Do you need to eat an orange? Or do you need a good cry? ( or both, as I did today?)

On becoming unstuck

I realised this morning that I have been feeling stuck. Stuck health wise, not recovering to full health just as quickly as I expected to, stuck creatively, ideas and words not flowing, trying to create an online course and losing momentum….

 Stuck in the mud, walking through mud stuck, each step a reluctant one, a really can’t be bothered stuck, a ‘do I hufftae ‘ stuck , a maybe-I -will -just -take- a -nap -instead ,and oh well,I will have another slice of toast with peanut butter, then maybe toast and honey.. 

If I had any wine I would no doubt have tried that too. I did find a bag of cheese and onion crisps and some really quite stale marmite rice cakes, at the back of the cupboard, did I eat them? you bet I did! Did I enjoy them, nope ..

And, there is nothing wrong with all of this, nothing at all , but today, I realised that the ‘ problem ‘ is simply that I needed to cry , I needed a really good releasing howl , and to heck with what the neighbours might think!

And then, I realised that not crying, or not realising I needed to, is what was keeping me stuck, and what kept me awake for most of last night. Accumulated fear, sadness, and anger swirling around.

The trigger for the tears? A video of my kitty cat Socks from 2 years ago, I heard her miaow, and that was it, I was sobbing. And when I finished crying and had a shower I went to the kitchen and realised I have been stuffing down my emotions with toast. A quick fix, not even a fix, more a numbing ..

❤️Socksy❤️

And so, I began to prepare meals with the food I have sitting there, I started with making fruit salad, chopped up a grapefruit and peeled an orange, and oh! The aroma of that orange! I popped each segment straight in my mouth and savoured the juice as it ran down my chin, why had I not fed myself this pleasure, this nourishment?

Orange Grapefruit Blueberry Plum fruit salad #sogood

I continued making a huge mixed fruit salad. I peered in the fridge and found and prepared broccoli, tomatoes, leeks, potatoes, and later I will make soup.

As soon as I began to take steps towards feeling better, I began to feel better, I felt lighter, brighter and more positive. 

We usually do know what we need, and sometimes we don’t realise, or refuse to listen to that little inner wise voice, until we do, until we are ready. And then we can begin. So now, I am taking my own advice, and topping up my nourishment with the medicine I already had in the fridge. 

Not saying I will never eat peanut butter on toast again, but I know that too much of this makes me sluggish and heavy, and, the rainbow of fruit and veg, pleasing all my senses, has me feeling so much more ALIVE today. Truly a case of healer, heal thyself 🌟

Just for today, I am unstuck enough to resume writing this blog, which I have wanted to do for quite some time, so three cheers for me. Hurray 😊

( p.s. Once I’d written this blog a little bell rang and I looked back over previous blogs to find a similar one from May 2019 , called Mary, heal thyself ! One of these days I truly will take my own advice 😊)

Soulmidwifebythesea

img_3436-1

View across the Clyde from Innellan

Today I am launching a new IG account: soulmidwifebythesea.

I have begun training as a Soul Midwife , studying via a distance learning course, with Felicity Warner at www. soulmidwives.co.uk.

I am initially approaching this as personal development for myself, as I recognised I almost had a fear of death, certainly a discomfort, a turning away from it, and certainly didn’t feel comfortable discussing it in any great depth. I remember many years ago, my mother starting to read more about death when she lost her mother and brother, and at the time I felt it was a strange fascination.

Sorry Mum, I totally understand now .

A couple of months in, I already find myself much more at ease with the idea of turning towards death, accepting that we are all going to lose someone and we are all going to die ourselves, why not choose our experience as far as possible? We create a birth plan, why not think about and consider how we might choose our death , our surroundings, with music? soft lights ?company, or not? sacred oils ? a favourite blanket ? while aiming to make this the most comfortable and peaceful experience we can.

I am learning about grief, and living with loss and how of course, life goes on around us as we grieve.  Recently I lost my friend Val. In her last week I was able to share with her that I have embarked on this training. Her response was that it is ‘a very useful skill to have’.  I think so too.

