Havin’ a Laugh Coffee Morning

14/06/21 at 11am

Hello everyone. My name is Jessica. I am from Navan and this was my first time to join the Coffee Morning.

The Havin’ a Laugh charity was looking for a blog writer to encourage new people to join the coffee mornings, and also to fill regular members in on anything they might have missed at the gathering. I decided to volunteer as I love the charity’s ethos, and I needed something extra to do whilst developing my dissertation for my Masters in Creative Writing in Dublin City University.

COVID has changed a lot of lives for better or worse. For me, it has led me along a path I never knew I would take, and it allowed me to connect with you all.

COVID

COVID was a topic that inevitably came up at the Coffee Morning. Members talked about their vaccinations and how they felt afterwards. Some had common symptoms, some were glad they had symptoms so they felt their vaccine was doing something, while others, after receiving their second dose, experienced a different symptom altogether: Hope – hope that things will improve in their lives because of their vaccines.

Some of those attending are missing family members who are across the pond or close by but unreachable due to fears over the virus. Others were hopeful of a reunion post-vaccine. It was a lovely thing to see their hope. Hope is what the Havin’ a Laugh charity is set up to encourage. This made it even more special to see members looking off to the side as they spoke of a hoped for reunion. These reunions felt closer to them due to their vaccines and the easing of restrictions. Of course, there are still fears around the virus, and some are fed up, but it was lovely to focus on hope for a change.

COVID has taken over our lives in recent times but it is not the be all and end all, and it did not dominate the conversation, which included lots of great stuff.

Resilience

We had a discussion at the start about developing an inner resilience due to the struggles we face. I thought this was a lovely sentiment and something many people will find truth in. It can be hard to accept our struggles at times but they will make us stronger. I heard a lovely piece recently about how our wounds protect us, and I’d like to share it with you. When we hurt our body in any way, let’s say a broken ankle, we naturally protect that wound, as we want to avoid hurting it again. We might step more carefully, or, if we step funny, our old wound reminds us with a hint of pain to mind our ankle. The same goes for emotional or mental wounds. If someone has hurt us in the past, we will hold onto a little part of that trauma to avoid experiencing similar in the future. Some might say their wounds hold them back but with wounds and hurt comes resilience. Resilience isn’t just an ability to get through things, it’s an ability to look after ourselves and go easy on ourselves, too.

There is a perception that we have to be positive all the time, and sometimes people will say that we shouldn’t let anyone put us down. That is true. Yet positivity takes effort and you might have to work hard to achieve a positive attitude. Some days, we have to work harder at it than other times. Sometimes we have to feel hurt and annoyed, call a spade a spade, then try and get over it. As one member said, ‘Sometimes shit is the order of the day and it’s okay to feel this.’ Resilience can often be about accepting a feeling and either letting go of it or moving forward with it until you can let go.

Some members found that keeping busy was a great coping mechanism. Others said they can be positive during the day but then have a bad night where they are awake at 3 a.m. worrying. It’s important to remember that we’re all human and that resilience and positivity take work but are worth pursuing.

Other highlights

  • Dogs were also a huge part of the meeting. Everyone’s dog made an appearance and there were lots of smiles and laughs due to the presence of our furry friends.
  • Other members discussed diet for health benefits. A few talked about veganism, and another talked about intermittent fasting. There are great health benefits to both.
  • Another member talked about the concept of Crowd Farming. It seems like a marvelous idea, where you can buy a whole manner of treats direct from farmers far and wide, who ship their produce straight to your door.
  • One person talked about the joy of giving away some items in her home to family members. She said there were lots of benefits of clearing space for herself and it decluttered her mind a little, too.
  • Making things out of recycled goods was also discussed. One of the members has an amazing talent for this, which was a wonder to behold.
  • We also chatted about how clever fish are. Especially Japanese Carp.

The monthly coffee mornings are going to stay online for the next few months with the next live catch up happening on July 5th 11am.
Anyone is welcome to pop in say hello and listen or contribute to the conversation. Registration in advance to get an email zoom link on the morning.

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