Learning, letting go, moving on

Mon 4 – Sun 10 March

A fascinating week with a strong emphasis on learning. Not formal learning but more life skills learning. And with 2 key days. First, Pancake Day last Tues. Mum came into her element making her home-made mega thick pancakes which me, my brother and Dave scoffed down. Then on Fri it was International Women’s Day. I do wonder how much better the world would be if it had been women who had dominated human history rather than men.

Learning really intruded into so many areas of my life last week. With the key learning for me being the need to simply let go sometimes and also to move on in life. Time is short – don’t dwell. πŸ™‚

Health and Efficiency

Good jog-run but the timing went wrong

different form of jog-run

Couple of important learning experiences related to exercising last week. Every Sat morning I try to go for a 10K jog-run which I time on my watch. Last week all went as normal and I did a really good run – it felt good as I was running. Indeed, it was probably one of my best times for a 10K at around 1 hour and 4 mins. I say probably because my long-time watch went wrong. πŸ™ It’s happened once before. Basically the timer continued but the measurement of distance stopped; I suspect it’s a problem connecting to the satellite.

So I just carried on running until the end of the ‘course’, enjoying the feeling and knowing that I had done well. Knackered me out for the day though so I had a nice 3 hour sleep in the afternoon.

The learning from the jog-run

The learning was don’t get upset – no point. Appreciate it went well and move on from there. Hopefully my watch will work OK next week or I will have to think about investing in a new one.


Last week I went back to yoga for the first time in ages. It was with trepidation but it went well. A one-to-one session with someone I know called Nacho. An hour and a half of bloody hard work. So good to have someone telling you how to do things and guide your body into place. My body was in resistance mode and I felt good at the end but aching and sweaty.



Another big new thing last week was returning to swimming. Like yoga, I used to do it regularly but just got out of synch. I didn’t think I would enjoy it but I pushed out of my comfort zone on Thurs afternoon. And I deliberately didn’t count the number of lengths done or give myself a time in the pool.

I also pushed myself to do various strokes – backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl. I find the latter really hard.

The learning from yoga and swimming

woman doing tree pose

Key learning from yoga and swimming was to face your fears and take a chance. You don’t learn without risk. And it came out well on both. In particular, things worked because I didn’t have an agenda. Rather I let go and enjoyed both experiences. Plus in the swimming I tried out for fun strokes I find difficult and normally avoid.

Innovation and Creativity

Wow, it was really stressful at work last week. The run-up to Red Nose Day and a parliamentary reception. My work colleagues are great and we work together really well. But it’s tense and everyone is fearful of things going wrong. It’s the same feeling you get being involved in an election campaign with days to go till people vote. Pleased to say I’ve been asked to help with the analysis afterwards of what has gone well and what has not.

Others can know better than me

Also frenetic because of Social Impact Committee last Wed where we present projects for funding approval. My newly proposed grants programme got shot down which I was fine about. Yes I had put effort into working out how it would operate. But the role of committee is to decline things which aren’t strong enough and so I take on board their decision. It’s another way about learning to let go – that our personal decisions aren’t always right and others may know better.

Disappointing people and moving on for the common good

One of the worst bits has been sorting out who goes to the reception when lots of people want to attend. Indeed, I won’t be going but I am happy because we have a diverse, knowledgeable and experienced group including project representatives. We all have a shelf-life in the short and long term so it is important we just move on from situations when we aren’t needed and others can do it better. Interesting to find out there have been lots of very good applications to cover me whilst I am on sabbatical. πŸ™‚

Learning to let go to be able to cope

I did my best last week quietly getting on with my duties as well as trying to help my colleagues and move things forward collectively. Whenever possible I offered to help them out if they were struggling under the onslaught. But my big learning was the importance of trying to let go. However, even on my days off I was dealing with emails. By Wed evening I felt absolutely knackered. Indeed, on that day alone I had done about 11 hours in the office. Pretty sure that explained my bad dreams.

