When two oceans meet

How can you tell when two oceans meet? Is there a different motion? Is there an unusually strong power? Can you see a line or meeting point? Or is there just an unmistakable feeling that there is something bigger than the two involved at that moment?

It’s a bit like that with people isn’t it. Sometimes there are moments when two people come together and there is a certain something that says this is going to be powerful, beautiful, awe inspiring, huge and beyond description or identification. Sometimes, when two come together the force and explosion is so powerful it may well be the same as ocean meeting ocean.

This isn’t necessarily a physical relationship, although that can be immense; this could be a personal or business relationship where you know something exciting is going to happen. This is one of those “wow” moments where you may have no idea what is taking place as such, but you do know that whatever is going to be created will be amazing. They are rare but when two come together to create something new it can be life changing, explosive, unexplainably exciting.

Something low down in your gut is burning. Your breathing is quickened and a bit more laboured than usual. Your senses are way more heightened. Your eyes seem brighter, your skin flushed and the hairs in the back of your neck at standing to attention. This is something special and needs to be allowed to be born.

You have a choice as this can be pretty scary, especially if it’s something you haven’t experienced before. You can back away and find reasons not to see this through or you can dive right in and lose yourself in the moment, the experience, the journey. Which is it to be?

Like the lover you once had, you can almost taste the pleasure this is bringing to you, your world, your future. You can close your eyes and enjoy every moments pleasure or you can close yourself down from your emotional, spiritual and physical needs and decide the risk of being hurt or let down is too great. Guess which I’d pick every time?

So, when this other and you meet like two oceans crashing together, will you ride the waves or allow yourself to sink beneath them?

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Is housework really therapy?

Hmmmm housework…. not my idea of pleasure and the ironing pile has to get to taking over a room status before I can bear to tackle it. But, yesterday I realised I could make this ‘me time’. Possibly not the spa or a massage but me time just the same.

How on earth can you make housework a pleasure and a therapy? By being in the moment and using it to your advantage I discovered today.

So I’d done breakfast and cleaned the kitchen, got the school run out of the way and there really is no avoiding this huge pile of clean clothes staring at me from the corner of the room. The wardrobe is empty, it has to be done…

Out came the ironing board and the iron and on went the music… I have known for a long long time that dancing whilst you iron makes it more manageable. I began and honestly after two shirts and a t-shirt I was already thinking of giving it up but then took a deep breath and focused on the dress – who in their right mind buys linen – it is a nightmare to make look half decent. Sorry I digress.

I began to look at the dress, the weave of the fabric, the memories of India and Greece woven in the fibres. I looked at the patterns the natural creases made, the texture and the colour and lost myself for a few minutes. It was fabulous. Onto the ironing board came a favourite top and again I made a conscious effort to really see the top, it’s colour, it’s texture and the memories entwined in it. The noise the steam made as it was released between the fibres. The heat absorbed by my fingers close to the irons metal plate. The movement of the iron and its hiss, slightly out of time with the beat of ELOs Mr Blue Sky playing in the background.

All of a sudden the pile of ironed clothes was higher than the un-ironed and I was genuinely enjoying this time and felt focussed, relaxed and quite chilled by the whole experience. Living in the moment I think is the marketing speak. It was quite beautiful.

When you take what you are doing and give it your total undivided attention, paying homage to the shape, size, texture, sound and movement of all you do, suddenly you find yourself absolutely in the moment. Suddenly the mundane brings a certain pleasure and peace with it. No frustration, no feelings of wasting time, just the simple pleasure of doing whatever it is you have to do thoroughly, with full attention and gaining a sense of being that is indulgently pleasurable.

So, next time you are faced with a task you see as daunting, terrible, boring and mundane or you just need some space in your head for nothing to sit in, give the task your focus, look really carefully; see it, feel it, hear it, and touch it in a way you haven’t done before and find the rest of the world is standing still, quietly waiting for you, until you are ready to join it once more.

Housework as therapy? Why not…

Back to the Beginning

Discovery is a beautiful thing. Exploration. Excitement. Adventure. You may or may not like the outcome but the journey will always hold the excitement. I am in some ways going back to the beginning and I can’t wait to see what it all brings.

Letting go of your past when it doesn’t serve you anymore is vital. Hard but vital. This seems to somehow make space for the new, the fresh, the adventure you have been waiting or hoping for. All you have to do is choose it.

