is Royal Tunbridge Wells I’ll have you know!

Can I help? What can I do?
I do do what I can in my little world, of course I do.
Every single day of my life.
RAKS. Random Acts of Kindness. 

But then I think I should be doing more.
I should be making more of a difference. 

I have learned to dismiss individuals who piss me off 
quite effectively and quickly. 
Don’t waste too much energy or time on that kind of banality.
I guess that has come with practice and age!
Life’s way too short to keep getting sucked into peoples’ games,
and there are only so many hours in the day!

But the bigger picture.
Now that’s a different matter. 

 Can I be honest here?

Sometimes, when I blog art and cards and step by steps projects,
I feel it is too superficial. I can’t put it into words.
It’s like I should be doing something far more substantial, 
like there’s so much more than this to consider!

Not that I have a calling, or that I think I am more important than the next person! That’s not it at all! Maybe it has to do with getting older, and knowing the clock is ticking. 

I felt the same thing when I went to the shop this morning,  
and without any hesitation, popped a load of lovely food in my basket ready to dash on. 
Then I noticed a little old lady, comparing the prices on pots of yoghurt. She had very little in her basket. Then she went over to the area where they put out of date stuff cheap. 
That brought me up sharp. 
It’s none of my business, but it should be.
You see. Thinking, thinking, thinking. 

BUT.

If the opposite is

“The trouble with you is you don’t think enough”

then give me back my thinking head, 
my washing machine head,
my sad head,
my mad head any time. 

I would much rather drive myself potty in my awareness
than not notice life passing me by. 

Love and Hugs,
Barb
xx

38 comments:

  1. You are not alone , its a mad world out there but do you help so many of us out in the crafty community xx

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  2. Totally get this.............. but what you do is very far from "too superficial" lovely lady. Your step by steps and piece of artwork etc allow so many other people to achieve something they wouldn't otherwise do and that in turn is a huge confidence boost for them and helps them achieve something. Your cards and all the rest of the "stuff" that you do give a huge amount of pleasure to people - for free. You are teaching people - for free. That little old lady might have to watch her pennies very closely indeed - but she could watch you on TV and learn - or just enjoy - for free. Don't underestimate your contribution to helping people get through tough times or illness - your contribution is massive and I thank you for it. C xx

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    1. Carol, I couldn't have said that any better....I totally agree with you! Barbara Gray and her wonderful staff of people allow US to "escape," even for a short time from all the horrors going on.............

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  3. What you do is very substantial it gives so many joy and a safe haven away from the stresses of life and a friendly word to the lonely. We cannot cure the ills of this world so anything no matter how small that makes someone's life a little more bearable is a very big thing indeed.

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  5. Logging on to your daily blog is often the highlight of my day, often the first thing I do when I get home from work, in a mad world it restores my faith in human nature. It provides a safe haven of creativity and friendship that enables me to rebalance my view of the world.

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  6. You make so many of us feel so much better. That is a major gift you give us. You are right that we should not stop thinking and caring. As Janet Ball said none of us on our own can cure the ills in our world, and if we try, it would send us completely stark staring mad. What we can and should do is the little things that are within our abilities to help others. We can all do something. Just to talk to someone who is lonely or sad, and listen to what they have to say is something that we can all do, and costs nothing financially, but is the gift of our time and caring. On a purely personal level, you have helped me immensely to fight through the worst time of my life. You gave me positive things to focus on and the chance to make some new and very good friends. I know you have helped many others in the same way, so never denigrate (big word for this time of day) what you continue to do for so many people. xxx Maggie

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  7. Evening all. I take the view that, much as we can be concerned about famine in Africa or avoiding nuclear war we can't actually do very much about either problem. We can send money and make sure that we exercise our democratic right - and civic responsibility - but we can't stop that red button being pressed or the corrupt politician from siphoning off money sent for humanitarian aid. But, we can make the lives of thise around us better by looking after the small things. Saying good morning as you pass someone - but not being miffed if they don't respond - doing voluntary work for your local community or church, even driving and parking thoughtfully! RAKs are also good for the soul - and sometimes I just send a card - which is where you come in Barbara!! I would rarely buy a card that says what I want to say, with a picture of something that 'speaks' to the recipient but with all the tools you gave given me I can make one - and also give them the gift of my time and thoughts and give me a window of creativity. Don't think you are insignificant - you certainly aren't to us!!!

