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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Inspired by the Big Issue

As the year draws to a close I’d like to share my thoughts about the homeless paper ‘The Big Issue’. I do believe that it is a great idea to offer homeless people a legitimate way to earn their way into a better future. I’ve been inspired by John Bird the papers founder in the November/Dec issue where he argues ‘There is no alternative to getting involved in the day to day world of politics, if you feel that politics is going the wrong way.’

It might not be clear why someone working in the field of health might become interested in politics. Over many years of coping with a chronic health issue myself and working with others struggling with health concerns, I have felt and seen what is like to struggle and work consistently to be able to make a living.  People with chronic ill health and disability will inevitably be amongst the poorest in our society.  I think it’s very sad that the current government is choosing to set different sections of society against each other. Disabled against able bodied, poor against rich and employed against unemployed and most notably with the coining of the phrase ‘strivers’ pitted against ‘skivers’.

It seems to me that the further one gets from the bread line and the longer one has enjoyed the security and standard of living that goes with being a good distance away from the bread line, the easier it is to distance ourselves from the reality of what it is like to be poor.  I question the validity of anyone who has been ‘comfortably off’ for any amount of time to be charged with making economic decisions that will impact mostly on the poor. I believe that we have to work towards a system where it is compulsory that disadvantaged sections of our society are properly represented and truly listened to.

At the moment we have a situation where our most vulnerable people are ‘demonised’ and like John Bird says in the Big Issue, the only way forward is encourage more people to become politically active. He says lets ‘ have a big demo for signing people up to political action...Go out on our high streets and diligently promote your argument. Take every opportunity to get your voice heard.’

For those people who say ‘I’m not interested in politics, it has nothing to do with me’ I would say it has everything to do with you. How much money you pay in tax, how much money you pay for your bills and your food, what the local government has to spend in your area, how your local services, like schools, the fire service and the police service are run. All these areas and most of the areas that affect our daily lives are governed by politics so it has everything to do with us whether we like it or not.

The Big Issue is available from a homeless person on a street corner somewhere near you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, 29 October 2012

We all need a day of chilling and recovery...

Many thanks to Wendy a great Reiki teacher who introduced me to the wonderful world of Reiki this week.  I’ve been intrigued by Reiki for some time now and have had a few Reiki treatments in the past.  A client of mine, hearing that I was able to do less and less Reflexology because of painful thumbs and back, suggested I could continue to help people with their health through the WiserSelf Plan but with Reiki. I could continue to work with them physically and energetically.  Great!  She sowed the seed for me and I began my journey towards being able to treat using the ancient ‘hands on’ healing of Reiki.

I began with the first part of my training called Reiki 1 which involves an ‘Attunement’.  This consists of a wonderful visualisation which took me on to a plateau with vistas closely resembling the mountains region of Lesotho where I used to live as a volunteer teacher many years ago.  It was great to be taken back to that amazing time in my life and to be surrounded by the mountains and Basotho people again with magnificent views and fond memories of the important rituals I was lucky enough to be part of.

Along with my Reiki self healing instruction and space clearing advice I had a truly relaxing day.  It was so beneficial to be allowed to work on myself for the whole day, an immensely liberating experience to think I don’t have to be any where else and and I don’t have to do anything else accept be here and give myself up to this gentle life affirming experience.

Once again thank you to Wendy for her patience and thoughtfulness.  Now I am going to try to persuade her to join us at WiserHealth, it would be great to have her on the team offering her wonderful skills.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Respect for Women

Has anyone been following The Sun, Page 3 debate which has been playing in the national media this week?

I watched Harriet Harman on BBC Newsnight arguing the case for finally ending page 3 topless women in The Sun newspaper and felt moved by her sheer tenacity.  Did she really say she has been fighting for an end to Page 3 for 20 years! The ex-editor they had arguing the case for the boobs to stay wasn't very impressive but then what possible intelligent reason could he give. 