The lesson of learning to recharge

Thurs was my day off. I was supposed to go to the Digital Impact Awards in the afternoon – work related but also with personal interest. I didn’t set the alarm for Thurs morning but still woke early. Had a day of coffee, reading and dealing with stuff on the pooter. Decided not to go to the Awards but rather to do something totally different by going swimming. Then I went to the Velvet Page book club in the evening.

mental health

The learning was me choosing to switch off as much as was feasible. And by doing so I felt my battery was recharged and I went into work on Fri (Happy International Women’s Day!) with a clear aim to do the best I could and support my colleagues. Take time out to let go and move on so that you can give your attention and energy when it is most needed.

Books and Reading

Disobedience at the Velvet Page Book Club

Our reading for this month’s meeting was ‘Disobedience’ by Naomi Alderman. I had read ‘The Power’ by her, the basis of which I thought was a brilliant idea (women gain an ability to electrocute and the world is turned on its head) but the story itself was less strong. Disobedience was her first novel and has recently been made into a film which I haven’t seen.

The book is set in a very orthodox Jewish London community and is about the return of a prodigal lesbian daughter. But her old lover is now the wife of the likely to be next Rabbi. Beautiful portrayal of Jewish customs – some of which are very suffocating. But it’s not just a Jewish novel (could have been any hardcore religion or ideology), rather a story of outcasts. Well that’s what I think anyway. I enjoyed it but felt the characters could have been developed more. Others pointed out whether in such an environment people would have much freedom to develop as individuals.

A great discussion on the book

We had a great discussion about it at the Velvet Page. Indeed, the best turnout for ages with about 15 people, roughly 50-50 in terms of gender. And for such a short and quite light book, we had loads of fascinating discussion. This included lovely input from one member who is a practising Jew around different aspects of Jewish life, like how to cleanse a saucepan if you accidentally use it for non-kosher food.

Details on the next meeting – all are welcome

Velvet page

We next meet 7pm on Thurs 4 April. The book to read is ‘Blood Relatives’ by Stevan Alcock. We will be upstairs in the ground floor cafe at the back of Waterstones on London’s Piccadilly. It’s an LGBT group but all are welcome. If we are lucky, Chris will manage to get us some wine again. πŸ™‚


This is an issue that I continue to feel very passionate about. On social media, I frequently post about this. It is a topic I can’t let go of or move on; the same with Brexit. There are some things worth fighting and dying in a ditch for. We are destroying our planet and nothing is really changing. I actually wonder if we are too late and the Earth is doomed? Perhaps my generation will be the last to know it as it was before the tipping point. πŸ™

The Week Ahead

  • It’s Red Nose Day on Friday. πŸ™‚ Please do give a bit so that people in the UK and internationally can get the help they need.
  • Fingers crossed for the parliamentary reception. That we get to engage with interested MPs and peers to start building better linkages for the future. And thus we can get change in the world without just giving out grants to keep services going. Vital services but often only addressing the symptoms of poverty and injustice rather than their causes.
  • The reception includes two project reps from South Africa whom we have flown in especially to speak. Indeed, one has never been out of South Africa. And we are taking them out for dinner in the evening after the reception.
  • Looks like I’m going to have to work every day next week bar Thurs. So gotta take the learning from last week and pace myself.
  • Thurs I plan to go swimming again and do my jog-run on Sat. Unfortunately no time for yoga. πŸ™ Continue to cross my fingers for news about my gym re-opening.
  • Gonna carry on with the two books I am currently reading. One is shocking because it really has no female characters in it – blokey, geeky sci-fi (‘Metro 2033’ by Dmitry Glukhovsky). πŸ™
  • I will carry on with my language learning. I’ve found a new learning trick. Doing 10 mins of vocab learning on Drops then switching to Duolingo for some short bursts of grammar learning.

And Finally…

It’s Red Nose Day next Friday. I know there have been questions raised this year about the way stories are told. But I can assure you that the money raised goes to projects that really need it – 50% in the UK and 50% internationally. Not giving money means projects won’t get funded and people won’t get the help they need. So please do give a donation no matter how small. Thanks πŸ™‚

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