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  8. I agree with everything that you have said Barbara! I also agree with all of the above comments. Never underestimate just how important you are to so very many of us. Groovi is the only means of craft I can do at the moment. I am unable to lift anything heavy and don't have a craft room - but I can do Groovi on my knee in front of the tv. I know that others on here have similar problems. So keep on doing what you do best and always try to keep in your mind that you enrich so many people's lives. Hugs Gilly xxx

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    1. Nothing like a bit of Groovi on the knee in front of the tv Gilly ! It's nice to know someone else is doing it too ! X

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  9. You are far from superficial in what you blog everyday whether it is step by step or your thoughts on subjects. You give so much of your time and have helped so many crafter's throughout the years with your step by steps. The time and effort it takes to blog everyday is a lot of hard work, I know as I do it myself too! We alone cannot change what is happening in the world, it would be great if we could. Thank you for an interesting read today. Enjoy your evening.
    Hugs
    Linda xxx

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  10. Very well said Barb. I have sat and watched the news tonight and listened to the wife of 25 years of Kurt the American killed at Westminster tbe other week. I have to confess I cried listening to her. Why should she be mourning her husband because of some crazed idiot driving a car at people on Westminster bridge. She says she has no hate because her husband wouldn't want that. Well let me tell you I have enough hate for that terrorist for both of them. Am I wrong to feel that way? Is she wrong to feel that way? Who knows? My head goes round and round and round but I can't forgive someone who thinks it is ok to take another's life. Thank the lord I have my crafting to keep me sane. Xxx

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  11. You have an active brain and a big heart Barbara! And your life experiences mean you can feel empathy for other people's situation!
    You wouldn't be you if you tried to change!
    Love and hugs! Xxxx

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  12. As Gillian says above me, she probably wont be above me by the time I finish this, we can't do much about the sad things going on. I was having a wobble yesterday reading about the poor little mite who has that terrible condition and the parents want to take him to America for treatment. I just feel they need to let him go but who am I to say that and what would I do if I was in that position. I know what I'd do with my fur babies but ..... Your blog does us all a power of good and we look forward to it, so please know that you are helping all of us ! Giving us the inspiration to try to create what you create which is beautiful. Ok, you're slowly bankrupting us but, eh, who cares, we know what baked beans on toast taste like or fish finger sandwiches (last night's tea!). Perhaps the old lady was really looking for a bargain today. I think RAKs are the way to go and if you can just make someone smile that's the way to go. I'm doing my bit tomorrow at the OAP lunch club - no doubt peeling bags of potatoes and then mashing or roasting them, I end up with wrinkly fingers, but really enjoy seeing their faces when they get their dinners and nearly always clean plates are returned! Xx

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  13. Oh Barbara, that is what makes you YOU. I too suffer from similar 'problems' and even when I wake during the night, my head is spinning and refuses to let me go back to sleep. However, in many ways I am glad that I am that way, as I hope it shows I care. Never apologise for being you. You have inspired me in so many ways; introduced me to "Spain Jane" and Maya Angelou, for which I am so grateful.
    I love your Wednesday blogs! Thank you.

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  14. Every little helps and none of us can change things single handed but as you say random acts of kindness go some of the way. If they make a person's day better then that is good. For myself just reading your blog brightens my day and trying all the wonderful ideas. Then that passes on when someone receives a card which they think is lovely. So I think what you do is substantial. xx

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  15. We have been talking about some of those things how money has been collected to help some of those countries as fare back as we can remember but still things are no better even in are country people are starving sleeping ruff its heart breaking why things are know better. All we can do is help we're we can but never seems enough spread love and kindness peace were we can in hope willmakea betterworld. Sending love and hugs to you and everyone else xxx

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  16. My late mum (who dies at age 95) wrote in my autograph book when I was 10, these words -

    Something each day, a smile -
    It isn't much to give
    But these little gifts of life
    make glad the years we live.
    The world is full of weary hearts
    That we can bless and cheer
    And a smile for every day
    makes sunshine all the year.

