18th March 2021

Dear Friends

On Wednesday we celebrated the feast of St Patrick. I’m grateful to Heather for forwarding me this piece written by Roy Lilley and I include it here. It’s been a difficult few months for all of us and sometimes we can’t always see the wood for the trees. Do spend some time meditating over this piece and when you have finished, give yourself a pat on the back. As Mr Grace was fond of saying -“You’ve all done very well!”

Take care of yourselves

God Bless 

Simon

Sláinte…
It’s St Patrick’s Day… lá maith a bheith agat.

As far as I can tell; a humble man, associated with more than a few legends. Did he drive the snakes out of Ireland? He claimed to have raised people from the dead. He prayed for food for the hungry and a herd of swine miraculously appeared.

Perhaps, the first ever example of fast-food and if Deliveroo were looking for a patron saint, they might have found one.

He used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Three people in one… three leaves on one stalk.

Patrick might have been in England, or maybe somewhere in Europe, but wherever he was, the story goes; he had a dream in which he was asked to ‘walk among the Irish’. 

Patrick was reluctant to respond to the call because of the shortcomings of his education. He wasn’t confident he could do it. It took him a while to decide. When he did go, even on the eve of his re-embarkation for Ireland he was ‘beset by doubts of his fitness for the task’. 

However, as Sunday school teachers will attest, once he got back to Ireland he found a new confidence, travelling far and wide baptising and confirming with ‘untiring zeal’. 

It wasn’t all plain sailing, he faced challenges and despite some rustic Latin, he wrote his Confessio and left us with a lot to think about.

Good enough reason, if reason is needed, to collect a few Zoom buddies and raise a glass or two… on Paddy’s night.

… and maybe have a think.

St Patrick might have been one of the first recorded examples of Imposter Syndrome… what happens when you have the internal belief that you’re not as competent as other people and not as good as other’s might think you are. Feeling like a phoney.

IS was first identified on the 70’s by psychologists Imes and Clance and initially applied to high performing women.

Self doubt, criticising your achievements, attributing success to luck, fearing you won’t live up to expectations, setting goals that are unachievable and in the worst cases, sabotaging your own success.

Covid, working at home, alone… constant anxiety, working all hours, missing colleagues has created space for self reflection and if we look at ourselves for long enough, we will find the doubts. Look at a beautiful spring daffodil closely enough and you will see a blemish, an imperfection, a flaw… yet it is still beautiful and unique. 

Five ideas to recharge Covid confidence.

Be good to yourself. One way or another, Covid will have taken its toll. It’s time to remember your achievements, what you are good at and what you like to do. Give yourself a pat on the back. Go online, spend a couple of quid on you.

Re-do you. We’ve had over a year of an artificial existence. Swinging from pressured and distracted to lonely and forgotten. Time to recalibrate. Write down three things you are going to do as soon as you can. Make a plan, stick it on the fridge door.

You’re not perfect and it’s OK. In the last year you will have done things, not done things, over-done things and under-done things. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is, you’ve done an awful lot. Everyone was learning how to live a different life. Move on.

What are you proud of? Make a list… you did this… be proud of it. Against the odds, the dog barking, home schooling, the babies that were fed, the deliveries that arrived in the middle, the wifi fizzling-out. The care home visits, the shopping, birthdays and Christmas. You soldiered on.

What made you happy? Find time to do more of it. Celebrate things that made you smile. Who were the people you relied on and the ones that made you laugh. They’re the ones to be with, first. Make a plan send it to them.

From time to time we all have a St Patrick moment. Covid may well have amplified it. You’ve come this far, now is not the time for self-doubt. You’ve proved you’re a winner.

Never before in our life times and for sure, never again. It’s unique, the experience is unique and you, uniquely, came through it because you are unique. 

If you are looking for a patron saint, you might have found one.

Sláinte