Describe your school experience…

Orcombe Point.jpgSkipping rope, eggs, whoopy cushions, scratches, air ambulance.

When I was six years old I was playing with a boy at school and he thought it would be fun to put a skipping rope around my throat and squeeze the ends together until I turned blue.  When I was eight years old another two boys together at school, thought it would be hilarious to swing and throw the handles of the rope at my head, collecting points for how many times they could hit my face. Bonus points when they gave me a nose bleed.

Fourteen years and being pelted with eggs as I walked home from school.  Fifteen years old and the same five girls pelted me with eggs at lunch time because I was sharing a joke with a group of boys.

Years 3 to 6 (Primary school), anyone from the year group screaming ‘here comes whoopy cushion’ whenever I walked past because one teacher mis-pronounced by surname Cosham as Cushion. When that wore thin they changed it to flea bag.

Throughout school, being pinched or scratched by five girls for numerous reasons – I had a nice dress, I had a nice haircut, I got a new pair of shoes, I liked the same band as them, I gave the right answers in class, I was praised by a teacher, I had a boyfriend.

Fifteen years old I was pushed down a steep grass bank on the way to class, consequently dislocating my knee and pelvis. I had to be air lifted to hospital because land ambulance couldn’t get to the field I fell into.  It was just before half term holiday so when I came back to school, several were disappointed that I was not indeed paralysed as per the rumours!

Dance, caramel doughnuts, Prom, Mark, Bubbles…

Having taken dance classes since I was three years old it was no surprise to my parents when I took dance as a GCSE option.  Our Dance teacher Mr Burton was terrific, and encouraging that dance was an outlet for me to express myself when I couldn’t put into words how I felt throughout my time at school.  I was a rare student given a key to the Dance Studio to use at lunch times when I needed to escape or revise for my other exams.

There was a bakery near school that made delicious caramel topped, custard filled doughnuts. These were a particular addiction acquired between Dance exam rehearsals. I still remember how good they tasted and I haven’t found anything close to resembling that recipe.

Mark was the school caretaker, he was kind and funny. My mum worked at my school and introduced us when I had to wait for her to finish work some time. It transpired that my Mum occasionally confided in him what I was facing at school, so when my Mum was not working (she was part time) Mark would let me escape to his office when I needed space to breath. He also had sweets in his pocket that I would sometimes get passed when seeing him between classes. I always appreciated having someone on my side who couldn’t be manipulated by those girls.

Bubbles was a technique I was taught by the school support officer. For a couple of years this technique worked well – whenever abuse was being shouted at me either in class or between classes, I imagined being inside a large thick bubble. It was soundproofed and anything negative would bounce off its side, everything positive would come through the thick walls with a pop.  I successfully used a bubble to blank out any abuse, I still have selective hearing now because I learnt how to shut out all external noise – when I needed to.  It drove those girls nuts that I could ignore them, appear like they hadn’t even spoken, out of frustration that they could no longer push my buttons they turned on my Mum – egging her car or shouting abuse at her as they passed her office.  Unfortunately anybody threatening my parents immediately gets a rise out of me and my reaction tends to be out of control!

Prom, or rather our GCSE Soiree, was a good night. I didn’t have a date and I felt good about it, I went with two friends instead. I had found a nice dress – plain cut and metallic purple. When I arrived several of my male friends were impressed and finally, when those girls made a beeline for me, the boys surrounded me and told them to back off. I had someone to dance with all night and I managed to thank my teachers who were there who had supported me through my darkest days – providing me a way to express myself or some form of respite to escape bullying.  I will always be grateful for what they taught me.

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The sum of 5 people

It has been said that you are the sum of the 5 people you are around the most.  Who are those 5 people for you?

M: A determined individual who sets a positive example. Teaching daily about how to be the best version of yourself and leading by example. Keen reader and puzzle solver. Quite a methodical approach to things, speaks her mind with a fearless attitude.

