In a year where do you want to be?

Today my email prompt asked me

In a year where do you want to be?

This time next year I am Project Manager extraordinare delivering fine heritage projects across Great Yarmouth. The car mostly sits at home in its cosy private parking spot, enjoyed at weekends (it has been a long time since driving has been ‘enjoyed’ and now it is each time the engine starts). The bicycle is now the main mode of transport to and from work. My legs are slimmer and my stamina tenfold increased. This new beginning lark has been amazing.

Meanwhile, my studies have progressed. I completed that online course I started a year ago and passed it with flying colours. Knowing the basics of mindfulness and CBT served me well when I started the NLP certification course the other month. This education is fascinating and I’m meeting lots of new lovely people who want to help others too.

Holistic Therapist is fast becoming a reality, all I need is to complete this course and find one on Indian Head Massage and I can set myself up in business.

My pathwork has taken me to places I did not imagine. Personal growth has flourished and my past is now firmly behind me and appreciating the present is a reality. My next stop is a visit to Glastonbury to experience a pagan festival.

This place I will be in a years’ time excites me. Fills me with hope, ambition and motivation. Finding my potential and truly living a genuine existence has been (or will be if we are now back in present time) liberating.

Lao Tzu: Patience for clear water

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A walking contradiction

Open the heart

Please excuse me as today this note will be more personal than philosophical or poetic.

Most of the time I like routine, but sometimes when I am bored of routine I crave adventure and when adventure becomes overwhelming I crave routine.  Probably like most women (or people) I am a walking contradiction most of the time.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Simple Kind of Life’ by No Doubt.  I seem to resonate with the sentiment.

The simple kind of life – but what is that really like? What is simplicity to me is not to my neighbour and vice versa.

Simplicity to me is waking when I am ready to wake. Walking my dog and sitting still for an hour before I do anything.  Simply reading a book brings me pleasure, as does watching a boxset I enjoy.  Simply making decisions that only affect me and not giving a damn whether it pleases anybody else.  Simply cooking a straight forward meal with no bizarre ingredients and too many steps but tastes delicious, that is a something I would enjoy – not thinking about whether what I am eating will harm me later.

Simplicity to me can be routine, something familiar and generic.

I am guilty of being an over-thinker, an analyser and fixator.  The mind is what makes things so complicated, so un-simplistic, because it needs to be working all the time. Because the mind is clever at keeping itself occupied.  But the mind should not rule and that is a lesson I am slowly learning.

Learning to focus purely on the NOW, not what is coming next or should be next or what I would like to say if I wasn’t so afraid.  Not what is past and how stupid I may have been or wishing what cannot be changed could be.  The NOW. It is frightening to the mind because it resets it.  The NOW is peaceful and ultimately simplistic.  In the NOW there are no problems, challenges, stress, anxiety or fear. The NOW simply IS.

What is simplicity to you?

A time spent within clouds

I have long envied my Dad and my Aunt, when they recount their youth I feel that mine is nothing to write home about. I haven’t had many adventures in comparison, I am not a daredevil, and my dramatic side fixes on a movie quote “A life lived in fear is a life half lived” and I think a lot about the opportunities I have turned down out of fear.

Then I shake myself and realise that I have done things that others maybe wouldn’t. For example moving 300 miles away from home at 20 completely on my own to a place where I didn’t know anybody. The countries I have visited and explored (albeit with my parents, but still…. I have ventured).

But this time I have done something that my Dad hasn’t and is jealous of. While on holiday with said Aunt, I went parasailing.  I was nervous as hell and almost bottled it twice, but after a phone call to my Dad and encouragement from my Aunt I paid the man and got on his boat and into the harness.

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It is difficult to describe the level of enjoyment I experienced, but I will try. I had envisioned being strapped to the parachute and being flung up into the air with a huge amount of G-force pulling me backward until I was dragged behind the boat.  How far wrong could I have been!

I sat on the back of the boat, attached to the parachute there was a tug but I didn’t move, then the man released the winch and I gently rose up off the boat and out over the sea. It really was gentle and completely undramatic.

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Once up there with the clouds I settled into the harness; my bum and gravity teamed up at one point but after a slight shuffle it was quite comfortable suspended there above everything.

Although windy on the boat it was a breeze up there, the sky was so clear apart from the odd puff of cloud floating past. You are aware that you are incredibly high up but at the same time because the sea is so blue beneath your feet, looking down it didn’t feel that high at all.

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I waved to the people on jet skis going beneath me, they waved back (or first); a few people on another passing boat waved and I took a picture. The coastline was incredible, so densely populated.  The mountains in the distance were obscured most of the time by clouds but every now and then they parted to a wonderful clear view of them towering over the city.