I also have a dream to be living by the sea within the next two to five years , and so I have combined the two to create this account, and who knows, sometimes dreams come true ❤

I plan to share here about my learning journey, what I am learning about myself and eventually how I may help others.

In time I hope to hold Retreat Days and Gatherings at my home, where we can discuss and explore not only what makes a Good Life, but also what we need to experience a Good Death.

Thanks for reading along and if you would like to know more, come find me @soulmidwifebythesea.

‘ For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one ‘ – On Death, Kahil Gibran ( The Prophet)

 

 

Mary, heal thyself!

Today I have given myself a shake and decided to show up for myself and my own health and vitality, in a new and improved way 🙂

Over the last few days, and quite often of late, I have had a sore throat develop into a bad cold, accompanied by a huge weariness.  I was recently diagnosed with iron deficiency and am to take 3 iron tablets a day for the foreseeable future ,and I know I have probably remembered to take the tablet only once a day.

I have rested over the weekend , slept alot and watched the clouds and listened to the rain. I was due to visit my 86 year old godmother in Oban and had to cancel my trip , I wasn’t feeling like travelling and when I contacted her, she said ‘ I don’t want even a whisper of a cold as I am going to visit family in France next week’  ( I want to have her energy when I grow up!)

As I was thinking about breakfast this morning, I realised I have basically lived on toast and marmalade all weekend; plus gallons of hot drink of lemon, honey and ginger – that is the one good thing I have been able to do for myself.

Even though I know that ‘feeding a cold’ does not really mean toast and marmalade, I am aware this is probably a comfort food habit from childhood, and when you are ill, there is often little left over energy for cooking.

Thankfully, when I investigated my fridge and freezer, I found plenty of fresh veg, and also some greek yogurt, some frozen fruit for smoothies and frozen portions of broccoli soup, and some other as yet unidentified soup portions too. I took everything out of the fridge and added in onions, garlic and ginger and saw that I have some apples and an avocado, I also have dates and dried apricots, and almond butter. I have a couple of pink sweet potatoes and 2 leeks which will become soup and plenty of pulses and brown rice.  I patted myself on the back virtually that I do not need to do any shopping, and set to work preparing to wage war on my cold and my aching joints.img_2668

I heated and ate the broccoli soup , with added Lancashire cheese.

I made a huge berry smoothie from frozen fruits ( and discarded some frozen kiwi fruits slices from 2017!) img_2678

I have prepared a kind of salsa , with red onion marinated in lime juice, added peppers, tomatoes , cucumber and parsley.img_2681

I have prepared red and yellow peppers ready to roast ,and stuffed with garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil.img_2673

I just ate some muesli and ginger flavoured greek yogurt , drizzled with some raspberry syrup, gifted from a Polish lodger last year. I remember he said it can be used to mix with gin or vodka, I have found it soothing to drink by the teaspoon for sore throats, concentrated Vit C

img_2680

So, why was I not able to do all of this for myself on Saturday ?!

I think sometimes, we just need to rest and trust the nourishment will come when we are ready. I am ready today. I have thanked my shopping self from last week, for taking care of my future self today. the ingredients  and nutrients were there when I was ready.

Even the rainbow colours , as I gathered and prepared the food , brought joy and I felt my spirits lift and my general weekend grumpiness began to lift. I am still sneezing, however, I can feel that the healing has begun.

Also,something in me is now saying Noooooooo, to the thought of toast, maybe I have finally maxxed out on toast, time alone will tell. For now, I have an apple and almond butter to snack on, while the peppers roast.

And , although it has been quite pleasant to have a rest weekend and listen to the rain, I certainly intend to continue really listening to what my body needs next and give myself a fighting chance at increasing my own energy and wellbeing.

Stillness and Silence

I woke up this morning and realised I felt sad. My body and mind were screaming for silence and stillness.

Yesterday I felt tired, had a sore throat developing and it was an emotionally demanding day in many ways. We can’t underestimate the effects on our bodies of our own lives and the lives of those around us. What we can do is be aware, listen to those signs when our bodies wave a flag and say Hey! Listen to me ! and then do what we can to compensate and try to regain balance.

