It is all so Natural

As a species we naturally evolve.  I am not the person I was yesterday, I am certainly not the same person I was a year ago.  Each day I grow – emotionally, mentally and physically. I learn from experience what hurts and what creates joy and apply that learning to either avoid getting hurt again or to experience more happiness.

Nature is natural. I feel more myself when I am immersed in nature. It is the sweeping of the wind through my hair, the flowers scent as I brush past my garden plants, bees pollenating in the tall grasses surrounding the field behind my house. It is beautiful watching other beings go about their business, it feels natural to observe and appreciate all that they provide me while doing their jobs.  Further evolution as my garden changes with each season and year, establishing itself more and more.

It is natural feeling protective of loved ones, friends and family alike. We each want the best for our children (or our pets), to protect them from harm and encourage all that is wonderful.  Natural to love them unconditionally even at times when you may not like them.

Natural movement of water, cascading down from the mountains into a babbling brook; down the crevasses towards a stream and flowing over rock beds and reeds into a river. The river collects its natural current, ebbing and flowing onward towards the open sea.  Each stage of that first drop of water naturally feeding habitats and wildlife until it reaches our homes and shores.  The stillness of a lake providing tranquillity and peace, also a natural pearl of life we enjoy.

Prompt provided by Daily Post: Natural

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What’s one piece of advice that you reference often in life?

What we think we manifest.

I have learnt this the hard way, making the same mistakes over and over again by continually thinking about what I don’t have and what I don’t want, instead of thinking about what I do have and what I do want. It could be a result from bouts of depression; I certainly notice my dominant thought patterns changing depending on my state of mind. When my mind is venturing towards dark places my thoughts are more often negative, focusing on worries and my ‘lack’.

It took me until I was in my 30’s to fully understand what psychologists meant when they would say that our thoughts determine our quality of life, not any external actions or factors. I came to a point where I thought to myself “what do I have to lose by trying this sceptical positive thinking rubbish? If it doesn’t work then I prove myself right, if it does work then my life could get better”.

My life got better. When I started to stress about paying a big bill I reminded myself that I have more savings than most people my age, I have enough money for what I need and I am thankful for the money I do have. Within two weeks I won in my union lottery, I received a tax return and I was offered overtime to earn some more money. As a thank you to those greater powers I made sure to give some of the extra money that I didn’t need to a charity.

Previously when I visited my nature reserve I got out of the car thinking “I bet I won’t be lucky and nothing will come out” and mostly I didn’t see anything. When I changed my thinking and got out of my car thinking “I wonder what special things I will see today”, I saw a barn owl hunting, warblers, a water vole, and a hare.

Now I believe all those marketing posts from the Secret, Purple Clover and Buddha Daily etc. that are all reminding me that what I think about most I will manifest. So if I want to have a happier lifestyle, lose my excess weight and attract wildlife into my daily wanderings then I need to keep my thoughts on attracting them.

I laughed to myself watching a television programme set in the early 1960’s when a family living in poverty were featured and the mother replied to her children who were complaining about not having something their friends have with “It’s not what we do not have, its being thankful for what we do have”, it’s the same advice but with that old style of stiff upper lip positivity. It also jolted memories of my Nan saying the same things when I was little and she took me shopping. Have we lost that appreciation focus that our parents and grandparents had now that our culture is generally more materialistic and immediate?

I chose to focus on what I have and want rather than dwell on my shortcomings. What we think we manifest.

Do you believe in god?

What a loaded question! I recall a time when I had recently moved to Suffolk from Devon in the process of making friends. I went to a house party of someone I had known for a few months and got on very well with, it was an opportunity to make new friends – friend of a friend style.

Near the end of this house party everyone was sat in the living room (not very drunk at all as it wasn’t that kind of summer house party) and one of her friends asked the group “does anyone hear believe in god?” now this person stated quite clearly that she did not and was an atheist. I replied that I didn’t feel that I believe in “God” but I do believe there is something bigger than us. Que a tirade of verbal diarrhoea suggesting I was an imbecile! Surely you cannot believe in something you cannot account for or see? By the end of the conversation I was left feeling stupid, ridiculed and frankly bullied for having a different opinion.

 Do you believe in god?

No.  I do not believe in a Christian God or a single God. I believe there are many. I believe in Goddesses and Gods. Having spent the last 15 months learning more about paganism, I understand and associate that there is a god or goddess for many different things. One for Nature, Night, Day, Sun, Darkness, Solstice, Festivals, Weather, Possessions, Abundance, Fertility, and many more. I think it is wonderful that there are celebrations throughout the year to pay gratitude toward each aspect of life around us and what we are blessed with.

Perhaps because I suffer with SAD that it is no great surprise that my favourite festivals are Beltane and Litha. But I also enjoy Samhain – the ritual of letting go of the past year and embracing what we have learnt from it and will take with us into the next year.  Also, a time to reflect on those who we have lost in the last year, and reflecting on the changes within ourselves. We also get to dress up too and I am rather partial to fancy-dress!

