Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Covid-19

An Attitude of Gratitude is a must in times of trouble

As the lock-down due to the Covid-19 outbreak continues, our mental health is taking a bit of a hit. No matter how positive we are normally, all this isolation and bad news is sure to take its toll. Strangely enough, when things seem at their worst is the very time when we should be looking for the good in every situation.

If you think that’s a really big ask, well, yes it is. But it’s well worth the effort, because cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a very powerful self care tool. Let’s look at the practicalities – it’s impossible to feel grateful and negative at the same time. If you don’t believe it, just try saying ‘thank you’ out loud and see what happens, physically and emotionally.

For a start, you can’t say ‘thank you’ without smiling, even slightly. And just the sound of the words is enough to lift your spirits. As you say ‘thank you,’ you feel yourself standing straight and tall, lifting your head, and at the same time, you feel a positive shift in energy. That’s the beginning of gratitude.

So, how do you build gratitude into your life? It’s simple really. Whenever you feel down, upset, depressed – any sort of negative feeling – think of three things that make you happy right now. It can be as basic as a nice cup of tea, just when you need it. Maybe your child or your partner brought you tea and biscuits in bed. Look at all the things you have to be grateful for. You have a comfortable home, a family who care, and the time to enjoy your tea and biscuits before you need to do anything else.

Now we’ve covered the practical side, what are the spiritual benefits of an attitude of gratitude? Under the Law of Attraction, the thoughts and feelings you put out into the Universe attract more of the same into your life. So if you count your blessings, you will attract more reasons to be cheerful into your life. So it makes sense to send out good thoughts, and nip the negatives in the bud.

One of the best ways to do this is to use positive affirmations. This can be a simple phrase you repeat to yourself, or it can be a sort of positive prayer, where you don’t ask for help, you say thank you for the good things. You don’t need to say this out loud for the Universe to hear you – your thoughts have enough energy to carry them where they need to go. And you don’t need fancy words and phrases, or to use religious terminology. All you have to do is feel the gratitude in your heart.

I was talking with a friend a few days ago. He’s a successful businessman, but he feels for his clients, who are all worried about how their own businesses will manage to ride out the lock-down. When you’re an empath, you can worry about others as well as yourself, and it’s very draining energetically.

As I was talking him through some coping strategies and exercises to raise his vibrational energy, I was given an affirmation, channelled through Archangel Michael. I was told to share it with him, and also with others who might need to be reminded that an attitude of gratitude can strengthen your soul and help you through the dark times and bring in more success. I suggest you print this off or write it out, and read through it when you need to.

You may wish to carry it with you. Words are like crystals – they carry healing energy, and if you keep them close to you, you may feel extra benefits. When you want to read your affirmation prayer, find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, and take a few deep, calming breaths, as if you were preparing for meditation. I like to hold a hand over my heart, and visualise the words coming from my heart, into the air around me.

Love and blessings, and I hope this beautiful affirmation prayer, channelled from Archangel Michael, brings you comfort.

Affirmation for gratitude and success

(Channelled from Archangel Michael, 19 May 2020)

Thank you, Universe, for all the blessings in my life.

I am grateful for my happy family

I am blessed with my beautiful home

I am fortunate in my friends

I am surrounded by love

I love my work, which keeps me busy serving others

I have everything I need for happiness within me

I am truly blessed

I am truly grateful

I am truly content

Thank you, Universe for the abundance in my life right now

And so it is

Goodnight Sweetheart, sleep will banish sorrow

At Algorfa fiesta, July 2015

If you’re wondering about the title, it’s a line from a lyric from a song written in 1931, and also the name of a time-travelling sitcom. Goodnight Sweetheart, the show starred Nicholas Lyndhurst, who played Rodney in Only Fools and Horses, as Gary Sparrow, a music shop owner. He accidentally found a time portal which took him back to London in wartime, and ended up with two relationships, one in the 1940s and one in the 1990s.

Goodnight Sweetheart was one of Tony’s favourite TV programmes – and mine. It’s an appropriate title for this post about my personal goodbye to my estranged husband. Although we had been separated for a year, it wasn’t a case of me airbrushing him out of my life. We were together for 30 years, married for 20, and for at least 25 of those years, we were very happy together, until age and illness took my husband from me, leaving an uncaring, somewhat frightening stranger in his place.