When you face the past and it could also somehow be part of your future, it is a strange thing. All those things you thought you knew are gone and yet still there (in history and memory) and what stands before you is a blank canvas and the painting you create is yours. What will it look like and will the masterpiece ever be finished or will it be an ever changing being?

Take a look at where you are…. Have you let go? Do you need to? Do you want to stop and start afresh? What is stopping you? Are these things blocks and excuses or real? Do you want that “new” enough to fight for it? Fear of failure? What’s to lose – the past has already gone.

One of my favourite quotes “What is I fall? My darling, what if you fly?” springs to mind as I write and oh how true it is. If you never try, you never win. If you never change, you will always be the same. If you never give love and life a chance to surprise you….

I am standing with my back to the past as it no longer serves me – I have grown, learnt from it and love who I have become and now it is time to go on some adventures and explore the world I have begun to create. What you doing today?

 

Stagnant Pond, Dry Riverbed

Parched, dry, empty, lacking in life, soulless – these are all words to be used for the normally flowing, vibrant, life-giving river that runs through my village. Now, as you can see, there is nothing. This riverbed is a bit like we feel sometimes – dry, lifeless and looking very sad. We are water.

Water is life. The flow, the force, the strength and power cuts its way through rough terrain. When obstacles are placed in its path, its finds the path of least resistance and flows around rather than try to push through or push away an immovable object. When something falls into it, if it is heavy it lets it fall through and rest where it lands and if it is light enough it will carry it along until it gets caught up and then it lets it go. When light shines onto it, it creates rainbows on its surface. When it rains, it swells until it can no longer contain it and then it spills over. We are water.

If we do not block the path of a river it continues to flow and find its way. It is beautiful to watch and it doesn’t matter at what speed it travels, it arrives at its destination eventually and gives life to all it touches on the way. If that flow is blocked, it becomes a stagnant stretch of water and all within it fails and dies. It loses its brightness and it begins to smell unpleasant. Not many want to spend the day round a stagnant pond or stretch of water. We are water.

The external environment dictates the health of our water and as we have seen in the UK recently, when you continually have heat and no relief from the rain to quench its thirst, or replenish what it has lost, it dries up, life is lost, the landscape changes and it impacts so many other things. We are water.

We are water – that is fact and we need to replenish ourselves with whatever feeds us – be it physical nourishment, spiritual food, the touch of nature, the sound of song, the company of others who support us, help us grow, love us or a balance of warmth and rain. We should be surrounding ourselves with all things that add to our flow so we don’t become stagnant or dry up completely inside.

We are water and like water we need to encourage, allow, go with the flow. We need to stop trying to fight the movement and never try and reverse it. People around us have their own flow and terrain to work with and sometimes we will join together but at some point we may take different paths – it’s okay to let them go or go your own way. If it is meant, you will come back and join in the journey but if not, be thankful for the time you spend together, have fun with the time whilst you have it and be grateful for all you learnt and how much you grew on the way.

Since I learnt that people flow in and flow out of my life, and I have a level of acceptance, it has allowed me to be much more present and enjoy the time we spend just doing. I know we have come together for a reason, I don’t need to know what that reason is, I just need to make the time we spend together as precious as possible.

I thank the universe for bringing me people and situations that challenge me, feed me, scare me, and test me because without these I would not be the woman I am today. I have listened to my body, my thoughts and my energy and I know when I flow and I know when I become stagnant. I listen to myself and my needs and I accept when change is needed, I am willing to let go, I am able to let people in. I know me. If I judge things wrong I forgive myself and let it go. If there is an obstacle ahead I will simply find the path of least resistance around it. I will carry all those who need support and I will allow all those people and things too heavy for me to carry to sink and I will leave them behind.

Are you a dry and stagnant pond? Are you a river that has dried out or are you the eternal spring following the terrain you live within and seeing where it takes you? We are water and whichever you are, it can always change. Look within, accept where you are, let go and surrender to the flow that is life.

 

She’s Still Here

Death – a funny old thing. You know we will all get to try it and you know it is the outcome that we are all born with, and yet when it comes, it still takes us by surprise and then we are lost in a wilderness that seems to stretch on far longer than life itself.  We hold onto things so tightly we can feel our nails making imprints into our hands and we grab onto anything we can to keep that loved one with us.