Describe a “perfect” day

I wake from a restful sleep in a bright room, a knock on the door rouses me further and a voice calmly calls “room service” and breakfast is brought in on a tray. A glorious spread of warm crossaint and melted butter, a glass of homemade granola with honey and greek yogurt, a tall glass of chilled fresh apple juice too.  It tastes exquisite, bursting with flavour

Slipping out from under the bed covers I take a hot shower in the spacious wet room that doubles as a steam room.  Making my way outside I grab a yoga mat and take a place on the lawn, stretching my body while gazing upon a vast countryside of yellow wheat fields, rolling green hills and tall oak trees lining the bridleway. The instructor is good looking, a cross between Henry Cavill’s bright eyes and broad smile with a slender body similar to Prince Harry!  He takes us through a series of yoga poses and finishes with a sun meditation. I sit still with my eyes closed feeling the warm sun upon my face and the smell of summer flowers filling my lungs and listening to the silence broken only by blackbirds in the hedge surrounding the gothic style fountain in the middle of the sweeping driveway.

I meet my friend Hayley for lunch in the village. The sun brighter and warmer as the day has passed, we sit outside by the river bank enjoying delicious pizza slices, olives, sizzling slices of BBQ pork and slender slices of chargrilled chicken.  Our meal is satisfying; it is hard to express just how much it is enjoyable, cooked to perfection and just the right warmth in every mouthful.  We talk for a couple of hours, catching up on the time spent apart, laughing over memories and new adventures. We grab our bicycles and ride through the surrounding country lanes, stopping to take a picture here and there.

Arriving back at the mansion I make my way to the retreat room. There is nobody else there so I take a seat in the suspended swing and read my book – it is a good book, one that fills me with inspiration and invokes my wandering spirit thirsty for travelling adventures and inner growth. It is nearly time to depart, so I stroll down to the thermal suite for one last round of steam, heat, ice and floating in small candlelit pools. I am chauffeured back home in a spacious town car, I stretch out on the back seat sipping crisp berry cider until I arrive home.

It is sunny here too, so when I leave the car I walk up the drive towards the back garden, I am greeted by Meg at the gate. She is pleased to see me and I her. I spend time fussing and stroking her before throwing down a blanket on the lawn and stretching out under the pear tree, Meg laid by my side, the sun sets over the rear of the garden and I watch the sky change from bright blue to yellows, pinks and orange.  The stars come out, the sky is clear, not a cloud is sight. Dad sets up the telescope on the decking and we gaze upwards for an hour, wrapped under my large smock and cosy fluffy slipper boots. It is difficult to want to go to bed, knowing that when I do this day will be over. But who is to say tomorrow won’t be just as special and sweet.

What’s one thing you quit that you want to pick back up?

This is a personal prompt today rather than a prompt to write from my imagination. So what is one thing I quit that I would like to take back up?  Dancing.

I loved to dance ever since I was little. I began ballet classes when I was three years old and then moved on to ballet and tap from five until I was about seven.  The class was cancelled but I still danced at home. In fact I used to dance so much that I went through two carpets in the conservatory before I was 14 leading my Dad to buy special flooring used in studios.  That particularly became useful when I had to rehearse routines for my dance GCSE exams.

After school my dancing took a back step. A knee injury meant I had to reduce what I was doing, then it became only for leisure that I would dance e.g. clubbing.  I haven’t danced properly for years – a sequence of steps that moves you around the room rather than jigging on one spot and only shaking your hips.

A friend reacquainted me with ‘real’ dancing last year by taking me to a ceroc class. I loved it but I was terrible! I was shocked by how much rhythm and movement I had lost – my head doing one thing and my feet doing something else and neither resembling the teachers examples.

Dancing is something I would love to take back up again – for pure joy purposes. Dance is a beautiful way to express yourself and shake ‘it’ off!

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.

Talk about something you miss

There is a place down in the south west of England. It holds many memories, some good and some not so good, but it is a place where a young girl learnt who to be. She learnt how to swim in the sea and body board there. She learnt the names of wild flowers and butterflies on its cliffs. She climbed various tors and explored bogs for treasures, fed wild ponies and listened to local ghost stories.  She learnt to drive on its country lanes and main roads, how to control the clutch and hill starts.  She learnt how to love and how to recover from a broken heart and disappointments.  There were kind people there who became friends for a time, there were also unkind people there who taught her how to be strong and self-reliant.

The town market place has a tall memorial at its heart, mounted at the top of three large steps decorated with plaques and miss-you messages. It is a single traffic system around its centre, there is an indoor market selling local produce and pet care and home entertainments. A tackle shop and a sports shop, several chic bistros and cafes dotted between, a listed cinema too.  The small town centre has a cluster of typical highstreet shops and another, smaller, memorial in the middle of a concord in dedication to the local air force.

Just on the edge of town is a hidden garden with a bandstand, couples frequently picnic there any dry day in the year. Sheltered from noise and passing traffic is has a small cottage by its entrance for the grounds keeper-turned-tourist office.

Just the other side is the beginning of the docks and boat slipways, sweeping the coastline for 6 miles up towards the imposing cliffs. The docks developed into its own little ghetto of wooden fronted apartments painted red, yellow, blue and green surrounding the marina of fancy sailing boats. A few fishery shops on its outskirts. When you walk away from the docks classic hotels and B&B’s line its roadway along with a few bars and a large outdoor adventure park.  She spent hours on weekends searching the rock pools for crabs and starfish with her Dad. The rocks coated in thick green algae and full of brown waxy seaweed.  The beach was sandy, tall dunes separated the main beach from the road topped with long spikey grass.

The cliffs were her favourite place of all, right at the end of the prom, separating her town from the next.  Red clay walls, bumpy and ridged going up many feet high. Often climbing them to the top and sitting a while looking over the estuary and sea to a town not too far away but by car a good 40 minutes.  On clear days she could watch the train pootling along the coastal line from her town to theirs.

This place is home (Exmouth, Devon).