I did the cluster writing exercise today which are aimed to give us an understanding and insight into current stresses. I ended up with quite a few circles stemming out of my chosen subject of “retirement”. I am 63 and was forced to take early retirement two years ago due to the severe RSI I was experiencing in both arms – which I now realise is TMS. It has been a very stressful period since leaving work as I was depending on having an income for at least another five years to gain some level of financial security after going through a traumatic divorce 10 years ago. After I finished drawing all my circles, I was just looking at them all and realised that there have been a lot of positives that have come out of this as well. So I got a different coloured pen and drew circles listing all the positive aspects for as many of the stresses as I could. For example, my great fear of financial insecurity has taught me to be a very good budgeter. I am much better at living on a lower income than I ever thought I would be and I still have a great time. Instead of going out to restaurants and cafes, I have friends over for coffee or meals – much more relaxed and enjoyable anyway. Instead of travelling to faraway places on holidays, I am spending much more time exploring the beautiful island wilderness in which I live – camping and bushwalking costs nothing! I also have time and energy to follow new passions, in particular newfound artistic activities and singing in a choir… never done that since school! Another of my current stresses associated with a sudden retirement was a loss of identity. But what this has given me the space to do, in particular through this TMS journey, is embark on an exciting journey of self discovery – in particular to begin to develop self compassion, and I now realise that my so-called professional “identity” was really just another mask...It wasn't who I really was at all. It was great to finish the exercise on such a wonderfully positive note – and I am very proud of having reached the end of my third week in this SEP program! Thank you everyone for all you have contributed to my journey– I get a great deal out of reading all of the posts and replies...It's so good to know that I am not alone.