2018 – Steady as she goes

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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.

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Peering at 59 – this ‘Is’ my life

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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.

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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

 

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‘ 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye, thank you, and awesome wonder.

img_7802-1How do you say Good bye to your mother for probably the last time?

Stroke her hair
Hold her hand
Gently rub her feet
Smile
Eye contact

She smiled in recognition when she saw me

Answer the repeated question numerous times
‘Are you my eldest daughter? Are you Mary ?’

Yes, yes I am.


In spite of the tears,
Whisper ‘  Thank you ‘
and say

‘ It’s time, go to sleep when you are ready’

Repeat. and repeat

And then
A kiss on the forehead
A last shared smile
One more look over my shoulder
A wave, turn
and
leave the room.

and go for my train

home.

Later, I wrote these words to be spoken at her funeral.

Beryl’s Legacy

Mum was born in 1930, deep in the woods at a house called Brockadale Edge, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

It feels so right and perfect that she has chosen a woodland burial, so that she has come from, and will now return to, the woods, and that we are blessed that in the future, we will be able to come back to the woods, to this lovely sacred spot, to remember her life here amongst the trees.

She has left a legacy within us all, of her love and enjoyment of nature,
Of her delight in each sunrise,
In noticing the shape of a tree against the sky,
Of watching the formation of clouds,
Of feeding and observing the garden birds, (as did her mother before her),
To exclaim with joy at the first snowdrop appearing in Spring
And of appreciating the glorious colours of the leaves in the Autumn.

The words of the hymn How Great Thou Art come to mind

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed:

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

She gave us a sense of ‘ Awesome wonder’ and for this, on behalf of us all, children and grandchildren and generations to come, we say Thank you and, as we used to say, when I was away at sea for months and months , where ever you are in the world, we can still see the same moon.

Curiosity – the stories begin here

Two days ago I created a vision page in response to the question , what are you curious about ?
Sometimes when I vision, a page just falls together and as I cut and glued, I wrote the words ‘ I am curious to discover, if I went away to a cottage by myself, how would I spend my time? Would I watch the sky, listen to the wind and begin to write my stories ?’
Yesterday,I carried in from my garage several boxes of memories, diaries and letters and souvenirs from my travelling days ,and overnight a feeling has been growing that it is time to start my book, if only for my daughters and their families in the future.
Then a friend directed me to nanowrimo – National November Writing Month , and it feels as if events are pointing me in this direction. I’m excited, and a little scared too – I’ll keep you posted.

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Sacred pause

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Recently I  spent almost a week in Bristol, in the south west UK – 5 days of Deep Massage Training with David Lauterstein from Austin, Texas , with a travel day each side of the course. The course content was transformational for me – anatomy came alive and made sense in a way that it never did before -muscles began to make total sense and my confidence grew that I could be effective, not just in delivering a relaxing massage experience, but that I could deliver an efficient massage offering pain relief. At another level, the week was a very spiritual experience as we opened each day to a wonderful meditation, as David played his guitar, and discussed breathing, centring, our quality of touch, facilitating the client to release from the inside and take ownership of  their healing experience and so much more.

It has been some years since I landed alone in,  and set out to explore , and  discover , a brand new city and I remembered the power of how we grow through opening ourselves to new experiences, and limit ourselves if we don’t. While I was working at sea in my 20’s I explored so many different ports and cities in the world – I realised it had been a while and was delighted to remind myself how it felt.

One evening I set out and walked for 3 hours, discovering the city, absorbing new sights and choosing where to eat. I realise how often back home I tell myself the story that I don’t have time ,or am too tired to go for long walks and now I know I can – simply put one foot in front of another and discover where my feet take me – the benefits are huge.

As I left the flat where I had been staying with a friend, something prompted me to pause and take a photo of my feet – I had a strong feeling of stepping out in the new, of new beginnings, of wondering who I was now, after this experience, and with this new found knowledge and knowing,  and how will it change me.

The very next day, via a visioning prompt in Sheila Howe’s ( @The Willow’s Raven) #sacredmagic course, I realised that what I photographed was a sacred pause, and fully appreciated the value of stopping , take an inhale, let your breath exhale and then move into the day. ( Thank you Sheila )

I will simply add that the words ‘feel the magic’ literally jumped onto the image of my pause.

Where can you find, and take, a pause in your day today ?