Small joys

It was so uplifting to spend time together sharing our thoughts on this topic.  We laughed, we remembered, we reflected together.  Our focus was on small things or moments that had brought us happiness. As you read the stories and poetry in this blog post, you’ll see how the topic led us on to deeper appreciation of our everyday lives and the ways in which we find happiness.  As one member said, at the end of our meetings it feels like “you’ve been given a lovely warm hug”.  We wish that for you too, as you read on, maybe enjoying a cup of tea or coffee as you do so.

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Significant buildings

Jolene asked us to relax, close our eyes and picture a building which held a special meaning for us. “Step inside“, she said, “how does it feel? what can you see? how does it smell? what memories come back to you?” Such a variety of thoughts and emotions were stirred by this exercise! Listen to a recording of some of our responses.

Read on to discover the poetry and prose inspired by our online and in-person meetings.

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Friendship

There is no measure for such things, For this all Nature slows and sings.

from Friendship by Elizabeth Jennings  (1926-2001)

So much is written and sung about romantic love, but love between friends often isn’t celebrated or acknowledged in the same way.   In this blog post, listen to some of our conversations, read our stories and reflections on the theme, and share the joy we found in talking about the varied roles that friendship has played in our lives.  

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Special Times Part Two

Welcome to the second blog post on the theme of Special Times, following on from a lively face-to-face meeting between fifteen members of the group.  I wish I’d been able to be there! Jolene said so many interesting stories were shared on the day, and people were so engrossed that it was hard to bring the meeting to an end. 

In this post, you can read Jean’s account of a very special story Esther shared with her about her son, his wife and their children.  You can see the art work Kathryn created after she and Anne were amazed to discover that they had lived in the exact same place in Crete at different points in time.  Finally, you can read Tony’s special memories of a happy “Blue-moon” day at Wembley stadium.    

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Clothes and fashion

Treasured memories came tumbling out of the wardrobes Jolene invited us to picture in our minds.  We shared stories of clothes worn on special occasions, in our school days, of clothes made for us with love, as rebellious teenagers, and more.  Some of us met online, some face to face a fortnight later, but we all enjoyed the rich theme (or should I say seam!) of the clothes we wore in the past and the lives we lived then. 

Here are a few of the stories and photographs some of us chose to write up afterwards. Coincidentally, the stories all have warm memories of our mothers stitched into them.

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Coincidences and Consequences

We had a choice of two themes for our meeting on 14th August, either “coincidences – truth can be stranger than fiction” or “unexpected happenings with good results”.    These led to a fascinating discussion of the strange experiences we’d all had in our lives.   Maybe the longer we live the more likely we are to gather such amazing stories.  Maybe like the dreams we don’t remember, there are many more coincidences we simply don’t notice.   Maybe it would be an even stranger world if coincidences or the unpredictable never happened.  It would certainly be a duller one! 

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Memorable books, film and art

In our minds’ eyes, Jolene asked us to picture ourselves in a place where we’d felt moved or inspired by a book, a film or a work of art.  It’s no surprise that afterwards we buzzed with things to say to each other on Zoom, on a topic which followed on so well from our previous meeting about great storytellers we had known. We all enjoyed recalling powerful emotional, visual and auditory responses to the creative works of others, and sharing our reactions to those books, films and paintings with each other.   Your comments are welcome too, after reading the reflections some of us have written after such a rewarding session.

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Spring and Easter

We had such a joyful time sharing our thoughts and memories about spring at our Zoom meeting on Easter Saturday morning.  We hope you enjoy seeing our photographs and reading our writing inspired by the session. If so, we’d love to read comments and reflections from you too.

I love the spring, the feelings and the memories it brings.  My partner and I have shared some wonderful early holidays in Crete, Cyprus and Spain: walking in places we’d find too hot later in the year, along coasts and on hillsides, seeing orchards of apple and almond trees in blossom and cyclamen growing wild. 

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About us

Jolene asked us to picture someone from our past, asking us about our lives since we last saw them, a long time ago.  What would we say to them?  In the break out rooms, she asked us to share our responses, and also to discuss what drew us to the Stories of our Lives group.  What do we gain from being part of it?  What do, or can, we give to others?  What do we want to say about ourselves in the “About us” section of our blog site?

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Silver linings

Was I deceived or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?


John Milton, Comus, 1634

Gently, Jolene posed a series of questions for us to consider privately, in silence, before we split into smaller groups to discuss our responses.

 “How are you being challenged or stretched by your current circumstances?  What moments of hope and joy do they nevertheless contain?  What silver linings can you see?  What about any past circumstances that you have been through? What silver linings were there? How can you bring self-compassion and kindness to your current experience of the challenges we collectively, and you individually, are facing?”

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