So, this morning – a quiet breakfast to begin the day – my personal comfort food of toast and marmalade, a cup of good coffee and writing for myself about how I feel.

I am reminded of the poem The Guesthouse about welcoming each emotion as it arrives ‘ Be grateful for whatever comes , each has been sent as a guide from beyond’ https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/guest-house/

Also, now I realise it’s needed , I am planning some time in late June where I have plenty of silence and stillness in my days.

And ,instead of waiting a month, perhaps I can also think about how to find stillness and silence everyday 😊👍🏼❤️

Safe presence

This week I have had a bad cold and had to reschedule some in person clients – I then had a request for a long distance / on line Recalibration Session, from a client who has already had 2 sessions and knew the benefits for her. I explained I had been unwell,  and may be sneezing, and she reassured me –

’ it is just your safe presence I need ‘

img_1989-1

held

Oh, to see ourselves as others see us – her words helped me realise that part of what I offer is being a safe container for someone else to feel heard and listened to. Being deeply listened to is incredibly powerful – I remember the first time I experienced this, and it moved me to tears. I felt truly heard and validated and didn’t need someone to leap in with advice and fix me, I simply needed to be heard and know that my words and emotions were held.

Thankfully, by the time we spoke yesterday afternoon, I was able to hold the session without sneezing and coughing – some listening and hearing, some relaxation techniques and some distance Reiki shared, a plan made and the outcome I believe was a sense of relief and ease and hope.

If you are reading this and feel you would benefit from experiencing my safe presence, to feel emotionally held, please do get in touch.

https://www.maryelizabethmcconnell.com/recalibration-sessions

 

The Rowan Tree in Wintertime

img_0571As we approach the end of the year, I am thinking back on this year of 2018, realising that I although I post random thoughts and musings on Facebook I have completely ignored my blog here. My first post of the year ‘ Steady as she goes ‘ was entirely appropriate as a guide for this year ; it has been rocky at times, but I now feel ready to step confidently forwards into my 60’s and plan to write more often here about ‘Mary’s Journey’ .

I won’t promise to write every Monday morning, or every Sunday afternoon, but words and thoughts and intentions are gathering and I may be sharing quite often , we shall see.

I begin again with some thoughts from this afternoon as I gazed out of my window.

Though bereft of berries now

The garden birds still gather

in the branches of the rowan tree.

Now that the snow and blizzards of yesterday have blown through

The day is calm and relatively mild,

(At 5 deg C , I hesitate to say spring like)

My attention is caught by the flurry of activity of the birds

and I step outside to watch.

They flit about

Hither and thither

Alighting momentarily

And then flying off again,

To land elsewhere.

Other birds land

and cling on in the breeze,

Perch, and pause a while,

Swaying and

Surveying the scene below.

A neighbour puts out a bird feeder

Causing such excitement and twittering

Word is out, they call and alert the others.

They gather together and

The tree holds them

Offers support in the stronger and sturdier lower branches

And in the uppermost and more frail,

Higher branches

Which wave around and wobble with the impact of each bird landing

But do not give way.

I am reminded of a village gathering

Or a family group

Whether family by birth or chosen,

And how support is found

As each bird  lands and surveys the scene and decides which way to fly next.

And I think about where I personally find support and where I can land in a safe place when I wobble, and feel grateful for those places to pause as I decide which way next

And where and how do I give support to others as they wobble?

Feeling grateful again that I can do so.

We all sway in the branches, in the breeze,

and in the storm,

Singing our individual songs and stories,

Alone and yet

Together

2018 – Steady as she goes

img_5835

 

After thinking and waiting and reflecting, I have my guiding word for 2018 – Steady .

Steady  feels solid and safe , stable, consistent, soothing and calming , reassuring, settled.

It does not mean staying in one place; it means steady forward motion over the sometimes choppy sea of life in a seaworthy vessel.

I am not about setting goals and smashing them; that feels kinda painful to me , I am more about using what I already know and the skills I already have to set intentions for the year.