Since Tony’s passing, I feel like I have the old Tony back – caring, happy, and sorry for the circumstances that caused our split. His energy came to me before he passed, asking for forgiveness, and since he passed, he’s been back several times as the warm, loving, husband and partner I fell in love with all those years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, he had his faults – don’t we all? – and I’m not canonising him just because he’s on the other side of life. My point here is that what those of us who are privileged to ‘talk to dead people’ already know is true has been demonstrated to me at first hand. You do leave all your pain and troubles behind when you step through the veil. We often say ‘his cares are gone now,’ when someone close dies, and it’s lovely to be reminded of that on a personal level.

The poem given to me by Spirit before the commital service

Losing someone in lock-down is surreal, as many people have sadly found out. The usual type of funeral is out of the window. You can’t have limousines, because of the risk of cross infection through close contact. Also, you’re limited with the number of people who can attend, and they must be socially distanced if they are from other households.

It was clear that there weren’t going to be many guests at Tony’s funeral – I refuse to use negative terms like ‘mourners’ for the attendees. When you’re 86 and have been ill for a couple of years, and have spend most of the last decade in Spain, there aren’t that many friends left, and those who might have come are shielding at home. Also, the thought of not being able to have a comforting hug when you need it most is just unacceptable to someone like me. I would be a strong contender for the gold medal if hugging was an Olympic sport, and they weren’t cancelled because of Covid-19. But I digress.

Someone suggested it may be better to just have a cremation with no service, and that felt better to me, but I wanted to say a personal goodbye to Tony, as I hadn’t been with him when he passed. I would have been, given the opportunity, even though we had lived apart for over a year, but it wasn’t possible. And even though I know that what’s left behind is only Tony’s shell and his soul is free, I felt his circle of life was incomplete without an earthly farewell.

Graeme at West Country Funeral Services in Saltash said he would conduct a commital service in the Chapel of Rest, for up to 10 people, but again, it would have to be a socially distanced affair. I decided Graeme would be, to quote another song lyric, Playing to an Audience of One. I invited nobody to the service on 12 May – not even Glenys, who has been such a support over the last few difficult years.

In preparation , I printed off one of my favourite photos of the two of us, taken in 2015 at Algorfa’s patronal festival. On the evening before the service, I was given a poem by Spirit which Graeme read out, as well as another poem that I feel was suggested to him, as it addressed a concern with bothered Tony quite a bit.

The poem Graeme of West Country Funeral Services

When he was well, Tony liked to be busy, pottering in his shed or the garden, making things, problem solving, you name it. He’s not the type to sit on a cloud with a harp all day, and I felt him around me at the weekend, rather agitated. He asked me what he was supposed to do now, and I explained that time was for us on Earth, it didn’t apply to him now, and he would never be bored, only happy and healthy.

One of the lines in the other poem – His Journey’s Just Begun – speaks of the other side of life as a place ‘Where there are no days or years.’ There is no such thing as coincidence in the Universe – Graeme chose that poem because Tony needed to hear that message.

The energy in the chapel was amazing, full of warmth and love. And when I told Graeme I wanted Tony’s favourite song played, there was some laughter too. The song doesn’t appear on any list of Most Popular Funeral Songs, and it’s not surprising really, given the back story.

Back in the late 1960’s, Tony went on a lads’ night out with his local social club. The highlight of the show was a stripper, dressed in full Welsh national costume. At the end of her spot, all she was wearing was the iconic tall hat and a smile! Every time Tony heard the song she performed to, he smiled, thinking of where he first heard it. It was the 1968 hit by O. C. Smith, The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp, and although it was a solemn occasion, we both had to smile.

So, it was nothing like a funeral service, but it was everything I needed for my personal farewell to someone who was part of my life for almost half of it. We made some wonderful memories together which will always be with me, and we had a memorable ‘hasta luego.’ too. I am at peace, Tony is at peace, we have both learned valuable Earthly lessons, and we can both move on, on both sides of life.

I am content, and so is Tony. Goodnight sweetheart, and I am so pleased that sleep has banished sorrow for both of us.

A tale of two Easters …

My fabulous family – I miss them so much, but we’ve made some great memories, and we will again.

So, once more Easter is here. And just like last year the Gods – or rather the sun – has smiled on us. That’s about the only similarity though. Like many people, all over the world, it’s a very solitary Easter for most of us. The message from religious leaders, and the Queen (God bless her) is that Easter is a time of hope. After darkness comes light, after death comes rebirth, after the barrenness of winter comes the fertility of spring.

Never before has this message been one we can connect with on so many levels, across all faiths, and belief systems. Ironically, at a time all the churches and other religious meeting places are closed due to the lock-down, there are probably more people fixing on the spiritual meaning of Easter this year than ever before.

