So this year I take on the challenge of running my 4th marathon. I am super excited because the whole journey from start to finish makes me feel so good. There are so many positives from training for and completing a marathon, they actually live inside your heart forever…….they really do. The experience is so amazing and highly emotional (in a good way), that you’ll never forget it.
I love running outdoors and I love the challenge of a marathon…..you never get the same experience twice and you find out how strong your heart and mind really is.
This year I am going to try and run the marathon under 5 hours, this will be a tough challenge but Edinburgh is a fast course (so I’m told) and it would be so good to achieve this in my home Country.
So my marathon history to date is:
2007 New York City Marathon, time 5 hours and 1 minute
2010 London Marathon, time 5 hours and 56 minutes
2013 Loch Ness Marathon, time 5 hours and 12 minutes
2015 Edinburgh Marathon, time TBC 🙂
Go on set yourself a goal this year, a real challenge, something that will change your life forever…….fancy doing a marathon?
It was the London Marathon on Sunday, 21 April 2013, and I just want to say a massive congratulations to everyone who took part in the run and also to the most amazing support from the thousands of people who stand for hours along the side of the road to cheer on the runners. I have run a couple of marathons before so I really do know what it is like to feel the wonderful support and encouragement from the crowd, it really does motivate you as a runner and really puts a smile on your face. I did the London marathon in 2010 with my good friend Gina and we raised a good amount of money for a charity which is very close to Gina’s heart, Alzheimer Scotland. I don’t often share a lot of videos on this blog but I thought it might be nice to share the video I personally made in 2010 of our London Marathon experience, it is quite good fun to watch, you will see from the video how excited I am – so please be prepared. I feel there is at least one more marathon in me and as I write this I am seriously contemplating doing another one this year – which one, I don’t know you, but I will let you know when I have decided.
So please enjoy the wee video, I hope it makes you smile and maybe even inspires you to take on the challenge of running a marathon.
As of yesterday (02.4.13), I am now a fully Certified Mental Health First Aider, so what does that mean?
Mental Health First Aid, like any other type of first aid, is the help given to a person before appropriate professional help or treatment can be obtained. First aid of any type has the following aims:
1. To preserve life
2. To prevent deterioration of any injury or illness
3. To promote healing
4. To provide comfort to the person who is ill, injured or distressed.
Mental Health First Aid is the help given to someone experiencing a mental health problem before other help can be accessed. A MHFA is not a therapist, however, people are trained in:
How to ask about suicide.
How to recognise the signs of mental health problems or distress.
How to provide initial help.
How to guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
First Aid for Mental Health problems such as:
Alcohol and Mental Health;
Cannabis and Mental Health;
Stimulants and Mental Health;
First Aid for Suicide – using the ALGEE method of approach;
First Aid for Self-harm;
First Aid for Depression;
Alcohol and Depression;
Illegal or Recreational Drugs and Depression;
First Aid for Anxiety;
First Aid for Psychosis;
Bipolar Disorder (manic depression). (The above is an extract from Scotland’s Mental Health First Aider Manual)
One of the reasons I am sharing this with you today, is that at the start of the training we were given a poem to read written by someone who used poetry as a method of communication whilst going through some challenging self harming mental health issues. I want to share that poem with you today, it is given with kind permission from Davina Smith and it has been included in the Scotland’s Mental Health First Aider Training Manual. Here is Davina’s poem:
You smoke each day
Puff your life away
You clearly know it’ll kill you
You drink with the moon
Drown your liver and soon
There’s a chance it just may kill you
You drive too fast
And what if you crash?
You know it might just kill you
You smoke your dope
Take drug, others hope
This time that they won’t kill you
Can’t see your feet
One day it’ll certainly kill you
You look down on me
And all you can see
Are my cuts and scratches and scars
I’m having my life
While you’re taking your life
Now tell me, who’s the self-harmer?
by Davina Smith (with kind permission)
This led onto further stories being shared by participants of the training of how young adults experiencing mental health issues used poetry to communicate their feelings with their key workers – I found this fascinating.
