Elephants and other thoughts…

As a new bride in the 1970’s, I lived and worked in Tanzania for three years and Maurice and I loved to pack our two-man tent, fill our basket with fruit and vegetables from the market (we had nothing as sophisticated as a refrigerated cool box in those days) and go on safari in our free time. Elephants are my favourite animal. Sitting safely in our vehicle, we watched them for hours. They are beautiful creatures and poachers should be hung, drawn and quartered for butchering them. We returned to Africa after a thirty-seven-year absence and here are a couple of our photos.

Apparently, elephants have amazing memories. I was going to write next “a funny thing happened to me last Saturday”, except it wasn’t funny. To keep it short, I ended up in Accident and Emergency at our local hospital. A stroke or a tumour was suspected as I had completely lost my recent memory. I knew who I was but couldn’t remember Easter, my birthday the previous week, what year we were in, who was the Prime Minister – and other basic facts. After an emergency scan revealed nothing untoward was happening in my brain (make as many jokes as you like) – my memory slowly returned and “normal life” resumed.
BUT, it was scary for everybody and a bit of a wake-up call. It might never recur and explanations for the cause are guesses, according to medical experts. One of the possible reasons for “transient, global amnesia” is stress. Now, I consider my life to be pretty wonderful. When I see film clips of war-torn countries, I wonder how people can survive such emotional terror. This winter, however, has been more difficult than most and my head is always bursting with thoughts, ideas, solutions and maybe my brain is trying to tell me to slow down…to simplify, justify, rationalise; less is more – that old mantra. for calm blog

      This year has seen a huge increase in the time I spend on social media and I find the technical and business side of writing particularly challenging. It also decreases the time I like to spend on writing and, at times, I feel the fun has gone out of the experience. How do other writers cope with this balance? Can we share strategies, please?
Until I had my shoulder operation this winter I regularly played tennis and that was a great antidote to busy thoughts. If I go on a walk (which I love), I find I am still thrashing out story ideas and plots in my head… dancing round the kitchen sometimes helps, but – I do tend to burn food in the process.
I am really curious to hear what other people do to achieve calm and peace of mind. Let me know and we can share ideas. (P.S. I do believe in prayer).
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” (Dan Millman).

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About Angela Petch

Bit of a story dreamer, written two novels - a third in progress. I love my little family and in no particular order afterwards: Italian culture, food, wine, walking everywhere I can and especially in the Apennines, East Africa, tennis when I can, reading, reading and more reading. So much to discover still before I die.
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7 Responses to Elephants and other thoughts…

  1. Jena Henry says:

    I will pray for you sometimes, that’s the best thing to do for a period of time, isn’t it? To regain your sense of calm and purpose. As far as how to handle the writing and marketing life- we could talk about that forever! I would suggest setting goals and prioritizing- maybe you want to focus on some areas such as your blog, maybe you want to pay for services, maybe you want to take time out from social media to write and then focus on social media. I spent more time on social media last year and this year I’m writing again. Take care of yourself and enjoy your family! We can continue this conversation any time you would like. All the best to you!

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    • Angela Petch says:

      You are so kind, Jena. I love this reaching out aspect of social media best! It’s all the seo, metadata, clever stuff that gets me in a spin. I am listening to my body, however. It has to be fun too – it’s a hobby in the end. I’m fortunate not to have to rely on it for a living. (Not living in a garret!) Enjoy your weekend.

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  2. Angela Petch says:

    Finding the balance is important…we’re not machines, are we? Just don’t try to swim against the tide. Ha ha! Good title for a short story, Jessie. Happy Friday. x

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  3. Clare Brassington says:

    Try reading “Mindfulness: how to find peacecin a franticcworld” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman complete with CD for stress reducingcexercises

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  4. jessiecahalin says:

    Forgot to mention, I love the title of this post.

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  5. jessiecahalin says:

    So sorry to hear about your terrible experience! It sounds as if your body was telling you to slow down.
    I have become too absorbed in social media and also suffer from ideas buzzing around. Your post is the perfect wake up call for me. It is time for me get back to my daily swim. The local leisure club declined and I neglected to find another.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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