The scent on the pillow. I can still feel how I hugged it against my chest, drinking in the scent of her. She was gone. It was not even a day that had passed but I wanted her to be here next to me, and she never would again. I wanted that smell to be with me for a lifetime, but I knew this was it.

Her ring, so tiny on my finger, was all I had that was tangible and I wore that ring for as long as I could until again I knew it was time. Time to put the jewellery into the box as it was time to move on.

It wasn’t that I no longer grieved. It wasn’t that I didn’t miss hearing her voice. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to be here playing with my newborn daughter and telling me I was doing okay. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grieving – honestly it wasn’t….. it was just time. Time to move on, time to get back into the world and start to live again. This place where I had been; this holding station, this cocoon of self preservation, this bubble filled with her scent, her laughter and memories, this place of safety where I could hold on tightly and pretend it was all okay, this place was no longer mine and I had to give it up.

She told me and I listened. I put the jewellery in the box she had given me many moons ago and closed the lid. It wasn’t final. I could still peep inside. I  could still try it on when I was needing her that little bit closer. I could still see her wearing it if I just closed my eyes. I knew also that I could hear her say “come on now, that’s enough, time to let go and do your stuff”, so I put it all away, closed the lid and began to live again.

She told me… she is okay… please hear these words as I cannot say them to your face.

 

Unloading Boxes

Oh wow how much of your “things that hurt” have been boxed up and never addressed, looked at or dealt with? How many boxes do you have of “stuff” that you either can’t or won’t take a look at? Which of these boxes do you think need unpacking at some point and dealing with? Are you ready now? Tomorrow? Are you procrastinating because it is gonna hurt? Yeah, I did too but open them we must.

The truth hurts, the lies hurt, the past hurts, the future hurts. Sound familiar? No one can make you even take a look at these boxes never mind go near them and lift the lid. No one, no amount of external pressure, nothing and no one but you can make this decision. The choice belongs to you – only you! But, when you decide to peep under that lid you so firmly closed, whilst painful and scary, it will also be exhilarating, making progress,  a relief, a breath of fresh air and will move you forward.

I had a wonderful coping mechanism with my hurt and pain and sad – I put it in a box and then I dug a hole and buried it as deep as I could. I thought that was enough to make it go away and I could just get on with life. How marvelously naive. No one told me that at some point and as if by magic, the universe gives these boxes some kind of magical power and they wriggle and jiggle and move and somehow they would create a nagging voice in the back of my head, or a jab in my heart or a suffocating weight in my chest until it was so overwhelming I had to make a choice of giving in or dealing with it. I chose the latter but so many do not.

I talked! I talked and talked. Once that initial thought of ‘release’ was created it gave life to words and they flowed. They flowed onto paper first, then they flowed onto your screen and then they flowed from my lips and the box lid was lifted and out it all came. The funny thing was, I thought once the lid was lifted I would lose control of what came out and the speed and the amount would be beyond me. But no. I had support, I had people who cared and I had a determination in my gut to be strong and do this in my time and at my pace. I didn’t know how, I didn’t necessarily understand why but I knew when and I knew I had to move from where I was. Staying where I was, was actually more painful than opening the boxes I discovered.

I talked. I spoke my truth. I dealt with what I could and I released the pain of what I couldn’t out into the universe and asked her to send it where it should go. Then I had to begin the journey of forgiveness. Forgiveness first and foremost to myself and then to those who had hurt me and then back to me for also hurting them. Forgiveness, I discovered, is a huge step towards emptying the boxes. In fact it is a bit like emptying the box and then jumping on it and squashing it flat, ready for recycling. It is like the satisfaction of popping bubble wrap.

This was not easy and I have to remember that when I walk alongside those beginning their journey. This was painful. This contained tears. I had to recreate and live some of the pain and I hated every second of it sometimes BUT (and there is a great and glorious BUT) I did it, I survived and I found that magical place we all want to go to – happiness. Boxes are great for storage but at some point, if you want to travel to happiness, you have to unpack them and deal with the contents. Gather around you those you trust, you care for, who love you and ask them to stand with you. Peep first or tear back the lid like a huge sticking plaster but be gentle with yourself, keep well and strong and forgive… and when it comes relish in the joy of the smile you find you are wearing one day.