    I try to pass on a smile (at least one!) every day -and it's something we can all do, however rich or poor we are. Barbara, you have a beautiful smile that cheers so many. Don't ever underestimate its power.

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  17. The fact that you take time to think about it at all is an encouragement, as it should be to yourself and others... too many people are self interested, everything must be now, for them and them alone..... Take heart one act of kindness can change someone's whole day, give them hope. Because of your tutorials and care, because of team Clarity I am able to make cards which are sold at Church to help raise funds to feed the lonely, the homeless. I am sure I am not alone in this, many people make cards to support various causes, charities....look at how many people join your groups, use Clarity Products... and I'm sure they aren't just making cards etc just for themselves to admire.... you are a blessing to so many, as is your hard work , others in their turn are able to bless others.... Stay Blessed. You are loved xxx

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  18. Much better to care too much than not to care at all Barbara, and sometimes we all get involved in all the minutiae of life and forget the bigger picture. x

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  19. I'm offen ,actually too much in the same predicament as you . And so I content my self with just BEING ! Ahh think about the word and explore it . It's living in the moment and abiding in the two great commandments to love love God and love your neighbor as yourself .,it covers all the bases .,it sounds like you have them all covered so go out keep lighting your light , smiling at all you meet and sharing your talents wherever it may lead you . Its like the wee pebble thrown into a still pond . Watch those ripples that change the whole scene . Be silent and listen to the words that can only be heard in the silence and then sleep tight come the end of the day . Joy now ,Janice.

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  20. We can only do what we can in a small way about big problems in the world. You make such a difference to so many lives including mine,in your own way and so many are grateful to you. Keep on being you xx

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  21. Hi Barb,
    There are so many ( too many) problems in the world today but if there were more people like you, the world would be a much better place. You bring so much pleasure and happiness to so many people every day. I always try to treat people I meet with respect and how I would like to be treated ( if that makes sense). When I was training to be a teacher, one of my PE lecturers told us that the most important people ( as far as PE teachers were concerned) were the secretaries, the caretakers and the cleaners not the head teachers and other senior staff. That was because they were the ones that booked the buses, kept everything clean and working. I always tried to do treat them as equals and friends and not " underlings" as some people did. In return, I made some good friends and always managed to get everything I asked for done quickly. Whenever I have met you, you have always had time for me and made me feel very special. Thank you for that and please don't ever change! Keep up the good work. Love and hugs Alison xxxx

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  22. being aware is good. but it is separate from constantly thinking especially about things that are out of your control.
    so i would suggest that the former is healthy but the latter can be quite detrimental, hugs xx

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  23. Thank you Barbara for making me think more.

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  24. A quote for today.

    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
    Do not let pain make you hate.
    Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.

    You are very special to us all, your warm and gentle voice is a welcome moment of peace in my day. I am truly thankful that you talk to us here everyday and this is a friendly place which is full of encouragement and inspiration. Xx

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  25. Evening bloggy friends, sending hugs. Xx

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  26. I agree totally with what you are saying Barbara but your art can never be descibed as superfacial. Art is a way of calming the mind, allowing the brain to concentrate on one thing and calm down. You read these days so much how art and crafts help those people who suffer with depression and anxiety your blog inspires many and therefore helps many too. In your own little way you are helping people, okay not with huge expensive gestures, but quietly and gently and encouragingly and I think that is amazing and should also be applaudeded (far too many ands in that sentence - I would not be happy with my year 2s if they did this!!). You carry on with your fabulous blog and artwork....
    Hugs
    Lesley

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  27. Is it a curse that we think all the time, sometimes I think it is when I can't sleep with so many things going round and round in my head. Is it just us ladies. My brain sound like yours, it never ever switches off. I dont think we can change how we are. You are one of the givers to this world Barbara, your time, your love, your caring and your art, which you give so freely without a thought for yourself. You inspire everyone that comes within sight of you. We can't change the world only maybe our perspective of it. A thought, a smile, a kind word or gesture all help to make it a better place. You've helped so many of us, please don't underestimate the gift you give to all of us. From the moment I first saw you at a show using those Big and Juicy inkpads and your brayer with a crowd around you clinging to your every word I knew how special you were, and how caring. You do all you possibly can to make this a better place already.xxx

