It’s funny. I love the song Mr. Blue Sky, yet, when a couple of years ago I used to play it or any of the songs on the ELO’s Best Of album in my car, there was something about it, not sure whether the pitch, the tone or maybe Jeff Lynne’s voice – that drove my son crazy and he would insist I turn it off.
That is not to say my son doesn’t like blue skies; he is as much a lover of sunshine and cloudlessness as me, yet, there was something about the music.
For the past six months, or so – the chronology of events since 2019 has been hazy, I have used when meeting people either on Zoom or Teams a self-made backdrop of blue skies with white fluffy clouds.
It only became apparent to me this week that they had any significance beyond helping to cheer me up during the recent dark times.
This week I met with some of the team; we were discussing ideas for how we could improve the way care is delivered to our patients.
Before I took my recent holiday (two weeks with close-to-home trips to Lincolnshire and the Peak District) I wrote two ‘papers’ which discussed some ideas of how we might work differently.
I have put ‘papers’ in inverted commas, as it took me ages to come to terms with the use of this word in relation to something I had written. You see, in NHS management, when you write something on a document and particularly if you submit it for use in a meeting, your blurb becomes ‘papers’ – ‘I have submitted a paper to the recent…’ kind of thing.
I always used to regard a ‘paper’ as something published in a journal, for example, ‘He wrote an important paper on the association between smoking and…’
Anyway, I wrote two papers.
One focused on how we might improve the support for people living with frailty in Rotherham, considering strategies to slow decline and optimise health and wellbeing and, the other, on how we might care for those people who are frail who have episodes of ill health (essentially doing all we can to keep people well and keep them out of hospital).
Anyway, it was at this recent meeting that Rachel one of my team referred to the document as being blue sky.
What followed was a sudden linkage with the reality of what I had written, which was in essence ideas sans numbers – cost, time scales, that kind of thing and my background.
What became even funnier was the background I occasionally use of a photo I took in the winter of a cob-web.
It transpired that those seeing me highlighted in this way took my background as a kind of message… Rod’s in a cob-webby place today.
When I think about all of this, when I consider who I am, what I like, what makes me happy, that kind of thing, it is the blue sky space. (‘space’ in an architectural, meta-artistic sense).
And, funnily, this links directly with the purpose of this blog, you see, the almond and emotion, this is the part of the brain, the amygdala, shaped like an almond which is the source of our emotional response to the outside world, also the gateway to creativity.
In situations of chronic stress or abuse, we bed-down, we shrink from the light and seek strategies for coping and survival, we think small, we dodge scrutiny, like prey animals, cowering mice sticking to the shadows.
When we feel safe, we can lounge, we can say silly things, we can risk being misunderstood or misperceived, we can experiment, dally, mess about, allow serendipity to intercede.
This is the blue-sky.
How I love the blue sky.
I am a blue sky guy.
To me the blue skies are where we are alive.
This is living.
This is out of the facemasks, the quarantine, the fear, away from the hypercritical, it is a good place, it is fun, happiness, where you might enjoy a little ELO, if you are not my son.
**Anyone interesed in reading these papers, I am planning to send them out next week.
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