 

 

 

I don’t know – yet

Are you ready for the spotlight? Are you ready to stand centre stage and reveal to everyone all you are, what you are going to do with the rest of your life and bare your soul to the world? I don’t know – yet!

I know I am arming myself with all I need to – I don’t know what exactly, I am just going with my gut. I am educating myself, learning my craft, becoming a master at all I do. The when it will be used, the how exactly, the what, in detail, are a bit of a mystery but the who, I have nailed down and the why is definite clarity. So some I have, some I am still working on but surely that is life?

Are we ever ready for what is to come? Do we ever have all our ducks in a row? Is there a point where everything is perfect? If we wait for perfection isn’t that as dangerous as not being prepared at all? Sometimes you have to be as ready as you can be, and simply be prepared for things to come and change your path – it certainly makes the journey far more interesting.

I know I am meant to teach – I have been having an internal battle with myself for years on this because no I do not want to stand in school and vomit my knowledge to children who would rather be elsewhere. I am discovering to teach is far more than a classroom. I am discovering that it is leading, guiding, healing and giving others the tools to be who they are meant to be. It is giving another soul the gift they need to make their way in life – whatever that may be for them. Teaching is lifting the chin of the person with their head bowed and showing them what it is like to look up instead of down. Teaching is giving others the courage to live their dreams by living yours.

What springs to my mind as I write these words is”what exactly are you waiting for…. you know you are ready, now you just need to be brave.” You will know when you have enough tools in the box to begin. The hard bit is what comes next… but you have this. Just step forward, trust and let that spotlight shine so the world can see you for all that you are – a human being in your own right and you area ready to be seen, you are ready to be heard, you are ready to act and you are ready to take responsibility for those actions. What are you waiting for?

I have stood in the shadows on this stage too long…. it is my time and I am ready to fulfill my destiny. How will it roll out? How will it end? I don’t know – yet!

 

Suicide. The Ultimate Painkiller

” Through early morning fog I see. Visions of the things to be. The pains that are withheld for me. I realize and I can see. That suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please. The game of life is hard to play. I’m gonna lose it anyway. The losing card I’ll someday lay. So this is all I have to say. The sword of time will pierce our skins. It doesn’t hurt when it begins. But as it works its way on in. The pain grows stronger. Watch it grin. Suicide is painless….”

A wife and a mother driving down a country lane. Happy, a good job, everyone’s sunshine. She looks at the road ahead, sees the stone walls to the side of her and debates with herself… “if I just put my put down and steer that way it will all be over.”

She may be a wife and a mother, have a good job and appear to everyone to be happy and always smiling, but underneath she is in great pain, has lost her identity, feels mental torture from dawn to dusk and sees no other way to stop the noise and the hurt. And no she doesn’t want to die, and no she isn’t thinking of the consequences or people who will be left behind wondering, and no she doesn’t see this as suicide; this is just the ultimate painkiller to take away her pain.

This happened some years ago now but only this week did an incident bring the memory coming back to the fore of her mind. How, once upon a time, did she find herself in this situation and why did she never see this as a suicidal thought? Why until now did it just seem ‘normal’?

Why? Because when you are in that frame of mind this is not necessarily a thought out process – it is for some, and they meticulously plan, prepare, write farewell letters and out their affairs in order – but, for many this is just a painkiller – the ultimate painkiller. They will take whatever opportunity is open to them and not think of anything but the silence they will experience when it’s done. Bliss at last but too late to turn back.

We are living in a world (thank goodness) where mental health is finally open for discussion. Mental health, suicide, depression, bi polar, PTSD, schizophrenia and so on are words we all know – we may not understand them all yet or have the power to recognise in others or know how to deal with them if diagnosed in ourselves or our loved ones, but we are finally talking about every single one of them. Those who are suffering are now more aware, can openly stand up and be the person on the outside they know they are on the inside. They can do this, in most cases, without shame, without being shunned or locked away and with avenues open to them to heal. For others they hide it well as they may be shunned, labelled, ostracized or locked away and for them we must talk more, educate all of our society and let them know they are safe.

Was suicide ever a thought process? Was she aware she was suffering with depression? Did she think this was just normal and how everyone felt? How could she possibly tell someone she wanted to just drive into a wall at speed for the noise in her head to stop? How could she ask for help when she didn’t know the cause or where to begin? Why didn’t she see it through? Who knows. That is a thought and a memory that didn’t come back. I am just thankful she took her foot off the gas and lived to see another day.