D: Practical and visual approaches to solving problems. Quiet most the time but always thinking and observing those around them. Creative person working with their hands to craft various things from wood, fixing things and making new things from scraps. Sets the example of how to be strong minded and use of willpower.

L: Teacher of the old ways, supportive to help find an individual’s path. Fountain of knowledge and folklore. Creative themselves and encourages creativity in others to craft tools and aids. Honest and frank

T: Shared love of creatures and wildness. Full of vitality and groundedness they set the example of what to aspire towards while growing older – not disgracefully but with enthusiasm and spirit. Laugh every day and see the joy in little things when big things may not happen.

Tribe: More than only one individual Tribe consists of 7 people that include aforementioned L, T and D. Tribe is a safe place to be completely honest and open, Tribe teaches how to be natural, living with gratitude and care for others including non-human such as animals, plants and elements. Tribe lights the path leading to the person I want to be when I grow up. Supporting, advising, helping, creating all together and manifesting all that is good and healthy.

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No music was sweeter to my ears…

Waking in the morning to the song of blackbirds outside the bedroom window, it is time to rise. Pulling on a tracksuit and trainers, grabbing a bottle of water and the dog lead it is time to pound the paths.  Opening the door the sun shines brightly and the song of blackbirds and now starlings compel you out of the door.  There is no need for ear phones and pop songs, at this time of the morning just after sunrise there are no crass noise of car engines or children; just sleepy bedroom windows, you and the birds.

Jogging through the meadow to the opposite spiral of houses the birds pass on their calls to the next tree and the next. At the halfway point you stop and rest, stretching out on the ground amongst the tall grasses. Meditating with closed eyes all of natures sounds become amplified.  Buzzing bees, shushing grass and trees, birds and the sound of your own steady breath next to your companions.

Continuing to job the rest of the way back home other homes begin to stir, the occasional car starts and begins its journey, the pure sounds of life around you begin to fade into the background now. No music is sweeter than that of life and its ebbing and flowing nature.

Describe what home is…

Home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. An institution for people needing professional care. Returning to a common place by instinct to nest and procreate.

But we are emotional creatures so the definition of home is so much more.  For some, home is a place to find family and comfort; or a car that resembles big family decisions, holidays and life experiences that provide that home like attachment.

Home can be the sensation of peace, a place for contemplation and calm, rainy days spent reading in a nook, or the feeling of relief when you climb under the duvet.

Home is more than a building; it can be a boat or a caravan too. Home, by emotional or sentimental definition is the place where you feel the most like yourself. A place of sanctuary away from the stresses and pressures of ‘life’ outside.

Home is where I can find my family, my dogs, my books, my crystals, my memories, and the place where I can take off my bra as soon as I get through the door and crawl into my most dishevelled clothes without feeling judged or having to keep up appearances. It is my retreat, wherever it may be at any given time.

Would you ever want to be famous?

“Seek to be worth knowing rather than be well known”

At some point while growing up it is pretty reliable that all children dream of being famous for something – a footballer, an athlete, a singer, a performer, a designer, an inventor etc.  I had my eyes set on the stage but when it came down to it stage fright won every time. I grew up, dreams changed, ambition for stardom faded and a desire to be remembered by friends took that dream’s place.

Now I desire to be worth knowing, and decided what I want to be known for is generosity and helpfulness.  I aspire to be a person friends feel comfortable talking to when they need some support. I aspire to spread kindness around my town by leaving post-it notes in shops and books (#secretnotes). I aspire to be mindful of all being around me and help preserve open spaces and community spirit.

Fame in the 21st Century is awash with reality celebrities, there are very few truly ‘famous’ people around (those renowned for something admirable that is). Celebrity is flippant and shallow and I have never dreamed of being a celebrity of any sort. The phrase ‘legend’ is churned out far too easily (and I feel incorrectly), a person becomes legendary once they have died and typically a person who achieved something remarkable and extraordinary such as Albert Einstein and Marie Curie.  Now Pete ordering and finishing a ‘cheeky Nandos’ is a ‘Legend’!  umm, no, no he isn’t.

What is the price of fame?

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

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.