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  28. Hi bloggy friends, late tonight, been watching one of Mondays shows after finishing a card. Messed up an insert for it so thought I'd try to relax watching my favorite artist. Then remembered hadn't read her blog. Night night everyone. Sweet dreams.xxx

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  29. Spot on Barb! Sometimes I find myself commenting on a card and then a bit guiltily thinking 'hang on, why do I do this - it's just a card?'. But then I remember it's something made with care, thought, often love - and then carefully posted on line - and that it gives pleasure to the maker and recipient. So it's a little grain of sand in this huge egg timer we live in - and it really does count. Very much!!

    Hugs

    Di xx

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  30. Hello Barb, I can identify with this, we do the little we can, and wish we could do more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all. I for one look forward to your blog (and quite a few others too), whether it is just thoughts or beautiful art. Take care. Bx

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  31. Gillian Westall says it all .RAKS every day. I feel guilty spending all the money I do on Craft and decided to cut back and make regular donations instead ,either in money or time,not good news for Companies like yours if we all did that but it helps ease my mind .

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  32. Hi Barbara
    You are such a lovely lady who brings so much joy to people by just being you. Your artwork makes us all smile and your blog is always entertaining no matter if it's a step by step, introduction to someone you've met, one of your funny stories or a deep and thoughtful piece like this one. There are many a time when we moan because we are tired or have a headache but I love the fact you make me stop and think of the bigger picture and show me there is more to life than the world that stops at the end of my nose. I now do RAKs as part of my day, I can't change all the big things going on in the world but I can make small differences to some people which you like to hope ripples out to other people. I'm sure you smiled at the lady looking at the reduced things, that probably made her day. Thank you for being you.
    Love Diane xxx

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  33. I know exactly where you are coming from Barbara. I avoid the news and just dip in now and then to keep up, it's just too depressing. I see a picture of an animal that has been treated cruelly and I have to go looking for some "Happy Animal" stories on You tube to restore my faith in humanity and to get the image out of my head. I am absolutely appalled that the people running our Countries and the World effectively allow Children to be left on the street to fend for themselves! And I am disgusted that the government are throwing away the lifelong investment that we Brits have put into our NHS - yes I think they forget it's us that have paid for it all these years and yet here is this lovely lady who comes to my Workshop, she is very ill but it is fixable. But they have her going to hospital for an emergency Op then send her home tell her to go for a check up a week later and send her back home??? What is it about "emergency" that they do t understand??? So yep you are not alone in this, but Barbara I have seen and know of your random acts of kindness, you are a very generous woman. Your Blogs are not shallow, they connect a lot of people to a world they wouldn't normally see because of illness, shyness loneliness, people who are grieving and people who need to express themselves but don't know how! They feel part of your "Clarity Community". And then there are the people you employ, the teaching you give to keep the Art of Craft alive! I will never get tired of watching you make a picture you made such a big impression on me when I first watched you in TV I was totally amazed at what you produced with a roller and a stamp! We all need to switch off sometimes or we would never be able to cope with this sad sad world. Xxxx Hace a lovely day.

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    1. Sam, I agree with every word. I dip into the news once a day, any more would leave me too angry and unhappy to sleep. The Clarity Community has done so much for me over the last four years. It has given me confidence in my abilities after years of believing my art teachers and so many new but really good friends. It is all down to you and your leadership, Barbara, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you do for us. xxx Maggie

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  34. Oh do stop. You are going to drive yourself into an early grave woman. Yes it is good to be aware but it is also good to realise that what you do is very important . We all need to switch off and I do know what I am talking having been one of the lucky ones who has survived breast cancer twice and am very sure now that a lot of it was down to learning not to worry over everything. So stop and realise that if it wasn'the for your empathy and creativity some of us would find our lives just that bit harder.

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Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x