A day later I went into Peacocks clothes store with my 11 year old daughter and while waiting to pay was confronted with a pile of boxed 'Stress Boobs' on the counter by the till.  Each box carried a scary looking man eagerly squeezing two skin coloured balls with nipples! And sure enough viewed voyeuristically through the plastic display window were two sad looking stress boobs, staring weirdly out at us.

I mentioned to the saleswoman that I wasn't impressed by the 'boobs' and the queue of people behind me looked away in embarrassment.  Why did they do that?  Were they embarrassed by me complaining? By me saying boobs? By me raising the issue? It would have been nice to be supported. I continued anyway and  tried to explain that at exactly child height they were inappropriate and could she please pass this on as a complaint from a customer.  I asked her what she felt. She said children saw 'much worse all the time, out there'. Is that true? Does that make us too accepting and perhaps lazy, happy to just let these things go, and in so doing help perpetuate this terrible disrespect for women?  Does that make us complicit? And is that why we still have a Page 3?

So let's have a mini campaign.  If you go into Peacocks and the boobs are there, complain. 

Janet Wise

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Overcoming Adversity

'Overcoming Adversity' is the theme for our Armada Speakers get together on 4th September.  We'll be celebrating the amazing achievements of the paralympic athletes and offering our unique blend of prepared and off the cuff speaking.

Please note our change of venue.  We are moving to The Astor Hotel, in Elliot Street, Plymouth and are assured of a warm welcome from Joesph Louei and his staff.  We'll meet in the Churchill Suite at our usual time of 7pm for a prompt 7.15 start.

I'm still really enjoying my Armada Speakers experience because I meet really friendly people there and hear challenging and interesting speeches.  I gave my seventh speech last week and came out the winner in the prepared speech category!  My speech was entitled 'The Perils of Five a day'.  I used a clip from Jamie Oliver's TED speech, about the increase in obesity and crisis with food choices for Americans and their children. I made comparisons with what's happening here in the UK. The content seemed to strike a cord with the audience and I had good feed back.  The 'perils' I spoke of was the misunderstanding I held for a while that I could eat anything I wanted as long as I had my five fruit and vegetables a day.  That didn't quite work out. I'm about two stone lighter now, I'm pleased to have found a better way of eating thanks to help from Ramin my acupuncturist.  Making friends with food is a fundamental part of our work at WiserHealth,  finding a balanced way of eating, exercising and living that keeps us happy and well.

My fascination with and sometimes obsessions with food and health takes me on some interesting journeys.  Does this happen for you?  If you'd like to know more or share ideas please don't hesitate to contact me.

See you on Tuesday at the Astor Hotel, guests made especially welcome.  Don't forget drinks afterwards in the bar.  Let's share our voices, practice being heard and being a good listener and have fun at the same time.

Janet Wise

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Dawn French - one woman's inspiring story

I hope all you parents out there are coping OK with this challenging summer weather and managing to keep your charges happy and occupied.  I know it can be quite an ordeal and I'm filled with admiration when I see women (I know there are plenty of men doing this too but I've only seen women so far) trailing children around and still sounding positive!  We'll done!  It's not easy and you're doing a great job!

A book that is also really inspiring me at the moment is 'Dear Fatty' by Dawn French.  I was really moved by this passage where Dawn recalls her dad's words as she is about to embark on her first teenage party.  He reveals that she nearly died as a baby and speaking as he would have spoken she continues:

It was then we knew that having a baby girl, having you, completed our little family.  That's all we ever wanted.  The four of us together forever.  We had so much to look forward to, so much to learn.  So much to do, so much fun to have...  You and your brother are our life, our reason and our happiness. We adore you both and we feel blessed to have you, and to witness you grow into the remarkable young people you are becoming.  You are both so impressive! Truly, you are our world, our joy.  Never forget what a treasure you are and if your faith in that ever wobbles, have a look in the mirror and have confidence in what you see.  You are a rare thing, an uncommon beauty, a dazzling, exquisite, splendid young woman.  Look!  You must know it's true, you're a corker.  How lucky any boy would be to have you on his arm.  They should fight tournaments to win your affection, they should kill for your favour.  Don't dare be grateful for their attentions, you utterly deserve it and more than that, you deserve the very best.  Don't think for one second you should settle for other people's rejects.  You are the princess, you are the prize, so be choosy and take your time.  You decide how, when and where not them.  They will wait.  Of course they will.  Who wouldn't wait for someone so priceless?  There is no one better.  Know this: if anything ever happened to you, Moo, our lives would fall apart, we would be devastated and this family would never be the same again.  So you must take care of yourself, you must guard against danger. When you are out of this house it is up to you to protect yourself, your reputation and your dignity. We love you and we need you.