There is indeed a special power in poetry, I have always believed that, creative self-expression can be the breakthrough that we need to move on in life, I know I have certainly experienced that for myself.
This was a very tough training course for me, maybe because I connected so much with it. I learned a lot and share some of this learning with you today.
May you continue to express your heart through your creative soul, because I believe that there are real people out there, who truly value and connect with your words, you just might be ultimately and positively changing a life too.
I want to share something with you today, as I reflect upon the events of my weekend. Everything was going swimmingly well until I discovered my purse had been stolen. I was meeting a friend for coffee in a Hotel in Glasgow, paid for my coffee and by the time I was leaving the hotel, the purse was gone. I wasn’t really bothered about the money in the purse, it was only loose change anyway, however I was more sad about losing the sentimental things that were in it, such as little prayers, a poem from my sister which I had for 13 years, photographs of my niece and nephew, photograph of my dad which I have held close to me since 1997, a little medal that my best friend gave to me in 2007 to keep me safe when I was running my first marathon in New York City and lots of beautiful things like that. Also the purse which was a special gift given to me by another very close friend. I must admit I was feeling very sad and I allowed it to affect the rest of my day. I also felt a little downhearted that the purse didn’t show up, I really thought that if found in the hotel, someone would have handed it in…..no such luck, I’m afraid. I must admit my faith in humanity did sink a little, I guess because that is where my focus was at that time.
A Different Frame of Mind
However, today, I am of a very different frame of mind, after reporting the purse missing to the Police and to the Hotel, I was told of many stories were items of real financial value had been handed in, such as rolls of money containing thousands of pounds, iPads, mobile phones, bags, suitcases, bags of money etc….I smiled, my faith was restored because I had replaced my one bad experience with many wonderful stories where people have been honest and returned the items they found.
The Real Truth
I will never again doubt the honesty and integrity of humanity, because I know there is much more goodness in the world than not….we just don’t always hear about it and therefore don’t include it in our frame of reference. When we look at the world only through our own lens, we are in danger of excluding the real truth….that is, what could be and what is possible for each and every one of us. I take full responsibility for what happened to me on Saturday afternoon and it has taught me many lessons which I am very grateful for.
A Very Special Thank You
I would like to also offer a very special thank you to the staff members at the multi-story car park in Concert Square, Glasgow City Centre, they were so supportive when I told them I didn’t have my parking ticket (which was in my purse) and had no money to pay for the parking, they were very understanding and let me leave the car park for free.
I think Angels come disguised in many situations and it is not until after the event that we realised they touched our heart and soul. May you open your eyes to the goodness that is in the world today, look out for the success stories of kindness, love and encouragement and let them uplift your spirits today. Much love to you today, as always, Clarabelle
I have come across a lot of very beautiful people recently, people who are full of love, light, passion and happiness. I dedicate this next poem to the three people I am thinking about in particular, and their first names all being with the letter “A”. I will call them my three “Angels”, may you continue to bless hearts with your love, you truly are beautiful people. Whatever you are doing today, may you spread a little happiness and love around you. Much love to you, as always, Clarabelle
I have a happy little feeling, dancing inside;
Beautiful people, are being my guide.
Their love is shining, brightly on me;
Giving me hope, filling me with glee.
So when love knocks on your door, greet it with light;
It will sparkle so magically, all through the night.
Uplifting your soul, touching your heart;
A special connection, the missing part.
For life is a jigsaw, the puzzle is you;
Once you’ve mastered yourself, dreams can come true.