She was hurting. She was in fear or her own thoughts. She was desperate for silence inside her mind. She could no longer cry, there was nothing left inside. She was brave. She was determined. She knew there was something more to come. She had faith. She believed there was something better if she just looked.

She grew. She blossomed. She smiled. She experienced good. She made choices. She never gave in. She survived….. I survived. I never took that painkiller and I live life every single day and I am happy.

Suicide is painless….? Be observant. Recognise. Act…

 

 

 

Metamorphosis

I have a tendency to live in a world that is beautiful, kind and innocent – why? Because it is nicer than reality BUT this makes me very naive at times and when faced with the ugly truth of others lives and how they have to get through their day, it makes me realise I need to change.

I do not need to live their lives to understand how they see the world, I do not need to even walk in their shoes. I do need to open my eyes, listen to them, hear their words, hear their pain, hear their reality that is life outside of my small cocoon and play my part in making that just a little more palatable for them.

Metamorphosis “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one”. That is a big ask of anyone and may be impossible or even unnecessary, but to grow we must change. To improve our understanding of others and our world we need to be able to flex and bend and alter how we see and hear things, how we process them and ultimately what we do to play our part in our and its growth.

Change on the other hand really, really hurts. It is hard. It is painful. It is rarely fun. It makes us uncomfortable and we rarely have control over the outcome. What if it’s worse than where we are? What if we don’t fit into this new place? What if people don’t accept us? What if we let go and realise we were already where we should be and now we can’t go back? What if, what if, what if…… what if we always convince ourselves that change is bad, we never do it and then we miss out on a more enjoyable, beautiful, fun, loving place in time and space. What if by changing we actually become more, become better, become nicer humans, become a catalyst for change for someone else, an inspiration, a light that someone else is guided by….

What if we lose the greatest love of all time in the hope for something we cannot see, hear or touch but we believe in. What if we lose ourselves in the process and end up in a dark place where we see no light. What if we become isolated and alone…. What if ,out of giving up love, it comes back ten-fold; what if we lose ourselves but realise the one found it a better fit; what if by being alone we look inside and find our peace, away from the noise and expectations of life. What if is a game we can play until it is too late and the opportunity is gone forever and life no longer is…

To change you must let go. To change you must experience what makes you uncomfortable. To change is to take opportunities and play them out and trust that what you are doing will work. To change is to live and to live is to be happy and to be happy is all we ever really ask of life….

 

 

I’m Going Home

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”.

There are times in your life where the voice inside you repeats, like a chant, day in, day out and at some point you have to listen. I’m overwhelmed by noise. I’m exhausted with the negativity. I’m sad watching people hurt people.  I’m tired of abuse, waste, he said/she said, who is better than who and I am needing silence.

Maybe because I have had depression; maybe because of it or maybe from it, I no longer deal well with noise or busyness or numbers of people all invading my space, physically or mentally, all at once or for excessive periods of time. I take their energy and find it difficult to process. When you work with energy you learn very quickly to protect yourself but there is still an element where it simply gets too much and the overwhelm can be oppressive.

Recognising this place is a huge milestone reached; being able to deal with it is a lifesaver; quickly, effectively and happily getting to a better space is a miracle. I love miracles!

Just as an aside I am sat at my desk and a small spider has come to join me, immediately in my eye-line as I type. He is very small, about 1cm, looks quite a robust little character and appears to be creating a little home for himself for the morning. 

Sorry – back to the blog….

I have long had a calling to head to India. For me this is the home of spirituality and all that is. India for me, is a place of magic, mystery and beauty and creates in me a stillness like no other. I have never yet managed a trip there but for about 5 years now it has whispered in my dreams, it has sung to me its love song and now it is knocking on my heart and saying “come, find the stillness for yourself”. I am heading to India.

What do I hope this brings? Experiences. Opportunities. Culture. Belief. Faith. Friendship. Peace. Courage. In amongst the noise, the colour, the abundance of people and the heat, I hope to find home. Home, inside, no one else can see, feel, touch or experience. Home, inside me, is my space, my experience, the one and only thing I will never have to share, give away, talk about, or defile. My home where the insides are golden, sumptuous, silent, full of sunshine, warm, beautiful and full of love.

It’s time for me to go home…. where do you live or where is home for you I wonder….