I think this is amazing!  I really wish my mum or dad had said something like this to me and I am certainly passing these sentiments on to my children. Thanks Dawn!  I'm really, really enjoying this book, it is so warm and brings back so many fond memories.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Many thanks to Alison Hall of Plymouth Enterprising Women for allowing me to present at the PEW event yesterday as part of Outsets Business Collaboration day.  The presentation entitled Women Speaking Up was encouraging women to share their voice, especially in places where it will make a difference eg decision making both in the private and public sphere.  I touched on ideas that would be called feminist and this was welcome from most women in the group - although one women found this a turn off and uped and left!  I'm really sorry she didn't feel able to stay and raise her concerns within our discussion.  Ultimately I was echoing the sentiments of the Miss Representation Film trailer directed by Jennifer Sibel Newsom encouraing women to look out for and support each other; that's my brand of feminism and so far has won me some very good friends. How has feminism become so misunderstood that women react so strongly?  Are the ideas still just too challenging for comfort?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The sun's out - let's eat better!

The suns out - let's eat better!

I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation at a business networking event yesterday around the topic of healthy eating and self care which was brilliant for helping me focus on my own eating habits!

Is it just me or does this gorgeous weather make you feel healthier without even doing anything?  Well I want to capitalise on that and maybe you will too.  Some people say they don't feel so hungry when the weathers hot and I used to think really? I just want to eat all the time what ever the weather!  I don't feel like that now and I think that's because I've changed what I eat and always try to include a whole grain in my meals (even breakfast!) so I no longer feel hungry all the time.  Also having lots of vegetables with every meal, especially green ones and a small amount of protein I know is really good for me too. 

What I need to concentrate on now is staying away from the sugary 'treats' which although taste wonderful at the time are very 'moreish' as my mum used to say.  We know that sugar is indeed addictive and I do find that once I start eating sweet things I just want to eat more.  These empty calories not only add fat, they also play havoc with our energy levels, giving us false spikes and making it very difficult for our blood sugar to stablise naturally.  It's the cake and biscuits that do it for me!  So all I can do is not buy them.  I've told my daughter that if she wants biscuits (she has a sweet tooth too) she has to make them and they must be the healthist recipe we can find.  She hasn't stepped up to make any yet!  I've also found that making sure I eat a good meal three times a day means I don't need to snack inbetween.  I know that takes a lot of planning but that's where the weekly menu planning comes in.  I'm planning to share menu ideas on Twitter from the middle of June and any ideas you'd like to share please comment below.  In the mean time the sun's out - let's eat better.

Janet Wise

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Herald Business Awards

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Herald Business Awards

Only one more day before the Herald Business Awards tomorrow at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Plymouth.  We have been shortlisted in the Spirit of Enterprise category and look forward to hearing about other local businesses and enjoying the food provided by Riverford Organics.
Many thanks to all our customers, business trainers and friends over the last few years who have helped us grow and develop into an enterprising business!

Fingers crossed for our success tomorrow.

Best wishes


Friday, 6 April 2012

Plymouth Sound By Boat

Yesterday we were lucky enough to join a group of differently able children and their carers on a boat trip with Horizons Sailing club.  While the weather can only be described as 'bracing' it was wonderful to be out on the water to see Plymouth from a whole different viewpoint.  From Richmond Walk first we headed out to the Breakwater passing the lethal looking 'Dragons Teeth' and the rather lonesome Drakes Island.  Then we headed up river and passed the rolling hills of Tamerton Foliet on one side and beautiful Mount Edgecumbe on the other.  We stopped for lunch in Saltash right under the Brunel Bridge and were very grateful to the community centre there who warmed us up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate and coffee and kindly allowed us to use their facillities to eat our packed lunches.  Lunch outside in the driving wind would have been much less pleasant!