All of my poetry is based on my life experiences, some amazing ones and some really challenging ones. This next poem was written by me from a challenging time in my life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I know now, that the pain I was feeling, was the releasing of negative energy that was not serving me well. I call this poem, my breakthrough poem, the reason being is that I opened up my heart and asked for help whilst feeling in such a vulnerable state of mind. I remember this experience so very clearly, it was 3am and I couldn’t sleep, I felt really tearful…..I asked for help and I truly believe I got it – from myself. This poem is a true reflection of that night, I believe some kind of inner miracle happened and I know the power of the universe was listening to me. I share this very personal poem with you, in the hope that if you are facing a similar tough experience, it will give you faith and knowing that your current difficult experience will gradually pass with time and maybe just maybe the first step to that happening is accepting the situation for what it is and asking for help. I believe that help will come from within, for you can truly help yourself and turn any negative situation around. May you take courage and strength from these words, “The next message you need is always right where you are.” (Ram Das) and I feel my true life experience told in this next poem proves that. Stay strong, you can do it!! Much love to you today, Clarabelle.
It was 3am, I just couldn’t sleep;
With tears in my eyes, the message came deep.
I was all alone and I repeated out loud;
“Help me, Help me”, I’m lost in the crowd.
Give me a sign, that you hear my cry;
I don’t know what to do, or what to try.
A few hours passed by, but nothing came my way;
I felt abandoned, and full of dismay.
When morning did come, I searched all around;
Give me a signal, then a book beside my bed I found.
I had been clearing out cupboards, the night before;
And this book fell out, and onto the floor.
Little did I know, for in my time of need;
The answer was there in advance, disguised in this good deed.
I picked up the book, and to my surprise;
The answer was there, in front of my eyes.
“Help is here if you need it” – words marked in bold;
Someone was listening, this answer they told.
I smiled inside, for I knew what to do;
The fact that I asked for help, was the start of mybreakthrough.
That day I found comfort, for the universe heard my plea;
One of my coping mechanisms for releasing frustrations is to write poetry from my heart and soul. This next poem was created at a time when I was feeling a little stressed out and frustrated with myself and I know we’ve all been there, sometimes too often!! The purpose of me sharing this with you is because I feel through my own creative self-expression, there is much encouragement, support and positivity shining through, which may help you if you’re going through a similar experience right now. I want you to know that it is okay to feel vulnerable at times, actually, I believe now that showing vulnerability is often a real strength of integrity and authenticity. Give yourself permission to be who you really are, silence the overwhelmed mind and follow your heart. May you take comfort and courage from the following verse. Much love to you, Clarabelle.
Follow Your Heart
I feel frustrated, but no one knows;
How up and down I feel, but on the inside it shows.
So I take a time out, it’s time to express;
These random thoughts, are a bit of a mess.
But my mind feels strong, I prepared for it well;
The stresses keep coming, but I’m not in hell.
There is one part in balance, so I never fall;
Even though the ground is shaky, I’m walking tall.
I believe that this, pain will go;
I’ve built up an inner resistance, no matter what life does throw.
It’s teaching me something, and breaking old rules;
Changing me for the better, giving me new tools.
So I can mend, myself for good;
Uplifting my spirits, brightening my mood.
So when life gets you down, as it sometimes will;
You can create the way out – minus the pill.
Shine from within, follow your heart;
Your new life is waiting, soon you’ll never be apart.
Life throws us many challenges and sometimes just when you think you’ve got a little closer to the mountain top, darkness falls and fears and frustrations kick in. No one said life was ever going to be easy, but we must remember there are many things in life to be grateful for right now. Having an attitude of gratitude will become your inner torch, and will fill up your soul with an abundance of love and light. This next poem was written by me, during a challenging time in my life and my self expression through my poetry, at times, was my saving grace. I now share this with you in the hope that it will help you in some way to move forward regardless of the barriers that are in your way. Much love to you today and always, Clarabelle.
Keep a Strong Mind
Too many things, so much to do;
One day feeling bright, the other feeling blue.
At this age now, I look life in the eyes;
Where am I going? Where’s the surprise?
It’s gone a bit stale, I feel the dust;
I need to take action, this is a must.
The mountain is high, and the weather is bleak;
I must keep a strong mind, even though I feel weak.
