Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Now I know it is universally acknowledged that unless you are a dreams councillor or far eastern biblical times Magi hearing about other people’s dreams is one of the most dull things ever. So writing a blog post about it would probably not be the best thing to attract hoards of grateful readers. Hmm. Please stay with me!

When I was a teenager I went through the whole star sign, dream interpretation phase (was that just me?!) mostly I think as an expression of my intense teenage absorption with myself. Oh weren’t they great years! I kept a dream diary by my bed which usually featured nothing more that barely legible scribbles about fairies and Tony Blair (I really don’t know why that man features so highly in my subconscious, worrying really).

I do have very vivid dreams and they very much reflect my emotional state. Does anyone else find that? I guess, psychologically speaking, that is what dreams are for. To process the things that you haven’t done in your waking hours. This can sometimes be quite distressing though, when you are worrying all day and then worrying in your sleep. Where is the rest in that?

So imagine my surprise when last night something else from my day wandered into my dreams! I’ve been doing yoga recently as a way to get fit but also to slow down and calm my mind with the hope of that opening up my ears to God a little better rather than always been in my own private world of flapping. I know there is some debate among Christians about yoga but I don’t consider it to be a religious thing unless you make it to be. There is a wide body of literature on this that I can point you to if you’re interested.

What did really surprise me is that as well as feeling calmer in the days I’m even calmer in my dreams! Last night I had my usual range of mad, full on dream adventures but I was totally different in them, relaxed and just batting all the negativity away. And I woke up feeling calm, refreshed and ready for the day. I’m just amazed that what is such a small thing really can change my stress levels so much as to affect my sleep! Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this?

Monday, 11 April 2011

A day out to remember

Working in a church can sometimes provide an opportunity to do some very interesting things, when you’re not knee deep in notice sheets that is. I am starting to hate notice sheets with a level of intensity I never though possible. It’s quite remarkable. But anyway - I digress…..

Sometimes working in a church can be very interesting indeed for the range of people you encounter, and if you take the bull by the horns, the number of different people you can get to know. I have recently taken to inviting myself out to shadow people in the church whose work I find interesting, partly to escape from notice sheets and partly to see what makes these people tick. So today I spent the morning with the Minister for the Homeless in Oxford, who also happens to be an Associate Priest at the church I work at.

It was a great and eye opening morning as we trudged around the back streets of Oxford’s city centre meeting people, hearing their stories and seeing how among this city of prosperity and promise there can be such crippling poverty.  And frighteningly, it looks like we will have a lot more of this to deal with over the coming years as the cuts hit the poor hard. One of the strangest sights was a homeless drop in centre opposite the Oxford Students Union. I wonder if these future Prime Ministers look across the road and see the other end of society and what they think? And if they remember them when they get to the top?

I’m a strong believer in doing what you feel called to do, and if we all did that then the world would be a better place.  It is great to spend time with someone who is doing that, they have a certain peace about them no matter how hard the work. The mark of being in your calling seems to be that the person truly loves what they are doing even though to someone else (i.e. me!) it seems like the hardest thing in the world.  I also think that just because we don’t fell called to work with a particular sector of society it doesn’t mean we can ignore them. It was good to learn the Big Issue seller’s name and to know what our council does and doesn’t offer for the homeless in our city. It just feels like a more humane way to be. 

Meanwhile I feel even more encouraged to pursue the things that make me tick and that, as I suspected, there is indeed more to life than notice sheets.