Personally, the commercial aspects of Easter have never really appealed to me. It was always a time for the family to get together, and when I was a child, that was usually at my paternal grandmother’s caravan in Blackpool. Once I had my own family, we always made sure there was time spent with other family members, and that trend has pretty much continued through my life.

With Harrison at his Christening – Easter Sunday 2015

Five years ago, my middle grandson was christened on Easter Sunday, because he was fast outgrowing the family christening gown. Again, it was a lovely family weekend. So many precious Easter memories of good times with the family!

In Spain, although I was a long way from the family, we always spent time with friends and supported one of the local fund raising events. Last year, I was in England for Easter, due to family circumstances, and it coincided with one of the best Easters ever, weather wise.

On Good Friday, my daughter and I took my two granddaughters for a girly day out to Saltram House, where we did a tour of the house, dressed up in period costume and picnicked and took part in an Easter egg hunt in the grounds. I introduced my elder granddaughter, Chloe, to the fabulous energy of trees, and we enjoyed being in Nature.

Chloe and Lauren – Young ladies of quality at Saltram House, Good Friday 2019

On the next day, again we took to the Great Outdoors, with a picnic in Central Park, Plymouth followed by a trip around the fair. On Easter Sunday, I spent the day with Glenys and her daughter and grandson at Lanhydrock House. Guess who had treated herself to membership of the National Trust for Easter!

I also purchased membership for my granddaughters, rather than getting them Easter eggs. It would have cost £8 each to take them into Saltram House, but for just an extra £2, they could have a year of entry into National Trust properties. As their aunt and uncle in Cornwall are also members, the girls have certainly had their money’s worth, as have I, and I’m extending it for all of us, although obviously at the moment, we can’t use it.

So, how has this Easter been so far? Well, we’ve spent some time outdoors, as it’s been so nice, and we’ve watched a few films, although there’s not much else of any interest on TV to be honest. We’ve caught up on some reading, I’ve tidied up the website a bit, and caught up with friends via the phone and video calls.

Easter Saturday 2019 in Central Park, Plymouth with my daughter and granddaughters.

My elder son is lucky to be locked down with his new fiance – they got engaged on Mothering Sunday – in Shropshire. Their rural setting means they can enjoy walks close to home without breaching government instructions. Thankfully, his fiance managed to leave London before lock-down – I feel happier that they are in the countryside, rather than in the nation’s hotspot of Covid-19.

My daughter is an ambulance care assistant, and she is happy. Finally there are enough masks, gloves and goggles for the team, and Derriford Hospital is as prepared as they can be for the expected influx of patients as the outbreak heads to its peak. Luckily, here in the South West, the NHS are not so challenged as in other parts of the country. We have so much to be thankful for.

My younger son is a single parent to four children, and they all went into lockdown almost a week before the rest of the country, as the youngest showed symptoms of Covid-19. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, and the family are happy and healthy, and he hasn’t lost his sense of humour – or maybe he’s descended into insanity?

Earlier today, he posted on Facebook that the Easter Bunny had been awarded Key Worker status, as long as he abided by government instructions and practiced social distancing. Adam proudly displayed an ‘official letter’ from 10, Downing Street. It was clearly authentic, as it was signed by Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson as he recovers from his own brush with Covid-19! I admired Adam’s attention to detail, even as I questioned his sanity.

Easter treats made from marzipan, Easter Monday in Portugal, 2016.

There’s a serious point here though – yes, we’re in a serious situation, and we can’t see an end to it right now. However, as I have pointed out all through this rambling, we have so much to be thankful for, and we are blessed with hope and humour. It’s what the British do best. It’s seen us through so much, personally and as a nation, and it will continue to do so.

So, on this rather surreal Easter Sunday, I am concentrating on what I have, not on what I am missing at the moment. I am looking back at happy Easter memories from years gone by, and looking forward to big hugs from my loved ones when all this is finally over. And I am grateful – truly grateful – to be right here, right now, experiencing life and learning lessons, so that I can be the best version of myself possible.

Stay safe and well, and remember, we will be okay. It will be okay. Have the happiest Easter you can under the circumstances, and I look forward to a few fiestas in the not too distant future.

All is NOT well at Well Pharmacy, St Budeaux Square, Plymouth!

Well Pharmacy, St Budeaux Square, Plymouth

As we keep being told, these are unprecedented times, and we should ‘Stay home and save lives.’ I have had Lupus for more than 20 years, and it mainly affects my lungs and my bowel, so although I’m not over 70, I have taken on government advice and have stayed home.