Trudge, trudge, every step up the hill;
Moves me closer, this dream I will fulfill.
To escape in my imagination, makes me feel free;
It uplifts my spirits, like the wind’s carrying me.
For I come alive, when I write through my soul;
It opens the straight jacket, and fills up the black hole.
There are no boundaries, no pain my way;
The creativity is flowing, I’m listening to what I say.
It feels like magic, the words they come fast;
Meaningful moments, inspiration that lasts.
This feels easy, as I explore deep inside;
The experiences I hold, come in like the tide.
This I must do, it’s where I feel best;
Forget the distractions and let my mind just rest.
Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s passing away in 1997 but I remember it all like yesterday. Even though he suffered with cancer for about 5 years I choose to remember him when he was happy, fit and healthy. What a wonderful human being he was, full of laughter, always singing and loved his family very very much and even though he is not here today I still feel his unconditional love around me, so very abundant and strong. When loved ones leave our life here on earth, I believe their loving spirit still shines upon us, more than we will ever know. Their love is surrounding you right now. Clarabelle
Here is the post which I shared before here on this blog:
His Loving Spirit Lives On
I initially had second thoughts about posting this poem, simply because it is extremely personal to me and tells the true story of my Dad’s fight with cancer over 15 years ago. Sadly, after battling with this disease for 5 years, he passed away on 1 February 1997. The reason why I decided to share this poem is because although it was in some places, painful to write, I do feel other people who have gone through a similar situation with their family members will be able to relate to it and hopefully help them to come to terms with their sad loss and be able to gently move on. I know everyone deals with grief differently and I think it took me about 5 years for the sadness to truly melt away. Now when I think of my Dad, I think of the wonderful, happy and outgoing person he was, this then makes me smile and so proud to be his daughter and part of his life…..his loving spirit lives on in every heart he touched and I know he touched many.
My Wonderful Dad
It was 15 years ago, when you passed away
I must admit, it was my saddest day
My heart felt heavy, from deep inside
I had lost my Dad, I had lost my guide
The tears were painful, unbearable at times
Red bloodshot eyes, were swollen signs
When all alone, I cried out my heart
The deepest sadness, when you did depart
I held your hand, a few days before
And took a last glance back, before I left the ward door
Something told me to look back, when visiting that night
It was 24 hours later, you gave up the fight
I was out with a friend, but didn’t want to go
You told me to ‘live on’ and for the sadness not to show
I came home that night, there was a cold chill in the air
I instantly knew, why no one was there
They were called to the hospital, late that night
You were taking your last breathe, and approaching the light
Everyone was there, except for me
Because I went out, very selfishly
I lived with that hurt, for a few years
Why wasn’t I with you, I cried so many tears
I think it took about 5 years to move on
It was a painful few years, when your presence was gone
But now when I think of my wonderful Dad
I remember the good times, never the sad
I celebrate your life years, there were 58
I was part of 23 and you made them great
You never lived a perfect life, worry got to you
It’s easy to blame, but we didn’t live in your shoes
I think of your singing, I think of your smile
I think of that waistcoat, you wore for a while
You were fond of the mirror, a poser you were
Talking to yourself, as you played with your hair
When you left for work, I missed you right away
When you arrived home, it made my day
You were always positive and friendly to all
You liked to use humour, to break down the brick walls
A charmer you were, fun and caring
A Dad in a million and a little bit daring
You sang at most weddings, with a few whiskys inside
You jigged on the dance floor and flirted with the bride
You loved a laugh and would welcome a crowd
You loved your family, they made you feel so proud
In this physical world, your body is away
In another dimension, your spirit lives on each day
Maybe I can’t see you, but you can see me
You can feel my spirit and its frequency
So I’m sending you this message after 15 years
Life is good Dad, we have no more tears
You are still greatly missed and always will be
You have an extended family, it’s so beautiful to see
As the years go by and the older we get
We must live in each moment, but never will forget
The loved ones of the past, who are present in our mind
Who live in our hearts and are one of a kind
We love you, we miss you and to hold you once more
Would be a dream come true, if you walked through that door
The tears of the past, are now gone forever
They ran down my cheek and joined the river
And as the river flows, my heart does to
It is joined by my soul and reaches out to you
Because on the crest of the wave, there you stand
Holding out your heart and holding out your hand
Thank you Dad, for in me you live
Thank you for the lessons and to others I now give
Live your best life, every moment of every day
Connect with your inner self and listen to what it says
Enjoy the journey, as you sail down the river
Because there are hearts and many hands helping you forever.