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It was incredibly peaceful up there. No drama unfolding, no noise oddly except the whooshing of the chute as the boat changed direction. Time stood still you just couldn’t comprehend how long you were there floating above everything. I was gently winched back in and the boat took us back to the dock, it was over.

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What I learnt that day up in the clouds is to not let my perceived fear hold me back from doing things that have the potential to bring a lot of joy. Keep fear in check and context. Live.

Poetry and stories

 

Nothing else does quite as much for most people, not even the other arts. We are a wordy species. Words are the wings both intellect and imagination fly on. Music, dance, visual arts, crafts of all kinds, all are central to human development and well-being, and no art or skill is ever useless learning; but to train the mind to take off from immediate reality and return to it with new understanding and new strength, nothing quite equals poem and story

Ursula K. Le Guin

It is difficult to put into words ‘inspiration’, but this quote jumped out of me from a blog post talking about the importance of imagination in her book Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s Week. It inspired me to keep reading and writing and being imaginative. I instantly experienced flashbacks of being read to as a child and my Dad doing all the voices for different characters. My imagination is now important to me as a means of meditation and reflection.

I love this statement.

 

Write down three things you are grateful for

  • Wildlife
  • Family
  • Friendships

Wildlife

Being outdoors in nature is where I belong. Soft grass beneath my feet damp from the morning dew, the wild flowers flowing in the breeze and bee buzzing around them pollinating as they go. Wild animals poking the heads out of dens or burrows. Birdsong overhead from dusk til dawn. Trees standing high above us, giving us cleaner air to breath and fruits to eat.  Bats flying at dusk swirling the eco-energy around us and clearing up the midges. Owls out hunting and hooting from their guard.  Living wildly and freely is where I feel most natural and calm.

Family

Family are imperative, they are my rock bed of support and encouragement, giving it to me frankly and honestly. More than my parents my family are special. I do not get on with some of them and occasionally it is a blessing I live far enough away not to worry about them or what they are doing. But others who I do get along with, it is special spending time with them. Talking about anything and everything, shopping with them, sharing a meal with them or afternoon tea.  Growing up away from them meant the time spent with them was all the more enjoyable and special.

Friendships

Friendships come and go, I don’t have any friends I grew up with or went to school with. I have friends in chapters of my life but each friendship has been important and valued.  Some have lasted years now and it remains precious to have them to talk to.  Forming a group of common friends feels like being part of a tribe – those one my wavelength who just understand what I’m going through and where I want to go as they are either travelling with me or guiding me through life. A tribe to make noise with (we have drums!) and chant with and laugh with (we certainly do laugh a lot). The best thing about friendships is that age is never a barrier to form an understanding and bond.

What are 3 things you’re grateful for today?

When I began lent this year I agreed with myself to give up one habit that needs breaking and take up a new positive habit in its place. The positive habit I chose is to record 10 things every day on a post-it note what I am grateful for. My top 3 things today:

  1. Waking up to Meg snuggled up against me so I was warm. She enjoyed the tummy rub
  2. Music. My day does not start without music on my way to work. Today it was a beautiful piano concerto followed by an thought provoking cello solo.
  3. Sunrises. With the frost hanging low over the fields the mist rising slowly from the ground, the pink and yellow haze of sunrise cast a beautiful, almost unreal, land before me. With the music playing over the scene it was as if Angels were lighting the path of my journey to work.

What’s a belief you once held that’s changed over time?

In childhood traditional Church of England encompassed it. Sunday service was a time spent with grandparents and family, reciting psalms as poetry and signing to the hearts contentment. As time went past, cherished loved ones passed and traditions faded. The songs felt limp and no longer burst from the breast. Wars continued, based on religious facades, and Christianity grew tiresome.

Slowly a belief whispered. It did not knock loudly, it did not demand attention. It did not creep either. It was always there, quietly in the background, waiting patiently. As time rolled by understanding grew. Childhood silliness replaced by everyday appreciation of what it all means, what it symbolises, how it makes absolute sense. Everyday thankfulness for being alive and acknowledging what is present in life rather than what is missing has built a great spirituality within. Using the fruits of nature to remain healthy and to cleanse has become common place; using divination to bring into being what is desired has become routine; meditation and reflection has erased fear, stress and anxiety. Peacefulness is felt within instead of being longed for. Judgement no longer exists, respect for everyone and their individual paths prevails. Poetry is amplified from every living thing, every time a door is opened and a step taken outside.

I am Pagan, hear me roar!