However, twice this week it has been necessary for both Glenys – who is 77 – and myself to put ourselves at risk. More of that later, in another post. This is all about Well Pharmacy in St Budeaux Square. Glenys’s grandson is 22, and has asthma. He can’t afford to be without his inhaler, but like most young people, he’s not very good at forward thinking, and many’s the time he’s borrowed a new inhaler from the neighbour until his own prescription is ready.

However, the neighbour is over 80, and is at risk because of his age and his asthma, so that’s not an option now. Grandson of Glenys was told that his prescription would be ready on Friday, so, on Friday afternoon, he headed off to queue for his inhaler, which by now was definitely needed.

He stood in the queue outside the chemist for almost an hour, only to be told his prescription was not ready, and he needed to come back in the morning! This was despite the fact that, after almost an hour of waiting in the cold, he could barely breathe, and said he really needed it. Now, Grandson of Glenys is not as good at standing his ground as we Guerilla Grannies are, so he just accepted that, and came home, knowing he was in for a sleepless night.

This morning, Glenys decided to go down and queue, rather than let him go and maybe get turned away again. I offered to go with her, to share the queueing, because neither of us would have been up to standing for over an hour. So I sent Glenys over to Lidl for socially distanced supplies while I joined the queue, which at 10.45 am stretched back to the Co-Op corner. There were probably around 12 – 15 people in front, all at least two metres apart.

I felt safe, because I was in what I call my ‘Vera Gear,’ since several friends said that, with my hat and scarf, I looked just like Vera Stanhope. That’s the popular ITV detective, played by Brenda Blethyn. As you do, I got chatting to the people in front and behind.

The ‘Vera’ Look!

The lady in front was well in her 70s, and partially sighted, She’d queued the previous day for 45 minutes before closing, to drop off her prescription, only to be told ‘We can’t accept that from you now.’ She asked what she was supposed to do, as she needed medication for herself and her husband.

I had a job to believe what she told me, but someone else confirmed her story later. She was told to go into another pharmacy in town to get her prescription! That anyone working within health care could offer such advice, which flies in the face of government direction, is staggering in its arrogance. This poor lady was told to put herself and others in danger, to get essential medication.

And this sort of non-service is not just down to the Covid-19 outbreak. On more than one occasion, when I’ve been to collect my own medication after receiving a text message to say it’s ready, one or more items are not ready. And the last time I collected my prescription – two days after receiving the text message – it wasn’t even ready for collection, and I was told to return the next day, because ‘The surgery was late sending through the prescription.’ So why was I sent a message from the PHARMACY to say it was ready? That was a mistake, apparently.

But not the surgery’s mistake, because when I checked, this was not the first time this particular pharmacy had blamed the surgery for their incompetence. According to others in the queue who overheard me, I wasn’t on my own.

I hesitate to criticise anyone at all, let alone in these challenging times. I admire absolutely everyone in healthcare, retail or other essential services who are working hard to keep some sense of service and normality, while risking their own health, even their lives, for us.

However, the conduct of the staff in Well Pharmacy is at best negligent and disrespectful, and at worst downright dangerous. I did not need to ask for instances of inconsiderate behaviour, they came thick and fast. The second person to have been told to go into Plymouth was turned away, after queuing for almost an hour in the cold, on Friday, because they locked the door on the dot of 5.30 pm, with just three people waiting.

He came back on Saturday, only to be told they didn’t have the medication he needed! Then there was the lady who told me about her friend, whose two-year-old was also refused an inhaler. They were told to ‘Come back tomorrow, and call 111 if the child gets worse.’

In the first 25 minutes I was in the queue, just four people emerged from the pharmacy with their prescriptions. Another four – including the partially sighted lady in front of me – gave up and went home. It took almost an hour to be admitted to collect the vital inhaler for Grandson of Glenys. Yet there were three people working. So what on Earth is going on?

Another thing that seemed both pointless and heartless was that only one person was allowed inside the pharmacy at a time. This despite the fact that there is lots of room – and seats – inside, and the floor is marked out so people stand two metres apart. It was a nice warm morning, but there were elderly people in that queue who would have benefited from a seat indoors.

I will be sending a copy of this article to the local press, and to the head office of Well Pharmacy, and I urge anyone who has been in that queue in St Budeaux Square to do the same. At a time when we are all being urged to work together for the good of everyone, there is a distinct lack of kindness and compassion at this particular establishment. All is NOT well at Well Pharmacy, St Budeaux, and it’s time something was done about it.

Cutting energetic cords with Archangel Michael: A visualisation for Covid-19

Cutting the energetic cord to Covid-19, as visualised in the meditation.