I have set my course for 2018 , and if and when required, I will adjust my sails. I am the Captain of my own ship, and I trust myself to know when i need  to :-

  •  course correct as required
  •  hoist extra sails , or take them in
  • increase to full steam ahead, or reduce to slow ahead
  • to seek safe harbour and drop my anchor for a while
  • take on board only quality fuel and ensure my engine is running smoothly

Mainly, I intend to savour my journey through 2018, take time to enjoy the scenery on the way, while ensuring I don’t lose sight of the distant shores I have set my sights on.

Supporting words are Savour , Rest,  Appraise , Intuition, and Deepen ( bearing in mind the ideas in this article http://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/)

I will remember to Rest in between busy times, Appraise the horizon ahead, use my Intuition as true guidance, and Deepen knowledge and skills and habits I already have.

Previous guiding words have been

2017 – Exuberance and Stillness  – I experienced both , in good measure

2016 – Foundation and Whoosh – I built stable foundations and enjoyed lots of whoosh!

2015  – Epic – it totally was.

2014  – Vibrant – this was how I wanted to feel, and I often did.

2013  – Flow – I wanted to ‘ live like a river flows , carried by the surprise of its own unfolding’  < J O’D > , and life did indeed Flow.

* with thanks to Susannah Conway for Find your word 2018, and also guidance  from Rhian Lockard.

Peering at 59 – this ‘Is’ my life

img_4201

Here I am

Breathing, reflecting ,

6pm, on the eve of 59

Wondering what lies ahead for me

and what , if anything, might have changed,

12 months from now, or even 1 month from now.

Sit with me a while

It has taken some time to feel focused today,

But I am here now

My feet solidly planted on the floor,

My back straight,

My shoulders soft

and a smile playing on my lips and in the corners of my eyes.

I am here now

No longer waiting for anything,

Waiting for the beginning of this

or the ending of that,

I am not waiting

I am here anyway, and living my life

This ‘is ‘ my life

I am in it

Amidst the insomnia

the laundry

the achey neck,

the reports,

the cat litter

and that annoying hair which keeps re appearing on my chin.

I am here,

facing the future

making soup,

eating cake,

lighting the fire,

texting with friends,

listening to the wind

still blowing around the rooftops and rattling down the chimney

I am here,

Taking the next step, and then the next,

Steering my own boat,

I have got my own back

Shaking myself up when I need to

and when life sometimes shakes me unexpectedly

I know I will always land on my feet again,

and I can always alter my course and try a new direction,

I have done it before, and I can do it again.

I am here anyway

Seeking kindred spirits

Claiming my joy

Sharing my joy

I have learned how to recalibrate myself

face the future and in each moment, begin again

59 – I am ready for you 🙂

 

 

 

I am thinking of the light at dawn..

I am thinking of the light at dawn..

and how I opened my eyes that first morning after she took her last breath

knowing she was no longer here in bodily form

and that I would not see her again later that day as I had hoped.

I am thinking of the light at dawn

Shining through the curtains of the holiday flat on the beach in Cornwall.

I want to tell you how I heard the crash and roar of the waves breaking on the shore

and knew I had to go , to rise immediately and walk along to the beach, throwing a jacket on over  my pyjamas, and running to  feel the wind on my face, inhale the ocean,  get my feet in the water, let myself be totally  in and of  the elements.

I want to tell you how I hurried outside, bare feet on the sand, and as I turned the corner, the sun rose majestically behind a cloud , strong bright rays shining out, it felt to me  like the arms of an angel gazing down me – I stood gazing up, feeling as if I was in a cathedral – part of me thinking that you could not make this up and part of me knowing it felt just right.img_7735-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went down to the water’s edge, felt the cold refreshing water wash over my feet, looked for a shell to anchor me to this moment, and found a beautiful stone. I  find daily comfort holding that stone in the palm of my hand.

