The Great Wall Collapse happened at the end of 2012. The beginning of the year has been an eventful time for me and my husband. Many communities in the UK have had to cope with flooding, landslips and other aspects due to the constant wet weather. These weather conditions have affected us due to the fact that our neighbour’s garden fell into our spring fed pond. Luckily no human or animal was hurt when the fifteen-foot high by fifty-foot long ancient stone wall collapsed and brought most of the garden down with it.
It has certainly been challenging to keep the situation in perspective. I feel so sorry for my neighbour as two thirds of her garden is sitting in our pond. Three days after this happened the wall on our side of the water then collapsed into the pond. The garden looks a complete mess and we have had to move the chicken’s home and be very careful where we walk.
It has certainly made me aware of how much tranquillity and peace I find in our garden especially by the pond. I can have had a stressful day or not feel well and when I walk out into the garden look around and watch the ducks in the pond immediately I feel a sense of peace. Now every time I come home or look out of the window I am reminded of the mess in the garden. I have had to rely on other things to help me find peace calm and stability such as walking the dogs, meditation and listening to music.
It is all too easy to give into the frustration and stress at the lack of action to get things moving. I am a person who likes to get on with things and would love to get in the pond to rescue some of my neighbour’s garden. However it is not safe due to the two protected yew trees that are unsafe as well as the risk of further landslips. I have felt myself at times wanting to shout and scream to get things moving. I am certainly having to manage my impatience and watch the “how dare they” , “they have to”, and “they should” when I am talking.
Our neighbour and ourselves have found that we are in this loop of bureaucracy trying to deal with the district and county council as we live in a conservation area. Anyone who you contact seems to want to pass the buck and finally after a lot of stress and frustration you are lucky if you get to the right person. Dealing with the insurance companies has been no different reading the small print and trying to get people out to assess the situation has been exasperating. Our Local MP Tessa Munt has been supportive and came and visited the garden.
So how do you stay calm when you face a stressful event or situation?
- Try and keep things in perspective not easy but it does help – I remind myself that the two houses are still sound and safe, no one was hurt, even the ducks in the pond escaped any injury. It does look a mess however it could have been worse.
- Watch the language you use to describe things. Say things like – It is sad, it is a mess, it is frustrating but avoid saying that it is not a disaster. The language that you use to describe the situation can up anxiety and stress levels. If you find yourself using should or must remember it can have an affect on you use prefer or rather instead. If you fall into the why me and poor me again it can drag you down. Every so often take a step back and take a breath it does help.
- Be aware of how an incident/event can impact on your peace and inner calm. If you have had a bit of a shock or been very upset it will unbalance you for a while. It is important to take this into account so you will need to find ways to find your inner calm. It is important to have a catalogue of different things that you can draw on that help you to feel calm and peaceful.
- Take care not to overburden yourself. It is easy to fall into negative thinking and let things get you down so things don’t get done. In our situation just trying to factor in phone calls and people who need to visit the property has taken a great deal of time. So be realistic about what you can achieve, especially when your nerves are jangling and your stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual.
- Look at your support network, who can help and give good advice. It is amazing how many people you know who have skills, experience and knowledge.
And finally take care of yourselves and remember to breathe, stay in the moment, keep things in perspective and be realistic.