There is no doubt we are living through an unprecedented situation unknown in peace time. And no matter how positive you try to be, there are always going to be times when you are anxious – for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the general situation as a whole. This is where cutting energetic cords can come in useful. I was given this visualisation by Spirit for Covid-19, but it works for any situation where someone or something is draining your energy and making you feel anxious.

Basically, cutting energetic cords can help if there is something playing on your mind, whether it’s in the present, like the Covid-19 outbreak, or in the past, but still affecting your life now. Focusing on past or present worries robs you of the joy of now, and if there’s nothing you can do to alter the situation, it’s pointless wasting energy on it. Negative energy, in thought, word or deed, has a habit of reproducing and attracting even more negativity into your life, so it’s something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Archangel Michael is the go-to angel for cord cutting, and this visualisation will help you to do just that. When you cut the energetic cords to a person or situation, it doesn’t mean you no longer care, and it doesn’t airbrush anything out of your life. What it does do is allow you to detach from the energy around the situation, and see it for what it really is – something you couldn’t change or control, which doesn’t have an important place in your life right now.

When you cut energetic cords, you feel a lightness and clarity of thought that wasn’t there before. That’s because you set the intention to detach from it. You can’t control or change what’s happens, but you can control and adapt your response. Once you realise that you can’t do anything, no matter how much you want to, whatever you are detaching from loses its power to impact on your life in a negative way.

As someone classed as vulnerable because of an auto-immune system condition, I can’t do what I want to do, and get out and volunteer my services to those who need them. However, I can use my psychic and healing skills to help people cope emotionally and spiritually with isolation and worry.

A friend who was weighed down with anxiety because she was caring for an elderly relative, and her daughter was facing danger every day as a key worker, asked me to help. I wasn’t sure where our session was going, but I did feel that a cord cutting exercise was needed. As we talked, I was given this visualisation by Spirit. It is specifically to cut the energetic cords of the Covid-19 situation, but it can be adapted to anything that is causing you concern.

So, let’s work through this together. You may want to record this, so you can play it back and focus all your attention on the visualisation. Or you could copy it out, read through it a couple of times, and then try it for yourself. However you do it, it’s a very powerful visualisation. Are you sitting comofrtably? Then we’ll begin!

Cutting the energetic cords of Covid-19

Begin by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths in through the nose to the count of three, hold for three, then exhale through the mouth to another count of three. Imagine breathing in love and healing, and breathing out tension.

Now invite Archangel Michael to come into your presence and wrap his protective wings around you. You may feel a different sensation to alert you to his presence, like warmth, or the pressure of a hug, or even a sense of peace and calm. Don’t worry if you feel nothing – you can be sure he is with you, because when you ask the Angels to come forward to help, they are obliged to do so.

See before you a small black dot in the distance, something like a full stop, which as it comes closer quickly develops into a large black ball, about the size of a football. You notice that there is a thick string attached to the ball, and although you can’t touch it, you know it is really strong. You also notice flecks of red in the ball, and you feel a threat from it.

As the ball stops, a few feet away from you, level with your heart, you recognise it as Covid-19, waiting to overwhelm you with worry and fear.

Now ask Archangel Michael to cut the literal cord attached to this situation of fear and isolation with his Sword of Light. Look steadily at the black ball, and inwardly tell it you will not allow it into your mind or your life. Watch as Archangel Michael severs the connection with one blow of the Sword of Light.

Feel your spirits lift and your soul strengthen as the black ball floats slowly and harmlessly into the distance. It may have rushed towards you, but know that as it floats away, it has lost its power to rob you of your peace of mind.

Thank Archangel Michael for his help, and bid him farewell for now. Enjoy the new feeling of lightness and happiness as you bring your awareness back to the here and now.

If you are feeling really overwhelmed, you may need to do this more than once to clear your mind and heart. And of course, it’s still vital to practice caution by following expert advice on minimising the risks to yourself and others.

If you see something other than a ball, that’s okay. It’s your visualisation, and it’s the cord cutting itself that matters. And the lighter feeling you get as a result.

Another step you can take to distance yourself from the energy of Covid-19 is to draw it, as I have, in a way that makes it less threatening. I’m the first to admit I am no artist, but I deliberately set out to do a child-like representation of the visualisation. That again robs it of its power to cause anxiety, by making it look ridiculous while treating it with respect.

Let me know in the comments how you get on with the visualisation, and remember, the Angels are always there, waiting to help. Love and blessings to everyone at this challenging time. Stay safe and well, and be kind to yourself and others. This will pass, and we will all be stronger for it.

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