 

A few minutes later, a rainbow appeared over the sea ; and I smiled and thought ‘ Mum, you haven’t gone at all,  you are right here , right now ‘ and I said ‘good morning – now you are at peace,and finding joy’. img_7761

I then joined friends for breakfast and found huge comfort in feeling held, supported , and had the deep discussions about life and death and everything in between, ( including the joys of a thunder box ) and knew I would be able to laugh again. Thank you to those friends, and , see you again very soon.

img_7759

I want to tell you how last week, I missed her so suddenly,  and cried hard ugly sobs, tears on my cheeks , wanting to pick up the phone and speak to her. I decided to sit down and write her a letter instead. As I sat at my desk, my attention was drawn to the window and , like a snow flake, a small white feather drifted slowly past the window.

I want to tell you

I am from the very top branch of the old beech tree,

where I climbed to hide when my granny died,

where I hid with a book, many times

and I thought Mum didn’t know where I was

She did – and probably wished she too could hide away and read sometimes.

I am from her laughter, her tears and her joy, her longings

As I write, I feel her knowing and soft brown eyes smiling

and I go forwards now with my own laughter, tears, joy and longings.

Still enjoying the light at dawn each morning – I caught those shining rays again earlier today.img_4323

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have recently had the experience of  Wild Writing , with Angie Wiseman of soulshine studios , where she reads a poem and we write a response to that poem – writing for 15 minutes without taking the pen off the page, and then read our words aloud to the group.  The words above are my response to the following poem , and the line ‘ I am thinking of the light at dawn’.  Words from the heart that I did not know needed to be written. It is a wonderful and powerful practice, and highly recommended.

https://m.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/post-factual-love-poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you coping, or living ?

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
― Dawna MarkovaI Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion

 

img_2538

‘ We are so often unaware that we are coping rather than living’  – John Hamwee , Touching the energy of bone. 

This quote leapt off the page at me recently, while reading a text book about Zero Balancing.  ZB  uses touch and  the energy of bone to rebalance a person’s energy and structure.  The words enabled me to see that I had indeed been coping and not living – saying yes to any work that came my way , from a fear of financial lack , and not  building in any down time to recharge my batteries.

I have found the therapy has been a  wonderful reset for me and helped me to feel very still, calm and grounded. I took part in a 4 day introductory training earlier this year, partly to learn new skills and techniques to help others, and partly, as is so often the case, to enhance and build on my own personal self development. Amongst many insights I gained from it has been a greater awareness of my own needs and how I really need to take care of and invest in my own health and wellbeing as a continuous and intentional journey, and not simply dabble in it.

For this reason, so that I can move from simply ‘coping’ , to a life which has more pleasure and more joy and more  beautiful moments which I am present to , I am taking some time over the next few weeks of summer , to :-

a) declutter and reorganise my home – not to live a minimalist lifestyle, I enjoy my home comforts and cosiness, but to ensure that everything in my home does indeed bring me joy, here and now, and is part of the me I want to move towards in the future. There is plenty of space for memories and keepsakes, I simply need to be sure I still want to keep things. It also involves moving items around the home to a different place – yesterday I moved a beautiful bright painting, from a place out of sight upstairs, to a place in the entrance hall and it is now the first place my eyes rest when I come home. I smile every time I see it. This is the energy I want in my home,not stuck and stagnant energy from times now past. I have items brought here from my childhood home 5 years ago,which  I needed then – and now many I no longer need to have stored away in a box in the loft.

Following a recent art retreat in Italy , I now also want a dedicated space to paint.

b) I am also taking some time out to focus on the direction I want to take my business in,  going forward from here – and to create a way to bring those services to the wider public eye.

I do know that focusing on work which brings me the greatest joy and is a pleasure to offer, is my way forward now. I intend to live my life fully and not just cope with it.

Mainly, I want to use the skills and talents I have learnt from investing in myself over recent years , to help and empower others to find the joy in their own lives and together practice techniques to help manage anxieties, overwhelm and stress.

This may start with telling the truth to yourself, understanding and owning your emotions, and really knowing that we can learn various techniques to manage our feelings.

I have a wish that we all feel as supported in our lives as I did in this thermal pool in Ischia recently.

May we all float calmly through our lives and ask for the support we need ,when we need it, knowing that support is always available to us.