I was full of admiration for the Captain who jollied us expertly through the adventure with varying winds and waves but felt even greater admiration for the carers on board who worked so hard coaxing their loved ones through the cold weather and meeting all their needs in such difficult conditions - it looked physically exhausting but for them just another very demanding day. You are all inspirational!

During the night I woke up and was briefly unable to sleep still processing the sights and scenes of the day.  Then I was reminded that the Government's cuts to Working Tax Credit are due to hit this week and I felt extreme anger as I realised that these are probably the very people who the tax cut will hit.  No doubt mostly women like those on the boat who were hard pushed to work 16 hours outside of their caring responsibilites but couldn't possibly manage any more.  As a result of these cuts their income is set to drop substantially because they are not considered to be working enough.  All I can see is an extremely unfair and narrow definition of work - I've yet to see anyone who works harder than those caring for the disabled.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to be made sleepless by this government.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Hope all you mum's out there are getting the attention and pampering you deserve!  I've had a great day thanks to my husband and kids who have rallied round and made me feel special.

After a sumptious brunch - plenty of time to lie in and ease my way into the day we then headed off to the coast with a picnic and sunshades.  Sat looking out to see towards Plymouth Sound basking in the sunshine and still disbelieving the blueness of the sea.  Back home in time for a spot of relaxation in the garden; OK by then I did have to take out my hot water bottle and blanket but listening to Swami's Yoga Nidra through my head phones just loud enough to phase out the garden bird song - lovely!

We've just finished supper which was of course rounded off with the lovely chocolates presented to me earlier.  Now I do have a few chores to do like ironing the school uniform and supervising baths but it all seems easy today, there seems to have been more space and even the normal little ups and downs of the day have stayed little.

Hope you've all enjoyed your day and for those of you like the woman we met on the cliff top today not having such a great time, having lost her mum last week - remember to nuture yourself, we know how to look after others and we also have in us to look after ourselves.

Best wishes  Janet

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day

I'm off to Plymouth City Centre to take part in the celebrations at the Guildhall part of which will be seeing our daughter receive her creative writing prize from the Soropomists.  We're so proud of her for flying the International Women's Day flag at only 10!

Hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating another year nearer to equality.

A special thanks goes to all the men out there who are helping us along with their positive support and confidence that everyone wins in a equal world!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A Positive Message from (the) Heart

I was delighted this week to speak to Gemma at Heart Radio.  They are running a feature aimed at spreading a positive message about Plymouth through local businesses recording a positive 'Quote'.  It's so true that much of what we read in the local press and hear on TV is so depressing and negative so this to me is a really innovative way of helping us thinking differently.  And we all know that it's the thinking that counts!

On this theme I am continuing to practise my daily relaxation practise and really enjoy this time of quietening of the mind and a break from all the thinking.  I still fall asleep far too often, so obviously need to work harder.  Hope you're all managing to find relaxation and breaks in the thinking too!

Best wishes


Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Relaxing Start to the New Year

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is in good spirits after the New Year.  I'm feeling optimistic about the year ahead and really enjoyed presenting 'A relaxing start to the New Year' a guided relaxation to my Armada Speakers group last night.  Even better I was voted Best Speaker! It's always great to be rewarded for what you do.

We've got lots of ideas to work on for 2012 but also want to keep reminding ourselves and our clients and friends 'Take it Slowly' every day is there to be enjoyed not rushed through.  Build in some relaxation and always try to include things you enjoy doing rather than just lots of 'stuff' that you have to do.  I personally think it's OK for that to include TV so looking forward to the second part of the Charles Dickens adaptation of Edwin Drood - what a dark tale it is and very sinister is anyone else enjoying it?

Best wishes