poemsbyclarabelle, 6 January 2012
If you really like what you read here on this blog, you may be interested in purchasing one of Clarabelle’s self-published inspirational ebooks available to download now on Amazon Kindle, please refer to the Author page on this blog or click HERE
We’ve all had days when we feel a little bit ‘stuck’ and I include myself here, after all we are only human. It is possible for you to go from stuck to unstuck within moments and I believe the process for this is different for every person. When I created the poem below I was feeling in a ‘stuck’ place, but by the time I had finished the poem, I had moved to unstuck…the answer came from within and when I was in ‘creative flow’. What will you do today to help you move from a feeling of being ‘stuck’ to ‘unstuck’? There is a way, there is always a way, silence your mind, open your heart and let the answers flow. Much love to you, Clarabelle.
Today I Was Stuck
It’s nearly midnight, and I’m lying in bed;
I think of my inaction, before I rest my head.
Today I was stuck, I didn’t play the game;
Life got the better of me, unleash this chain.
Many brick walls, are in my way;
Built up by me, getting higher each day.
I kick and I punch, the battle is in me;
I’m fighting myself, this I can see.
So what do I do, to turn this around?
Inside is the answer, this I have always found.
Let go of the fight, it’s not a war anymore;
Staring at these four walls, will not open the door.
Step outside, breathe in the air;
Replenish your spirit, feel the wind in your hair.
Dust yourself down, and put a smile on your face;
Slowly walk down the path, and gradually pick up the pace.
To master the mind, it not about control;
Release that desire, and you’ll discover your soul.
When someone close to us dies, often prayer can help us to see through each day until we become strong again and are ready to face the world. I wrote this prayer after hearing about the loss of a friend’s loved one, I hope its sentiment brings strength to anyone who is going through this deep sadness at this time in their life. Love to you Clarabelle.
Prayer for the Loss of a Loved One
I pray that my loved one, is now held gently in your loving arms.
May their soul now be free and abundant with love and light.
Let their happy loving spirit, shine and guide us here on earth.
I pray that my close family and friends, remain strong for each other.
May we continue to be blessed with your loving presence, every moment of every day.
Life can be full of shocks and surprises, usually when you least expect it. I heard some sad news recently, the unexpected passing away of an adult friend from my childhood. Instantly I thought of the loved ones that are left behind and trying to cope with their loss and sadness. It made me think of how I was able to cope when my Dad passed away many years ago. I wrote this poem in the hope that it will bring some comfort and solace to the grieving family and friends, you are all in my prayers. Much love to you Clarabelle
You’re Never Alone
Today I feel your sadness, it’s present in my heart;
Your loss is very tragic, many tears from you depart.
A sinking soul, with a deeper beat;
Emotions are heavy, no people you want to meet.
Is this real? Is this me?
Questions stir your mind, make you feel crazy.
But let me tell you a secret, one I want to share;
When loved ones leave us, important people do care.
They offer a helping hand, to ease your current pain;
Their love surrounds you, to fill your heart again.
The human spirit comes alive, and reaches out to you;
It shines a light on your darkest days, to help you see it through.
You’re never alone, at this difficult time;
Angels dance around you, until you feel just fine.
So when you close your eyes tonight, and rest your head to sleep;
A warm blanket of love and light, penetrates your soul so deep.